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April 4, 2008

Jeremy Garbett: The promise needs now to be backed up

Of course big ideas, if they are the right ideas, will win through, but what is promised but rarely delivered is the strategic planning that ensures that the big ideas created are truly based on real business objectives. Too often our industry – in the white heat of the pitch moment – declares that its "detailed strategic planning is a major part of the creative journey", but then neglects to follow that through.

Not many of us, I suggest, actually use the strategic process to the level we claim on a regular, sustained basis. Interestingly, the evidence of a process – usually colourful flow diagrams entertainingly presented within the pitch or presentation – is not the same as actually using and rigorously adhering to a strategic process.

But do we need to think strategically? Is our business more concerned still with a decent idea reliably implemented, and so do we actually really need to do much more? Well, yes we do. Frankly, a whole lot more.

I believe this industry is moving quickly to a point where clients will walk to other agencies if they perceive a lack of crafted strategy and true creative linkage. Add to that the need for a simple, clear, meaningful measurement process and tools to evaluate the impact of our work on differing audiences.

Now all this is not new thinking. It's been part of our vocabulary for some time – it's just that a strategic planning function is time consuming to set up, it can rely on overly complex methodology and often it's practiced by a select few. On top of this, there is an underlying need for a formal training and development process to embed the planning function properly within the agency. Add this all together and it quickly becomes a topic for agency heads to gloss over in the short term.

It’s the agency 'balance' that's important here. Having the right research and planning tools to provide deeper and innovative audience insights to then truly deliver brilliant ideas that integrate laterally across other communication channels, which can then be measured effectively, is now all really critical.

Let’s not forget the delivery of a project though – it still is vital to faultlessly implement and provide stunning, compelling results. It's just that our experiential game has moved on and that a 'knowledge-based integrated creative solution' is now our world. So let’s seize the opportunity as the above-the-line world fragments further... and let’s back that client promise up.

To find out more about Jack Morton Worldwide check out their MyERpage

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