Goddess of strategy

by emmalikesandwrites

Sensible post warning! This outlet for my mind is like a roller coaster between sensible and maniac, which is in fact very accurate to my IRL personality.

Last Thursday with some of my YCC chums, I skipped along to a SheSays event to learn about strategy (Big thanks to Emma Sexton for sorting us out some tickets).

I’m finding that as I progress in the industry I have to know more and more about strategy in order to produce grounded and relevant creative ideas & campaigns of all sizes. The ‘getting into the audiences head’ is not a new thing by any means and I’m familiar to submerging myself into whatever my work requires (often making me one identity confused individual).

Free beer(s) consumed and on with the talk.

I’m not going to mention everything that was talked about, just the bits that rang true to me and why.

First of the speakers was Jane Austin from Brightnorth.

The two things she talked about that hit a chord with me were the methodologies behind working agile and working lean (referring to start-ups).

Agile: Active user involvement is imperative and empower your team to make decisions. You can evolve your requirements as the project grows/develops but keep your targets fixed.

** My thoughts** – With regards to empowering your team, 100% agree. I wish I could have taken my bosses so they could hear that said out loud. Clients should have a certain amount of trust in their agencies and team members. Better outcomes are the result of working together, not being dictated to.

She then went on to talk about lean and how start-ups use this methodology to maximise their output. It’s her opinion and thus I don’t totally agree, I kind of think a happy medium between the next two points below is where start-ups should aim to be.

Lean: Grossly over simplified. Start-ups bang out MVPs, they build and test the minimum (I’m not sure this way of doing things is as new and radical as Jane implied). Being lean means building, testing, learning, repeat until correct. You pivot, it’s simple problem and solution creation. Maximum learning, minimum effort.
Jane’s criticism over this methodology went like this: There is no love in lean, start-ups who work in this lean fashion don’t immerse themselves in the product, they repeat a process, they don’t spend any time getting to the heart of the product, the reason it exists, who it’s for etc.
** My thoughts ** – The lean way of working interests me greatly, and it must be a satisfying way to work as it’s instant, you think about something, you wireframe (maybe), you build it, you see if it works, you get a buzz if it works and you are determined to make it work if it doesn’t but I do kind of agree with what Jane is stating here. Things do move at sonic speed these days, it’s hard to keep up sometimes and testing and learning about your product teaches you nothing about the heart of it, you don’t immerse yourself within it, you don’t FULLY understand who it’s for or what it should do. You’re essentially adding to everyone else shouting down the internet hole “LOOK AT THIS NEW THING”.
With it’s adaptive nature in mind, can lean not evolve to encapsulate a little bit of love?

Chloe Barker spoke about content strategy (something which I’m dabbling in at work currently).
Her point(s) that hit me in the face were:

  • TALK TO PEOPLE, NOT AT PEOPLE.
  • Well applied content strategy needs governance.
  • ToV docs are essential.

Simple really eh?

Mary Wallace from AKQA also nailed a few points, some were similar to Janes.

“Never mind the data, wheres the love?”

She did also mention oblique strategies on radio 4 something I’ll deffo be introducing my ears and brain to.

She highlighted that users/customers of whatever brand/product you are working for/on expect to be part of a brand process, they expect to have contributed to its workings.

To conclude my Monday nerd out post, I’ve been interested for strategy for a while and I find it creeping more and more into my creative work. I’d like to add all of the above to my list of things to learn much more about, under space and backend/frontend dev.

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