About

Critical thinking and Creative Solutions

Currently advertising and marketing agencies have some interesting problems that they haven’t faced before.  Not withstanding the ones that continue to plague them, Creatives and Planners at loggerheads, poor creative output, procurement treating their services as commodities and agencies being seen as free consultants.

Two of the newer challenges are that, firstly, management consultants are entering the market place. So that they can offer clients an end to end solution, they are buying agencies. And secondly many agencies have got both feet on the behavioural economics / people are irrational bandwagon.

The problem is that if agencies want to be taken seriously at board level they are going to have to develop skills akin to management consultants and in particular temper some of their views that people are always irrational. Do you want to seem irrational to a CEO?

Structured Thinking should complement the current way, not substitute how an agency goes about – solving a brief, presenting solutions, communicating internally and externally a solution, especially during a pitch.

It helps when picking apart a problem (brief) by using the scientific method, forming hypothesis that can be tested and helping and agency’s team of planners and creatives work together harmoniously on the brief, because this way can both see logically how each others thinking is structured and lessening confrontations. And the client can understand your clear thinking at every stage of a presentation.

Structured thinking leads to creative solutions that understand people are not either solely emotional or rational but both.

Matt Rogan CEO from Two Circle (WPP) Sports Agency of the Year 2017 put it like this.

All of the Two Circles Lead Consultants have been through the Kardelen MBA, which includes our modules on Structured Thinking, and Presenting Insights and Leading Meetings.  Matt talks about the effect Kardelen’s training has had on Two Circles.

The training has had a huge effect on the business.  The best three terms to sum it up are efficiency, consistency and impact.

Starting with efficiency, were now much better at cutting through lots of extraneous information and getting to the point.  We get to the heart of clients problems in initial meetings, and our analysis is much tighter and more relevant.  Ive even started to see really good loops of analysis and thinking being reused in similar situations, which is also great for quality.

Were now much more consistent across teams, so I can rely on the team working for [client A] doing the same kind of rigorous work as a different team working for [client B].  Clients who move to a new organisation recognise the work weve already done there, calling it classic Two Circles.

Probably the most important difference form the training is the increased impact of our work for clients.  We can turn our detailed analysis of huge amounts of customer information into a nice, clear, concise story thats meaningful to the client, and which they can use.  For a recent new client, we inherited a mass of complex information that had confused everyone.  We quickly turned the mountain of diverse points into a 15 slide deck that summed things up in a nutshell, and which the client loved.