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#Planningness 2012 Recap & Trends

Posted on Wednesday, 23rd May, 2012

A few months ago I decided to attend Planning-ness 2012 and wrote about why I was excited for it. Planningness is an “un-conference” for creative strategists, account planners, digital strategists, etc who want to do, build & make things (vs. just talk about them). Speakers don’t just talk at you, they teach you how to do things. I’m always down for non-didactic anything. Most sessions had a workshop component where we got to work through the topic at hand.

What I heard

Overarching statement heard from every speaker in every workshop: Failing is ok. It helps us learn. Today’s culture and technological advancements require most companies to be in a constant state of iteration; from their positioning to their strategies. We keep learning and turning corners of success.

Quite frankly no one wants to fail– those of us that work in advertising certainly don’t come into thinking we will fail, we think we will overcome anything! We come into it wanting to win! It’s a competitive state, a cognitive sport– have you watched The Pitch? Ha.

We all want to succeed at everything we do but failure does happen and that is part of how we grow; something I embraced many years ago which brings me to the overall trend I picked up on:

We Are In a Perpetual State of Beta.

What does that mean? We need to make sure we build, learn, iterate. Lather rinse repeat.

How can we apply that to our service-based industry, though? We can’t sell “we might fail” to a client. But we can stop selling certainty. Its all in the way you serve it up and we have a lot of work to do on retraining ourselves and our clients to understand that our overall mindset towards product marketing and advertising needs to exist with the environmental shifts as they arise, whether they be cultural or technological. Times have changed as to how we approach building strategies and how we go about executing against them.

Sometimes 1 “big idea” isn’t enough to hang your hat on anymore. We need to be more agile with the big idea to dissect it so there is strategic applicability across every facet of our brand’s challenges.

Each of the 7 tracks/workshops I attended over the course of 2 days was valuable in someway shape or form, however, there were 7 mini-trends that resonated with me the most from specific workshops.

 

Trends

 

Trend #1

Creative Expression Movement

Creativity is a core value— sharing what makes us creative, what inspires us. Awareness that turns into a product (when you raise awareness of your own creativity, you become a maker of your product).

We have seen this trend take shape amongst ourselves and brands on creative and visual based platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

 Trend #2

Design your own success 

The fight for the carrot in the beginning of the professional path may not net out the expected outcome (ie: attorneys). Individuals will create their own path vs. a manufactured and promised one (testing into entrepreneurial business ideas for ownership).

 

Trend #3

Live like a tourist

Stay Enthusiastic, non-judgmental and curious. Explore beyond your comfort levels to understand your target consumer. Relax and connect and get in their shoes. Engage with the world, participate, be a apart of it, understand. Become a beginner. Learn by doing! Get Uncomfortable for the good of creativity.

all 3 Inspired by:

“How to understand and analyze cultural trends”
Sharon Ann Lee

Cultural Trend Analyst. Founder, Culture-Brain

 

 Trend #4

Invent Based on Unmet Needs

Get into an alpha wave state to understand and synthesize people, their unmet needs and what will drive the behavior shift by focusing on inventing ideas and experiences in fertile territories where they can grow based on the unmet needs of the consumer target.

Inspired by:

“How to scratch an itch”
Rob Perkins 

Tech startup entrepreneur, former CD at Wieden+Kennedy

Note: By far, my favorite workshop. Rob is an amazing storyteller. We worked in small groups to hack an idea for a brand by focusing on delivering on the unmet needs of the customer. The best part of the workshop was the high focus on NOT showing experiences in slides that die in transit after they are presented (even if they are presented well) Video captures the essence of experiences much better. Couldn’t agree more with this concept and use in practice at my agency.

 

Trend #5

Design an Experience like a Service

Helps consumers by going beyond what’s expected to interacting with a service-based model that delivers on brand promise.

Agents: messaging/creative that delivers on the brand promise
Props:
assets to bring the experience to life
Setting:
to make sure we execute within the desired mindset we are looking to shift
Process:
Logistical excellence

 

Inspired by:

“How to Design for Service: a service design workshop”
Craig LaRosa 

Principal, Service Design; Continuum

 

Trend #6

Stop Selling Certainty

We are using old methods of responding to complexities–the world changes faster than we can adapt to it. We move too slow.

  • Reductionism
  • Taylorism (responding and adapting to environmental shifts and demands)
  • Robustness (protecting yourself from failure)–balance with resilience
  • Strategic planning

“In complex systems outcomes are the products of interactions.Our mindset as marketers needs to stay agile and exist w/environmental shifts- we are in a perpetual state of beta.

Inspired by:
“How to Play Go … And Navigate Real World Complexity”

Bud Caddell

VP, Invention Strategy at Deutsch LA

 

Trend #7

Connected you= Quantified Self

This emerging theme is being propelled by advances in mobile sensors, communication conduits, easier data tools, and our own interest in optimizing our bodies and minds. Technology is engineering our lives and bodies to be more quantifiable.

Inspired by:
“How to get Intimate with the IOT (Internet of things)”

Guthrie Dolin

Principal, Executive Director of Strategy, Odopod
David Bliss
Director of Technology, Odopod

Check out the entire workshop output here.

A Creative Twist

Special shout out to Pelle Sjoenell Executive Creative Director and Fran Hazeldine Strategy Director, both of BBH LA and for running the workshop on navigating the planner/creative relationship. They presented some interesting survey data on planner vs .creative perceptions of the strategic–>creative process and had us think about “special” creative relationships we currently have with the creative teams we work with. This was easy for me, I love working with our creative teams at my agency.

 



Closing Thoughts

I am a visual person. For years I have taken notes in clusters in sketchbooks with colored pens; differentiated groups of thoughts- it’s how my brain works. A week before Planningness, I attended a Art of Apps Exhibit at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art and downloaded Paper by 53, a sketchbook app featured at the exhibit. I took notes in that app combined with Evernote. Instead of writing a lengthy “here are the trends I picked up on at Planningness post” I decided to let the visual representation of the trends speak for themselves as I sketched them out. Get the app Paper by 53, it’s amazaballs!

The conference was great due to the diversity of the session topics. Considering I live and breathe digital 12+ hours a day I opted to partake in some sessions NOT focused solely on digital. The sessions on social influence and social data sessions received widely enthusiastic responses from other attendees- I was glad to see digital make it into the mix of what has largely been a traditionally focused discipline. One quote that made it’s way through Twitter from Gautum Ramdurai’s session was “The more digital we get, the more human we have to be.” AMEN.

I met some very cool people. Different types of planners from different agencies big and small, different levels varying from junior to uber senior, traditional, digital, some creative and some founders of startups—it was a great mix of minds. Sometimes you need to leave the work for a few days to figure out HOW to best get the work done. I’m refreshed and ready to think, and do.

Special thanks to Mark Lewis and Claire Grinton who orchestrated the meeting/social logistics and curated the speakers for this entire event—very well done.

Presentations from the conference will be up soon you can find them here.

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