Gareth Kay – the future of planning

Gareth Kay is CSO at GSP in San Francisco. He has worked in Planning for the last 20 years and has been living in the States for over a decade. In this talk Gareth gives us his point of view on how to approach Planning in a better way.

Short and Sweet

  • The world has changed and the industry hasn’t. As a result advertising has become less relevant. In most categories brands are increasingly similar. And most people see ads as being completely the same. There is not the one solution in order to change this, but a few principles:
  • Principle 1: Putting the people first. It’s about understanding how people lead their lives, what’s interesting and valuable to them. And then trying to find the role your brand can play. There should be more work that competes on people’s terms. A few brands understand this: Nike, Unilever. But most brands don’t.
  • Principle 2: Don’t always see the world as always being full of advertising sized holes. We start immediately with ‘what could the advertising do?’ instead of ‘what we can do to be more valuable to people?’. The solution could be everything from changing the product, the service, the experience and documenting it in advertising.
  • Principle 3: We have to get a better understanding of the client’s businesses. Much of advertising is like we are doing bandaids to symptoms. We need to understand better how our client makes money to come back with better solutions. Try to spend time with the product guys or the CEO’s and try to understand the real problem.
  • Implementing these principles is less about agency structure and processes. It’s down to the ambition and hunger of the talent you’ve got. Do they want to solve business problems in really interesting ways?
  • We have to recruit differently and train our people better. Starbucks spends more money training baristas than we are spending on training advertising people. We need to teach different ways of problem solving and we need to hire a bigger variety of different people. e.g. GSP hired comedians.
  • Tip for every planner: be more imaginative in terms of applying creativity and the way we are solving problems. We need to get back to defining the real problem and less of trying to find out what the most exciting proposition is in a brief. The most interesting briefs are the ones with the most interesting problems.

Some Statements we liked

“99.9% of work from today compared to the ads from the madman era are not so dissimilar. ”

“The biggest single thing you can do to drive a clients business is to be the brand that is more valuable to people. ”

“The most interesting briefs are the ones with the most interesting problems.”

More about Gareth Kay

Follow Gareth on Twitter and check out his blog.

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