I read something or other from the APG, a summary of one of their speakers events.
Someone made the point that while there is an established link between creativity and effectiveness, there is less of a link between 'strategy' and effectiveness.
The evidence of creative payback comes from linking performers in the IPA Databank to creatively awarded campaigns.
The evidence of lack of strategic payback comes from the lack of APG Award winners in the IPA's.
But this is highly flawed..............
First, the IPA Databank is made of those who had the data that proved effectiveness. Mostly, those that could pay for, or had econometrics in house.
This is a very small sample of ALL communications campaigns.
Moreover, they tend to conform to what the IPA is looking for - prove traditional media is alive and well.
Which brings me to creatively awarded campaigns. Most creatively awarded campaigns are not 'effective'- let alone have won an IPA. And what drives creative awards is rarely stuff that would excite the non-creative community.
This is a little like the APG Awards. They are not really about effectiveness, they're about showing how clever you are. Hugely post rationalised case studies built on what other planners might like to hear.
You could say that creative awards and APG Awards are specialists talking to themselves, basically showing off to each other.
One final point, coming back to the IPA Awards. I'd argue that this is the best we have at showing strategy, only in that they tend to outline a clear problem, strategy and then claimed effect.
At their best, they define a clear problem and role for comms to judge results against. Which is really the basis of good strategy.
But proving the benefits of having people who's primary role is strategy? That goes well beyond a final sales affect or whatever the payback measure is.
From internal perspective, there is the role as buffer between suit, creative, client, media buyer, digital strategist and whoever else. By defining a clear jumping off point for everyone.
There is the role of non-threatening sounding board for everyone.
For clients, there is the role of someone who cares about the business. Not the work, not the plan and not the agency profit.
There is help with the 'sell'. Most agencies talk bollocks, I've often thought that planners make the right thing easy to buy and easy to sell on to the board for clients and such. They make it simple, understandable and compelling.
The (much hated by planners) but much appreciated role by everyone else of workshop facilitator.
I'm saying that much of the value of a strategy person isn't just in formal ROI. It's making life easy for everyone else.
I sort of know the stuff I've done that has 'worked'. I know the stuff that hasn't. You just know, so do clients.
Evaluation is critical and should never, ever be dismissed, but I'd argue the value of a strategist is been dismissed because they do less strategy and more 'ad tweaking' or they focus on communications problems rather than how comms can solve BUSINESS problems.
Or they are hidden away from the client, or don't want to meet the client that often. Or hide in their ivory tower until it's time to push out the brief.
Or they think they're the only one who can do 'strategy' v liberating the thinking of everyone around them.
I guess I'm saying it's the intangible as well as the tangible benefits of a planning type that need to be taken into account.
And it's down to planners to get their hands dirty, be generous, ego free and do what's needed to be wanted in the room.