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Maybe you've been there.

You've spent months developing a new communications strategy for your brand. You've spent an enormous amount of time on research. You've hired people who have done groups and surveys.

They've done brain-storming sessions and off-site meetings. They've done ethnography and psychographics. They've produced deck upon deck of charts and graphs.

You've spent tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of dollars on analyzing the situation. But when it comes to the end of the process you get a shock.

You're handed a strategy that could have been written by a clever 18-year-old.

You've discovered the harsh reality of communication strategy -- all the time and money spent on the front end can be a very expensive academic exercise. What you often get is:

   - Stuff you already knew
   - Stuff that is easily available from industry organizations or secondary sources
   - Stuff that is neither relevant nor actionable.

What you've learned is that the critical part of developing a communications strategy is not gathering information. The critical part is figuring out what the hell it all means and determining what you should do about it.

Then, once the strategy is done, comes the really hard part -- execution. 

Because no matter how good your strategy is, there isn't a consumer in the world who's going to see it. All they're going to see are your ads. And if your ads stink, the strategy is moot.




The Smug Get Smugger

In one of the most remarkably clue-free interviews I have ever read, Kevin Roberts, Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, asserted last week that when it comes to the role of women in the ad industry, "the fucking debate is over." Roberts didn't stop there, and the result is a shocking insult to the industry. You can read my reaction to Roberts' interview here, but be warned -- it's for adults only.

I will not be surprised if Saatchi's parent company, Publicis, puts Roberts out to pasture.

UPDATE: About 2 hours after I wrote this on Saturday afternoon, Roberts was shown the door.



And Speaking Of Loudmouths...

I will be speaking soon in Sydney, Australia. Details are available on my website 



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