Wednesday 30 April 2008

Fast Strategy

Walker Media’s Phil Georgiadis and Mark Syal, and M&C Saatchi’s Richard Storey and Simon Dicketts were voted the winning team in a live (fictitious) pitch for the COI at this week’s IPA Strategy Conference with Times Media for arriving at a great strategy and fast!
One of the greatest pressures on our industry today is to meet the demands of arriving at good answers fast. During the conference strategy-at-speed was tested with three teams who competed against each other to answer a fictitious brief given by Peter Buchanan, Deputy Chief Executive of the COI, on establishing a dog owners’ register in the UK.
Phil Georgiadis’s team took 37% of the audience vote with their winning strategy which recommended creating a physical symbol of ‘responsible dog ownership’ in the form of a silver rosette which would be attached to the dog’s collar. They suggested that the scheme should be renamed M.A.N (Merit in Authority over, and Nurture of, your dog) allowing the adoption of the line:‘M.A.N. A dog’s best friend'; a clever inverse of the usual ‘dog is man’s best friend’.
Key things to come out of the conference included:“When all three teams were asked would they have pitched better if they’d had more time, aside from fine-tuning and making their solution to the brief more rigorous, the answer was essentially…no.” (Guy Murphy, Chairman IPA Strategy Group, and Worldwide Planning Director, JWT, and Chair of the day’s proceedings)
“If clients could brief a multi-disciplinary agency team all at once, as has been the case today, they might get quicker answers to their brief.” (Phil Georgiadis, Chairman, Walker Media)“In order to do things quickly you have to know what the objectives are at briefing stage. These should be clear and agreed business objectives, and unfortunately the consensus from the audience at this conference today is that agencies rarely get this.”(Guy Murphy, Chairman IPA Strategy Group, and Worldwide Planning Director, JWT,)
All three teams only had three crucial hours to come up with their winning pitch. The voting was close and in second place was communication consultant Mark Earl’s team with 35% of the vote, followed by CHI’s Johnny Hornby with 28%. The winning team was presented by Claire Myerscough, Development Director of Times Media, with holiday vouchers worth £10,000.
Said COI’s Peter Buchanan, “It was a challenging brief in a fast-paced environment and the teams had no knowledge of the brief beforehand. It was fascinating to see what could be achieved in a short space of time. ”
Throughout the morning, whilst the teams prepared for their afternoon pitch, leading strategists from across the industry elaborated on how developing strategy fast is changing the way we do business and presented their top tips for how they think at speed.
So what do you think about strategy-at-speed? Is it possible, will it get the best results? We'd love to here your thoughts and comments.