On the 2nd August I was in the fortunate position of attending MAA’s first GreenJam event on ‘How Account Handlers can be more strategic’ with a dynamic panel of speakers: Kit Altin, Head Innovation & Global Planning Director, Leo Burnett; Sarah Stratford, Executive Strategy Director, Field Day London; Simon Callender, Creative Planning Director, World of Initials and Philip Slade, Strategy Director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Naturally I was keen to see what I could take away to implement for our clients at a foodservice agency.

The aim of the talk was to enable us as account handlers to be more strategic in our thinking when approaching a brief. Working at Jellybean Creative Solutions we have a wealth of consumer insight at our fingertips but I was interested as to how we could build on this and apply it more strategically to our daily work in foodservice, in order to add value to our clients.

The key take outs were:

Time – whilst a big obstacle to strategic thinking, you have to dedicate time for planning in order to see what our clients can’t – isn’t that why they appoint us?

Get away from the desk – we can’t be insightful sitting at our desks and searching on Google, no matter how tempting. As Philip Slade would say “You can’t understand a client’s problem on Google, get out and watch shoppers buy the product.”

Feed your mind – the best strategists are those who are naturally inquisitive and interested in many areas. They make time to get out and experience the real world and engage with people.

Why? – Kit Altin would have us all “ask ‘why’ to the point where people want to punch you in the face.” Let’s hope I don’t go past that point when I adopt this practice!

Go deep – to find that nugget of truth that your client really doesn’t know, not just a piece of insight that is obvious i.e. 94% of people like chocolate. Sometimes a simple image of a client’s customer captured in a moment says more than reams of data.

Join the dots – Simon Callender pointed out that in most agencies there is a wealth of knowledge from present and previous work, from clients and around us. As account handlers we have to learn how to connect all these together and use the insight we have available.

Be brave – have conviction in your beliefs, if you don’t why would anyone buy into what you are saying. Does it fizz and sparkle which in turn will release the creativity of the team?

Teamwork – you don’t have to go it alone to be a good strategist. Use others around you together with the external sources available.

Get to the point! – be succinct; try to sum up what you want to convey in one short sentence, any more and you are likely to lose them.

Neuroscience – the future; the move from claimed data to observed data, where one can ‘catch the eye’ of consumers using software available such as Black Swan’s Dragonfly.

Thank you GreenJam for a very inspiring evening, I look forward to the next.

Jellybean Creative is a leading foodservice agency. We help top brands with foodservice concepts, foodservice pr, food service marketing, digital and design. If you feel we could help you with your marcomms, strategy, public relations, creative or digital then drop us a line today.