Digital , Creative , Associations , Virtual Events

What I Learned at StratFest 2020

Robert W. Sprague

Fourteen Yes&ers attended this year's 4As StratFest, an event that celebrates and recognizes the best strategic thinking in marketing, media, and advertising around the world.  What were some of the key takeaways?

You should know your client so well that you never have to “start” planning.  That way, you’re always ready to tackle any problem or opportunity that pops up.

—Andrew Teie, VP Brand Strategy & Customer Experience

 Customers are changing (with no end in sight), and unless one approaches personas with an eye toward diversity and inclusion one risks eliminating potential customers from marketing campaigns.

—Lacy Kline, Director, Operations

Not just agencies, but also industry-leading companies and Fortune 500 brands, are becoming much more transparent. The once-proprietary inner workings of organizations are on full display as part of a revaluation and reassessment by businesses—ignited by greater social change—to formalize their values and start to publicly live up to them.

—Jason Trzupek, Vice President of Account Services

Real-time data on the feelings, sentiment, and concerns of the U.S, population across large numbers (available from Twitter) is a really interesting way to get a finger on the pulse of how to craft messaging and determine appropriate communication responses.

—Layla Masri, VP Digital Innovation

Technology won’t replace human insight anytime soon, but developing valuable insights requires a time commitment. So technology can be leveraged to streamline the less strategic work that we do in order to free up more of our time to focus on the meaningful work of insight development.

—Sarah Marshall, Account Executive

There’s a balance between being responsive and being strategic. The client may want to be agile, but sometimes an agency is too deliberate and responsive.  The case study from [Caitlin Allen, Head of Communications, eBay North America] about putting a campaign together over a weekend shows that we need to be able to move quickly when needed to address the client’s reality.

—Jeb Brown, Chairman and CFO

Consumers want brands “to help them get to where they want to be,” said Sylvain Labs’ Chris Konya.  Waze, the GPS navigation app, can give brands deep insight into a driver's mental and physical space and help change consumer behavior. Consumers also create their own brands nowadays.

— Rutrell Yasin, Senior Writer/Strategist

Too often creative briefs are loaded with information. More useful briefs put forward insights. We must keep in mind that a creative brief’s primary audience is the creative team, and its purpose is to provide strategic insights more than exhaustive information.

— Josh Golden, SVP and Senior Creative Director

We have an awesome responsibility to the world as the makers of messages.  We need to bring efficiency to our processes so we can do more.

—Toni Holloway, MA, Senior Account Executive 

Every creative brief should have a section that addresses cultural inputs.  "The number 1 killer of insight is the lack of time.  Instead of thinking fast, think deep."

—Veronica Oleynik, VP Account Management

"Data is history, and history is biased" is an important consideration when using historical data to identify and segment audiences. If you want to learn about your customer, you have to get out there, talk to them, and walk in their shoes a little. 

—Amanda Bachman, Graduate Intern

Insight may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.

—Bob Sprague, President & CEO

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Robert W. Sprague
Robert W. Sprague
President & CEO