Planner Parley
StratFest 2021: A Review of the Day and Why the Old Ways Will Win in the “New Normal”

StratFest 2021: A Review of the Day and Why the Old Ways Will Win in the “New Normal”

September 23, 2021

It’s Season 3 of Planner Parley and you know what that means: StratFest! Our team was there in full force to look at strategy from every angle, be it our humanity, our plurality, or our place in moving society forward. Join Steve Kozel, VP and director of strategy at OBP, Stefanie Zawack, senior strategic planner at Marcus Thomas, LLC, and John Roberts, chief strategy officer at Truth Collective as they recap what this year’s festival brought, taught, and challenged, and what it means for small agencies.

Key takeaways:

  • Data + creativity – how expansive we can be as strategists
  • Fostering cross-skill expectations – the act of asking “What If?”
  • The Great Resignation – branding the broken agency legacy models
  • The strategist’s overlooked role – how to bring your client along
Season 2 Recap-Being 20/20 on 2020

Season 2 Recap-Being 20/20 on 2020

January 21, 2021

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

Well, another season is in the books, and what a year it was! From StratFest 2020 to the view from the client’s side, from the relationship of tech and ideas to understanding Big-T strategists, from ingesting “Lemon. How the advertising brain turned sour” to unpacking content as strategy, and, of course, learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable when talking about agency diversity, all the while living The New Strange! Join Josh Coon, Truth Collective’s director of experience, and John Roberts, Truth Collective’s CSO, as they look back over a packed Season 2 and what strategy really means for small agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you haven’t listened to Season 2 yet, you need to rethink your life choices!
  • 2020 was a year we became forged in fire
  • 2021 and the superpowers of the strategist
  • Generosity is fuel for inspiration
S2 EP8: Agency Diversity & Inclusion for Our Time

S2 EP8: Agency Diversity & Inclusion for Our Time

January 6, 2021

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

In a year of reckoning that truly opened our eyes to the gross inequalities and racism in our country, we wanted to take a long, hard look at the reality of it in our industry, and learn what we can do about it. Alexis Agosto, director of the 4As Foundation MAIP Program, and Jineen Carcamo, data strategy director at Translation and MAIP alum, in New York City join John Roberts, CSO at Truth Collective in Rochester, NY to discuss this important and pressing issue, what we need to be doing differently, and what it means for small agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • MAIP’s unique and all-encompassing services and programs are an industry game-changer
  • How to be of the culture, not just in the culture
  • Strategists are fundamental to moving our agencies from conversation to action
  • Building a culture that engages fully in the individual; It starts with leadership
  • Being comfortable with being uncomfortable so that we can grow and learn
S2 EP7: Lemon. How the advertising brain turned sour

S2 EP7: Lemon. How the advertising brain turned sour

December 14, 2020

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

This week, we’re delving into a repair manual for the creativity crisis by author Orlando Wood, chief innovation officer at System1 Group in London, England. He joins John Roberts, CSO at Truth Collective in Rochester, New York, to share his revolutionary new book, “Lemon. How the advertising brain turned sour” – and what we can do about it. Join them as they dig into why fame, feeling and fluency are at the heart of what brands need to be doing, why they aren’t, and what it means for agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why advertising sours and how we can sweeten our work through character, incident and place
  • Connecting with the real world through the right brain
  • Why left-brain dominance is driving more than it should and what to do about it
  • Emotion doesn’t just mean sentimentality
  • Why the brief is broken and how to remedy it
S2 EP6: The Big-T Strategist

S2 EP6: The Big-T Strategist

December 1, 2020

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

Julian Cole, a strategy consultant out of Melbourne, Australia, returns to the Planner Parley podcast for a one-to-one deep dive on Big-T strategists. He and John Roberts, CSO at Truth Collective in Rochester, New York, are fully unpacking what makes great strategists, how their skills are both broad and deep, why it’s important for them to not just do but also teach, and what it means for small agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you really want to learn something, you teach it
  • The Big T-shaped strategist and the three missing skills
  • Just enough process – the critical frameworks we all need
  • The golden window for great work
S2 EP5: Tech is not the idea. The idea is the idea.

S2 EP5: Tech is not the idea. The idea is the idea.

November 17, 2020

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

With technology seemingly taking over our lives, is it also taking over our brand strategies? To find out, we’re talking with Raig Adolfo, CSO at 360i, and Fred Gerantabee, chief experience officer at FGX International, an EssilorLuxottica company, who are both experts in applying technology for brand building. They join John Roberts, CSO at Truth Collective in Rochester, New York, to break down how tech can enable brands, but why it isn’t and never can replace the idea, and what that means for small agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why technology is squandered as a bright and shiny object when it should be utilized as a workhorse for brands
  • The pitfalls of creating around the tech rather than around the idea
  • Problem-solving is more about the problem than the solving
  • Curiosity is inherent, not an optional extra
S2 EP4: Strategy from the Client Side

S2 EP4: Strategy from the Client Side

November 3, 2020

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

This week, we’re seeing if the grass is greener for strategists that have gone client-side. Carrie Riby, director of marketing at Black Button Distilling, and Inga Grote-Ebbs, brand director at FIFCO USA, join John Roberts, CSO at Truth Collective – all from Rochester, New York – to share what the view is like from the other side of the relationship. With one in four strategists considering a career move towards the client side, we’re learning what it’s all about and what it means for small agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the needs and behavior of the audience is still the name of the game
  • Strategy has a different meaning for agencies and clients
  • Agencies and clients are not on opposing sides, but come with different perspectives
  • The best work comes when there’s a partnership
  • The “brief” problem – navigating gaps, approaches, and the handover
S2 EP3: Content as Strategy

S2 EP3: Content as Strategy

October 20, 2020

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

In this week’s episode, we’re talking with Sean Pitts, brand strategist at Hanson Dodge in Milwaukee, WI, and Josh Coon, director of experience at Truth Collective in Rochester, NY, about the marriage of content and strategy – and the ways that union is changing how brands reach and engage with consumers. Join them and, of course, John Roberts, CSO at Truth Collective, as we bridge the gaps between strategists and content creators, and what it means for small agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Unorthodox career trajectories make compelling content strategists
  • Finding balance (and tension) between strategy and the creative process
  • Consumer shifts are reshaping agencies and their roles
  • Content to culture – Who’s moving whom?
  • Meeting consumers on their channels, across all channels
S2 EP2: The New Strange

S2 EP2: The New Strange

October 7, 2020

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

We’re back and ready to tackle the world we live in today; it’s not the new normal, but the new strange. The last few months have been a learning experience, from transitioning to remote work to changing the way our industry is talking about, relating to, and being a part of society.

In this week's episode, we’re mapping this new landscape with Rishad Tobaccowala, author and advertising futurist out of Chicago, Cathy Taylor, U.S. commissioning editor at WARC in New York City, and, of course, John Roberts, CSO of Truth Collective in Rochester, NY, as they provide insight into how planners can thrive under these new terms and what it means for small agencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Moving brands from purpose to purposeful
  • Don’t think about restarting your business; think about starting your business
  • The future is here, but not evenly distributed
  • Make your new habits the standard practice
  • Finding optimism in our ability to adapt
S2 EP1: StratFest 2020 - The Virtual Sessions

S2 EP1: StratFest 2020 - The Virtual Sessions

September 25, 2020

Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. Planner Parley is brought to you by the 4A's (The American Association of Advertising Agencies).

StratFest went virtual this year, but the buzz was still the same. Planner Parley joined in on the streaming fun with a cocktail-laden discussion to round out an inspiring day. Sara Macfarlane, director of strategy at R&R Partners in Las Vegas, and Steve Kozel, group strategy director at OBP in St. Louis, return to the show to look back over a StratFest unlike any other. Join them and John Roberts, CSO of Truth Collective in Rochester, NY, as they review the event and dig into lessons learned and what it means for small-agency planners.

Key Takeaways:

  • StratFest 2020 - The remedy for COVID fatigue?
  • The struggles and successes of virtual formats
  • Coming together to help find focus, even when far apart
  • Finding the balance between the lofty idealism we all seek and the simple way to apply it
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