A celebration of strategy: analysis of 2010 Jay Chiat winners - McKinney

A celebration of strategy: analysis of 2010 Jay Chiat winners

October 13, 2010

by Geoffrey Precourt

Were Andrew Delbridge to have his way, “account planning” would be dropped from the agency lexicon. “The history of account planning, for decades, has been linked to media,” said the partner/chief strategy officer of McKinney, the Durham, NC, agency. “But the biggest shift in our business has come with the digital imperative to move away from traditional media planning and to have people interact and participate with a brand. That’s re-shaped advertising. And it’s reshaped planning.”

And, although Delbridge really has no power to redirect the way that people talk about the business of marketing, as chairman of what used to be the 4A’s annual planning conference, he’s been able to not-so-subtly change the form and substance of the event.

The 2010 Jay Chiat Strategy Festival, he insists, is unlike other conferences, including the Chiat Planning Conference that the American Association of Advertising Agencies ran through 2008. On the eve of the South Beach gathering of a global audience of planners and strategists, Delbridge insisted, “We didn’t want this to look or feel like a traditional ‘convention’ with a bunch of people sitting together in a bunch of hotel rooms.”

To that end, the Festival found a home in The Temple House, a less formal performance space that would encourage more audience exchange and engagement and less PowerPoint presentations from an elevated stage. Case histories and panel discussions will be the elements of an agenda totally focused on strategy.

But one element from the old Account Planning Conference has made its way into the Strategy Festival: an awards ceremony that, on opening night, honored 11 Gold, 11 Silver and 11 Bronze Awards as well as 17 Honorable Mentions in a variety of categories that sounded little like the competitions of past.

“These are not the Effie Awards,” Delbridge said. “Certainly, sales factor into the determination of what makes great advertising, but the objective of a great piece of strategy may not be just sales. It might be how a brand grows beyond its current market. Or it might be engagement and experience ‚Äì brilliant strategy that, in time, will lead to sales but starts at a different point.”

Strategy-driven marketing, he allowed, often flies in the face of other precepts that brand managers perceive as sacred. Even though digital media offers products and services so many points of connections with customers, Delbridge asserted, the idea that all marketing has to offer “360-degree” compatibility has few strong strategic underpinnings.

“A brand doesn’t have to be everywhere, as the successful entries in this competition fully demonstrate. It has to know where not to be as well as where it should be. And it has to know how it should be.

“And that’s all about telling the brand story. The brand doesn’t tell the story. The consumer tells the story.”

And that story-telling, the McKinney partner added, is the goal of strategic insight.

For a global competition, Delbridge brings impeccable credentials as an event chair. He came to McKinney in 2000 to build a planning practice, having previously held senior account planning and management roles at Publicis, Mojo and BBDO Clemenger in Australia and New Zealand. And, in the space below, he comments on the Gold Chiat winners and the state of strategy:

Analysis continued at http://www.warc.com