Collaboration 2.0: Seven talking points on optimising the newco-operation​

Written by: Paul Cope, Managing Director at The Creative LabReading time: 7 minutes There have been, as you might expect, many millions of wise words written by vast numbers of terribly clever, pre-eminent thinkers on the definition, principles and benefits of collaboration – the “process of two or more people, entities or organisations working together to complete a task or achieve a common goal”(1). This is hardly surprising though. It’s commonly considered to be one of the main foundations underpinning human achievement. The secret sauce of rapid progress. In fact, it’s such an accepted input to success in business, sport, the arts, science… we sort of take it for granted. You might even argue there isn’t really even that much new to say about such a familiar behavioural construct. Here at The Creative Lab, we’re not so sure. It was this almost throwaway quote about the power of collaboration from songwriter, singer, playwright, producer, film director and all-round creative genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda, which we found particularly inspiring and worthy of further discussion: “The fun for me in collaboration is… working with other people just makes you smarter; that’s proven.”(2) We think there’s some important stuff going on here. Miranda’s insight that collaboration “makes you smarter” implies it isn’t just a static tool to be switched on to help deliver certain tasks. It’s way more than that, particularly when applied to marketing and communications and their role in brand and business growth. Collaboration is a key dynamic ingredient of ongoing improvement and scalable success, and therefore requires continuous monitoring, honest appraisal, and frequent checks and balances to maintain its effectiveness. The nature and expectation of great collaboration, in other words, is always evolving. This raises a number of important questions... What influences this evolution and how do we harness them? Is all collaboration born equal? Collaborate with whom and how, exactly? Can collaboration be made more accountable? What does truly effective collaboration actually look like? In the spirit of opening up this important discussion, we’ve identified seven talking points that touch on these questions and invite further scrutiny. They’re areas that seem most likely to inform truly effective, sustainable, business-driving collaboration in the ultra agile, tech-enabled, post-pandemic, hybrid workforce, web3 metaverse of 2022 and beyond…  Talking point #1:The role of mindset According to Stanford professor, Carol Dweck, author of ‘Mindset – The New Psychology of Success’: “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset… [Fixed mindset triggers] make it harder for people to practice growth mindset thinking and behaviour, such as sharing information, collaborating, innovating, seeking feedback, or admitting errors.”(3) It would seem, then, that being mentally prepared to do what’s needed to be better and do better work – both individually and as a group – is a pre-requisite for effective collaboration. This has big implications for collaborative endeavours in general, as it implies that simply pitching up in a room with a bunch of people hoping to get something done can’t really be classified as ‘collaboration’. It would appear to require a far deeper intellectual commitment from everyone involved.  Talking point #2:Like-minded thinkers vs diversity of thought Much has been done over the past couple of years to create more diverse and inclusive work environments in the UK’s creative agencies and marketing departments. This is, of course, a very good thing. There’s plenty of work still to be done, but the overall trend is encouraging and evidence of ever more positive outcomes is revealing itself all the time. That said, active representation of diverse ways of thinking – a.k.a. cognitive diversity – in collaborative environments is arguably lagging behind. Unconscious bias is still common and it’s not unusual to be told, like it’s a good thing, to “get on the same page”. Why is this important? Well, put simply, it’s far easier to collaborate with a group of people who all think like you. Easier, definitely, but almost certainly not better. The group ‘Diversity for Social Impact’ put it nicely: “It’s just about letting people with opposing ideas to rub against each other until they can achieve a positive outcome. It’s about valuing how everyone thinks and encouraging them to express their thoughts.”(4) This suggests that the best collaborative experiences spark when there are highly curious, divergent brains in the room who accept that each other’s specific expertise and authentic life experience means their voice needs to be heard. Great minds, it would seem, don’t necessarily think alike.  Talking point #3:Is the beginning always the best place to start? With cross-functional, multi-location teams and a diverse blend of skills and motivations increasingly common in marcomms tasks, opportunities for collaborative chaos lurk around every corner. Accountability can quickly become blurred, dependencies ignored, prioritisation confused. No doubt we’ve all observed a well-meaning collaboration effort derailed by conflicting reputational, financial, and cultural end-goals. Setting and agreeing on the desired outcomes upfront – the all-important ‘why’ – would certainly seem to be one important way of overcoming this common trap. According to project management gurus, Workpath: “If there is insufficient coordination when setting cross-team goals [at the start], it may result in teams working past each other and missing the goal altogether [later on].”(5) There’s much to be admired in the “right, let’s crack on then!” approach – and it’s impossible to eliminate all peril – but attempting to shortcut the alignment of a collaboration end-point probably isn’t a risk worth taking.  Talking point #4:Navigating the data conundrum As well as having an aligned appreciation of where you want to end up, collaborative success also appears to be impacted by how much you understand the historical and current context in which the collaboration is taking place. This can feel daunting. Getting a decent grip on precisely where you are, usually requires access to organisational and market data, of which there are a dizzying number of sources and storage locations. The main problem is that “Big Data and analytics are only happening on around 20% of an organisation’s data… it is ignoring the unstructured data, the data that houses the day-to-day momentum of an organisation.”(6) Combine this with complex and expensive research methodologies and the decentralised nature of data in general within Web3 (7) and you start to get a clear sense of the challenge. This suggests that each collaboration requires a bespoke yet accessible approach to establishing context and collecting and analysing the data that will inform it. It makes sense that not every opportunity requires the same depth of data analysis, and there will come a point where momentum has to be prioritised over contextual detail. At The Creative Lab, when entering into a collaborative project with a new client, we look to source the most appropriate blend of data from a number of available sources – including structured organisational data, stakeholder attitudinal data, agile market research data and trend snapshot data – to establish a project-specific context the entire group is comfortable with. Rarely are two approaches the same and the effectiveness of the collaboration is, more often than not, all the better for it.  Talking point #5:The hidden implications of embracing tech It’s a given that the collaborative landscapes of the next few years will be epitomised by continuously evolving technology. This is all very exciting. As the traditional collaborative scalable constraints of geography, time zones and responsiveness melt away, so an elegant ‘third space’ will emerge where seamless collaboration flourishes. Or will it? This apparent digital nirvana seems to overlook one essential truth: collaboration is a fundamentally human endeavor. For the time being, at least. According to a recent global study on remote working by tech firm Barco, 37% of those surveyed said that, in spite of the digital tools put in place to help them, they found it harder to collaborate while working remotely, while 42% said it stifled their creativity (8). So while tech solutions will inevitably play a big part in ‘collaboration 2.0’, the research suggests that simply delegating collaborative tasks to tech, using it to cut costs or bring an element of novelty (yes, I’m looking at you metaverse) would be an error. Computer Weekly goes further, suggesting that “before looking at the [tech] tools designed to enable [collaborative] effectiveness and productivity, it may be worth looking at the needs of the people who will use them and to what end they fit into the big picture of the new normal of work”(9). The Creative Lab’s strategic and creative digital workspace, The Lab, is a good example of this kind of digital community workspace – carefully designed to support and enhance human collaborative skills not replace them. The tech, it seems, should be in the service of the task and not the other way round.  Talking point #6:The ‘gift’ of creative thinking It’s almost a cliché to suggest that creative people think differently. It’s literally what makes them creative, right? It must be true, Apple told us. Here’s to the crazy ones and all that. There seems little doubt that creative thinking is an essential component of effective collaboration, especially in the fields of marcomms and business-driving creativity. It has always brought varied and divergent ideas to what otherwise can be dominated by fairly humdrum, process-led procedural thinking (as touched upon in Talking Point 2). But the suggestion that only ‘creative people’ are capable of creative thinking in a collaborative context is certainly up for debate. On the one hand, there are the devotees of Edward de Bono’s concept of lateral thinking. For them, “lateral thinking is a method of approaching a problem by deliberately forgoing obvious methods of reasoning… it requires one to consider a given issue from unlikely angles, uncovering innovative solutions as a result.”(10). In his famous paper, de Bono describes the four techniques that will enable even the most rigid vertical thinkers to bring their creative game to the table. On the other hand, the likes of psychology professor Robert W. Weisberg consider extraordinary creative thinking as being part of the ‘genius myth’ (11). Weisberg argues that the creative process takes place via a combination of logical thinking, trial and error, real-world wisdom, and good old hard graft by people who have been drawn to – and have experience in – creative roles. All of which involve ‘ordinary thought processes’ rather than lateral thinking.  Whichever school of thought you tend towards, giving careful consideration to a suite of approaches and thought processes is probably most likely deliver the best possible output of your collaboration: numerous interesting solutions and great plans to implement them.  Talking point #7:The noble art of curation Any well-run collaborative endeavor will almost certainly reveal one final challenge that will need to be confronted: how on earth to make sense of all the stuff the collaboration has generated? Throughout the process, you’ll likely collate significantly more ideas, references, workshop outputs, innovative thinking, complete nonsense, feedback, datasets, and results than you’ll ever need. Making sense of this joyous alchemy is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s likely to be the difference between success and outright chaos. Curation – like so many types of simplification – is often a brutal act. Collaboration software wizards, Samepage, go further: “The best collaborators are diplomats. They know that relationships are built on mutual respect, and that being liked is not always the most important thing. [They realise] that building consensus and establishing buy-in are musts.”(12) There’s specially designed tech, concept testing approaches, and stage-based processes which all help the anointed curator cull anything that won’t directly contribute to the desired outcome of the collaboration. At The Creative Lab we use a carefully honed combination of all three, the balance of which depending entirely on the type of collaboration taking place and with whom. How you choose to do it, however, is entirely up to you. What does all this mean for the age-old art of collaboration as we move into an ever more uncertain, culturally ambiguous world? This passage from workplace simplicity experts, Kissflow, seems to set the direction of travel: “In the age of digital workplaces, globally distributed teams and remote work, new methods of collaboration take on a whole new meaning when it comes to business success. Legacy tools and good old conference rooms have given way to information superhighways, integrated tools, powerful data analytics, and virtual meetings… Better and more effective collaboration gives an organisation a huge advantage when it comes to brainstorming, value creation and equal opportunity… [therefore] the organisations that will succeed in this decade will be the ones who have managed to successfully fuse a digital culture with an agile workplace to best derive the benefits of new-age collaboration.”(1) But what do you think? Have we missed anything? How do you deliver effective collaboration? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this multi-faceted, ever-changing topic. Please add your contributions to the discussion under this blog posted on our LinkedIn page here:https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-creative-laboratory We look forward to collaborating with you. Learn more about The Lab, our multi-stakeholder collaborative digital workspace, here: http://www.thec-lab.co.uk/  Sources:1) Digital Workspace: https://kissflow.com/digital-workplace/collaboration/what-is-collaboration/2) BrainyQuote: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/linmanuel_miranda_7277973) Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-having-a-growth-mindset-actually-means4) Diversity For Social Impact: https://diversity.social/diversity-of-thought/#1-what-is-diversity-of-thought5) Workpath: https://www.workpath.com/magazine/alignment-cross-functional-teams6) The Data Conundrum: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/data-conundrum-simon-bain7) NPR: https://www.npr.org/2021/11/21/1056988346/web3-internet-jargon-or-future-vision?t=1641489645781&t=16424300090388) Barco: https://www.barco.com/en/news/press-releases/employees-ready-to-return-to-the-office-want-to-see-a-redesign-for-better-hybrid-meetings.aspx9) Computer Weekly: https://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Trends-in-collaboration-technologies10) Big Think: https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/lateral-thinking/11) The Myth of Genius: https://lateralaction.com/articles/you-dont-need-to-be-a-genius/12) Samepage: https://lateralaction.com/articles/you-dont-need-to-be-a-genius/

Trust and transparency. Er, so what?​

Recently, the apparent holy grail of ‘trust and transparency’ has been driving the narrative around agency/client relationship goals. Superficially at least, it certainly seems sensible. But for agencies what does it actually mean? Is it even always desirable or realistic? Has the end driven the means to such an extent that we’ve lost track of what really matters? Paul Cope, Managing Director of The Creative Lab, peels back the layers to suggest a different view for a new decade. Trust: defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Transparency: ‘operating in a way that creates openness between business associates or partners’. Mmm, just imagine… But Trust – deep, genuine, reciprocated Trust – takes time, by definition. So what happens between appointments and when trust, you know, happens? What behaviours need to be employed and resource deployed to ensure Trust is earned? Which relationship tactics should be prioritized at the expense of other important stuff? How will you even know when you’ve nailed it? Or is it all just a distraction? And is Transparency – complete, whiter-than-white, open-book honesty, the type that Saracens rugby club can only dream of – really always necessary or helpful? Who decides when information becomes too much information and actually a bit of a drain on everyone’s valuable time? Who chooses what’s in the client’s interest and what is simply part of the agency’s everyday operational machinery? Agency culture and client procurement will always play a necessary role in answering some of these questions. Indeed, a clear understanding and appreciation of each other’s skills are essential and transparency of certain business areas (media inventory, campaign results, conflicts of interest, and so on) is non-negotiable, but does this have to be the mundane, all-consuming zero-sum game it so often is? Furthermore, while agency margins continue to come under intense pressure, disciplines and media fragment exponentially and one-off project briefs now commonplace, is the relentless focus on Trust and Transparency even all that relevant anymore? Don’t get me wrong – close, secure, long-term agency/client relationships will always be the ideal outcome. Mutual business growth often depends on it, the pitch process is, by common consent, broken and the burgeoning in-house agency model is built on its principles, but it seems to me that a simpler, more operationally relevant approach could be ready to have its moment… The ‘Cycle of Truth’To work properly, any business relationship should, of course, be rooted in Truth. A mutual understanding based on honesty, and this approach is no different. The ‘Cycle of Truth’ can be split into three equally important, interdependent building blocks…  1. Product maximisation Your Product is the bedrock of everything you do. It’s what clients buy, it’s page one of your creds, it informs your process, the springboard for all your success (or lack of it), the heartbeat of your culture. It’s your expertise, the reason you exist, why you get out of bed in the morning… you get the idea. It’s really, really important. Product varies by company, of course, and its specifics will often change over time, but it’s always useful and always at the front and centre of your business. For creative agencies, for example, Products should be rooted in insightful strategy and remarkable creative ideas and execution. That’s it. As one of the more inspiring creative directors I’ve worked with once told me: “Never forget that after everything else is done after all the chat has ended and disputes resolved, the thing that’s left out there for everyone to see and judge is the work and how it performed.” Amen to that. Anything else is mostly just waffle that only serves to obfuscate. The majority of your effort, resource, and marketing should always go into making your product as good as possible, and be constantly monitored for evidence it’s losing relevance and therefore reviewed and adjusted. Price your Product fairly, and protect, nurture and celebrate it – and the people who deliver it – at all costs.  2. Uncertainty minimisation People rarely lose their job for not taking a risk and living to fight another day, and the risk-averse nature of brand management is handy for agencies to keep in mind. Now I’m certainly not suggesting playing it safe, being predictable, or underestimating the benefits of ‘failing harder’, but I am recommending a commitment to a deep understanding of each opportunity and its relevant influences (cultural, economic, competitive, and so on), as well as a focus on converting activation to sales. Minimising Uncertainty, in other words. Data – and where it’s sourced, how it’s mined, and the insights derived from it – is key to this. Gut feel just won’t cut it. Instinct might be edgy and exciting but it’s absolutely useless for minimising Uncertainty. As well as conducting the appropriate knowledge-gathering before your Product kicks in, other essential aspects of this process are: setting clear, realistic KPIs (hard and soft, and getting them agreed by and shared with all those involved), accurately measuring what you do, benchmarking its effectiveness and plugging all the learned data back into your process for next time. Shortcutting any of this, tempting though it might be, is almost always counter-productive and will certainly compromise your ability to maximise your Product (see point 1 above).  3. Future scoping This is a tricky one and rarely gets the attention it deserves, particularly if the agency has only been hired for a one-off project. Who cares if what we do now doesn’t necessarily contribute to some future brand position or consumer perception as long as it works, right? Wrong. Everything matters always. The uncomfortable truth is that brands in 2020 are, to a profound degree, open-source – defined and evolved as much by how people use, share and talk about them as the positioning designed by a few ‘experts’ in a meeting room with scattered beanbags and a quirky name. You need to understand both sides intimately (see point 2 above). Get it right and it might just move the brand towards being more than just a thing that does some vaguely useful stuff. It could mean something to people, become part of their world, deliver an addictive moment of comfortable certainty and yet be joyously new and a little bit thrilling. In short, it’ll give the brand a chance to talk to people again in the future, to carry on the conversation. Get it wrong and some people will quietly hate you, others will destroy you mercilessly on social media, and a few more will never buy you again. Whatever the detail of the outcome, it’ll make any effort at future conversation at best awkward and at worst a colossal waste of time and money. One thing we can be sure of about the future is that it never quite pans out how we expect or want it to. Influences are constantly in flux and mostly out of our control. The only meaningful option is to talk to people, watch them, ask them questions, include them in what you do, keep them involved: get comfy democratising properly if you want to stay one step ahead.   The ‘Cycle of Truth’

Business as unusual:How Covid-19 is changing the game for agencies​

As the planet focuses its effort on halting the spread of Covid-19 and the UK’s lockdown enters its third week, three highly influential macro-certainties appear to have emerged: one, if we all follow the instructions of the government and its advisors, eventually the virus will run its course and the lockdown will be lifted; two, the way we work and our understanding and appreciation of how the business world intersects with wider society has changed forever; and three, it’s highly likely that something similar will happen again at some point in the short to medium term. Indeed, this experience has thrown into sharp relief just how fragile our society and its systems are. What previously were considered immutable truths are no longer a given and this will inevitably have a profound impact on our behaviours, likely to be felt for many years. We’re already observing evidence for some of the longer-term changes we could see. Research conducted in the past few days by Zinklar on how the virus has impacted FMCG purchase behaviour (in-store and online) yielded some very interesting results… 59%* of respondents said they’d buy another brand if their preferred brand wasn’t available, with just 9%* saying they’d wait until their preference was back in stock37%** have already bought products and brands they wouldn’t usually buy39%** have stopped buying their usual products altogether in order to save cash Clearly the usual assumptions around shopper behaviour (demand) are up for grabs, and loyalty in particular is a far more brittle concept than perhaps we’d like to believe. This would suggest that a more flexible, ongoing approach based around continuous customer acquisition is probably more prudent. Furthermore, recent Kantar data*** has debunked the suggestion that mass, excessive stockpiling was to blame for the empty supermarket shelves. For example, just 6% of liquid soap buyers took home ‘extraordinary quantities’ and only 3% of dry pasta shoppers. What actually was happening was that large numbers of shoppers were buying just a few extra items per visit, as well as choosing to shop slightly more often. So there, in a puff of smoke, goes the previously unwavering confidence in the UK’s just-in-time supply chain model (read more about that here). As the world of brands and retailers shifts on its axis, so agencies – particularly SMEs – must re-align what they do and how they do it or risk being perceived as not fully acknowledging the challenges at hand. There are, of course, many small adjustments which can be implemented quickly (embracing remote meeting technology is a welcome and cost effective evolution which has become embedded behaviour over the past couple of weeks) but the five suggestions listed below run a little deeper and require a bit more effort for the greatest reward…  1. Redefine ‘flexible’ working as ‘contextual’ workingThe idea of flexible working has, quite rightly, been embraced wholeheartedly by our industry. Tech has largely removed the need for staff to be rigidly office-based, while 5G and the ongoing evolution of shared workspaces will more than likely render the idea of an ‘owned’ office location as pointless for many companies over the next few years. However, to maximise its benefits now is a good time to look closely at the term and what it implies. The recent, slightly tainted image of flexible working – laptop, mobile, sofa, PJs and Netflix’s Tiger King on in the background – is doing it a great disservice and risks creating (mostly unfounded) trust issues between management and their teams. What this should actually be about is ‘contextual’ working, where the location for each person is determined by the greatest overall need at any point in time. So, have you got a proposal to write which requires a few hours quiet time? Then stay at home and stay connected via phone, Zoom etc if that’s what works best for you. Are you bedding in a new client relationship or experiencing a particularly intense project phase? Then consider basing the account team (creatives and planners too) in the client’s office part or even full time, so the business can be serviced in a way that would be impossible anywhere else. This approach won’t always work for everyone and watertight employer/employee trust is paramount for it to be successful. Most importantly, a ‘remote’ solution should never replace ‘in person’ if face-to-face is what will achieve the best outcome. But by truly understanding context, flexibility can make a significant contribution to an agency’s proposition.  2. Resource smartly for the post-loyalty landscapeWith former long-term objectives like brand loyalty becoming increasingly less realistic and tactical, multi-touchpoint briefs more frequent, carrying a lot of costly single discipline overhead won’t be sustainable for many activation agencies. The need to be adaptable and multi-faceted, fleet of foot and fully in sync with the market conditions of the brands you’re working with is non-negotiable. Effective repeat engagement and continuous customer acquisition are the new norms and this requires a new approach to managing the talent responsible for delivering it. Agencies need to be able to quickly and seamlessly access a broad and scalable collective of expertise outside of their cost base, particularly in the areas of research, concept development, creative execution, measurement, digital and content. Growing, maintaining and refreshing this collective should be a core agency responsibility in line with shifting trends and client needs.  3. Embrace fluid consumer behaviourShopper journeys have never been as tricky to predict and the current lockdown is creating more new behaviours, even amongst those with previously set routines – some of which will be retained, others discarded. But this fluidity should be embraced as an opportunity. The agencies who strive to fully understand the dynamics of these behaviours and the insights that drive them will be the ones whose campaigns deliver the best sales conversion and budget efficiencies – the stuff clients really care about. Brands and their agencies have a broader range of techniques and media touchpoints in the toolbox than ever to influence decision-making at every point in the journey. However, ROI will be quickly eroded if budget is spent without accurate data identifying which levers (or blend of levers) influence each target group and to what extent. Which brings me to my next point…  4. Embed data into everything you doData is the engine room that powers all good decisions – both internal and external – and so building a data culture within your agency should be central to your business plan. The big challenge with this task is that it’s the agency equivalent of painting the Forth Bridge: it never ends. Insight is only as good as the data that informs it and data can quickly become out of date. Setting a coherent data strategy and optimising the extensive available tech in this area will make the task feel less daunting and help ensure the data engine is kept topped up. I would suggest there are probably three main data ‘zones’ (each covering both project-specific needs and market/consumer trends) that should be addressed as part of this process… Acquired: this is data sourced from third parties (market info, media packs, demographics, brand metrics, previous campaign results etc) or established via commissioned research.Measured: this is data collected from the output of a campaign you’ve run (budget, experiential campaign footfall, social media data, sales uplift etc).Processed: this is data that is the result of evaluation or calculated from one or more sources, usually from analysis of Acquired data, Measured data or a combination of both (ROI, effectiveness, profitability etc). Each zone will need its own budget, tools and tactics – this is too important to be done on an ad hoc basis – which can then feed into your agency’s over-arching data strategy and proposition.  5. Deliver scale and sustainability through collaborationOne thing that hasn’t changed during the current crisis is the extent to which the scale/efficiency conundrum will inform how agencies plan for growth. What more than likely has changed, is not only the acceptable pace of growth but also which factors are likely to determine it. Indeed, our new appreciation of society’s fragility mentioned at the beginning of this article will surely influence the importance we attach to the sustainability – financial, human and environmental – of what we do. Our place in a society-wide, inter-dependent ecosystem – and the responsibility that comes with it – is undeniable. Delivering this industry-level sustainability will require a scale best achieved through true collaboration. This should ideally include: industry body membership and the active support of their initiatives, joint ventures and strategic partnerships, embracing responsible leadership and working practices, open source research and market intel, even closer working relationships with clients and agency loop teams, encouraging environmental best practice and standards (e.g. via B Corp certification), sharing learnings, fair and cost-efficient pitching, nurturing talent-led workplace diversity and being fully accountable for our output and influence. So, in summary… Any external short sharp shock will inevitably change the game for an industry so intimately connected to the shifts in consumer supply and demand – let alone a shock as brutally seismic and downright terrifying as the current health crisis, and let alone in an industry already experiencing myriad challenges on how to remain viable and relevant in a confusing, ever-changing world. I recently wrote a review of the Advertising Association’s brilliant LEAD2020 event in January, which addressed a number of these areas. Yet this is no time to be downbeat. The opportunity to be creative and reinvent what agencies can and should do is clear and present for an industry that thrives on creativity and reinvention. And that’s very exciting. In these most unusual of times, we have a unique opportunity to reflect on our own businesses and partners to ensure we have the best possible outlook, structure and agility to succeed in – and contribute to – this brave new world. Stay healthy everyone. Paul Cope,Managing Director, The Creative Lab   * Zinklar research report - Coronavirus: impact in purchase behaviour (w/c 16th March 2020)** Zinklar research report - Tracking COVID19 impact: Sentiment score & habits UK (1st April 2020)*** Kantar report - Accidental stockpilers driving shelf shortages in the UK (24th March 2020) 

LEAD2020: Review & Learnings​

On Thursday 30th January the Advertising Association held its ninth annual politics and advertising mash-up, LEAD2020, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster. This year’s theme was The New Age of Responsibility, and the summit explored what this means for our industry via a series of expert presentations, interviews and panel discussions. As members of the AA, The Creative Lab was there to soak it all up. Never afraid to address the big, important themes of the moment, LEAD2020 took on arguably the weightiest and most topical of them all – The New Age of Responsibility – at last week’s annual advertising industry summit, and asked: what does it mean, why is it important, and how on earth do we all get involved? For the four hundred or so industry professionals in attendance (of which I was one), the Advertising Association had arranged 11 presentations, interviews and panel discussions over four hours, featuring 19 expert speakers from 16 organisations, to inform, discuss, and debate all aspects of the issue. Not to mention providing some insight and inspiration for how we can all make a difference. Below is a summary of what went down – including links to key documents – followed by my own observations, musings and learnings… ​

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