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Long slog to Christmas

Three long months until Christmas. Here are 5 tips to help you use this time both creatively and productively. Find a project at home, inside or outside, mental or physical that needs your creative juices Identify something concrete at work on which you can unleash your creative energies Every day, do something for yourself to keep your creative tank filled up to the top Find a creative soul mate, at home or at work, to act as your autumn sparring partner Give up one or two easy timewasters to free up some time to do ALL the above This article originally appeared on

Strategist out the window

Mel Gibson’s film Braveheart has been criticised for a number of inaccuracies. I do hope one of them wasn’t that scene where King Edward ‘Longshanks’ throws a strategist out of the castle window.  You may remember that Edward and his son the Prince are discussing the advance of Wallace’s army into Northern England when the king is interrupted by the Prince’s friend. Asking icily who he is the friend replies that he is skilled in the arts of war and military tactics. Whereupon Longshanks takes him by the arm, seeming to ask his advice and steers him over the window sill and a 100 foot drop to the courtyard beneath. Anyone who has needed a practitioner and found themselves trapped with a talkative theorist will sympathise. While we are in the holiday season it seemed a good opportunity to draw up a candidate list of roles who can politely be shown the window. There are I would suggest a few more candidates for defenestration before you pick on the hapless strategist:

Do you bend the law?

Let’s be honest, we all have the best intentions to pay fines and bills on time and comply with the law, but research shows that most of us can sometimes be a little tardy about this, and occasionally, even dishonest, given the right opportunity. And our busy lives don’t help. It can be all too easy to simply forget to pay a fine or penalty ticket. Behavioural scientists have been working with governments and other organisations to try to help us to be more responsible citizens and reduce non-compliant behaviours. Clearly, we benefit from this since compliance will mean we avoid serious consequences - such as larger fines or prosecutions, or the loss of valuable assets such as our car. For government organisations, just a small uplift in response rates from the public can result in significantly higher revenues and less administrative burdens in terms of costs and time wasted, since they no longer need to chase as many non responders.

Marketing measurement

This year’s Marketing Society Excellence Awards displayed the UK’s bravest and most impactful marketing achievements. Direct Line, Mars, John Lewis, The National Lottery, ITV and many more can now be added to the marketing hall of fame providing inspiration for years to come. Reading the case studies, you get a real sense of vision and purpose. But what about measuring impact – the numbers behind marketing excellence? What role does measurement play in the ad campaigns that steal headlines, generate sales, and win awards? In a world where a marketer’s currency isn't solely focused on creative anymore, the data gold rush has taken its hold. A rush to measure, validate, optimise and manage based on the insights from the data mine. Before we marshal marketers towards the fountain of eternal data and insights, let’s stop and think about the end goal. Why we’re doing it, how and when we should do it, the impact on marketers and crucially the business.

Maltesers and purpose

It was (I think) David Ogilvy that said it's only worth advertising something if you had something worth advertising'. Two of the winners of the 2017 Marketing Society Awards for Effectiveness had obviously listened to that advice. Which leaves a problem for the rest of us. The majority of work produced by agencies is not life changing, it’s proper day to day commerce. Which is why it was so refreshing to hear from Maltesers as well as ITV/National Lottery and #jointheherd at The Marketing Society Best of the Best event last week. Let me expand.

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