Our flagship evening event held 6 times a year in association with Flamingo. Each event addresses a provocative question or current theme focused on Planning & Strategy. These events are supported by Google.

APG Noisy Thinking 2017

APG Noisy Thinking

Speakers: Pete Markey, Martin Hayward and Bridget Angear

Why aren't strategists impacting client's bottom line?

8 March 2017

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Speakers: Richard Shotton, Ian Leslie, Daianna Karaian and Marie Maurer

Does Brand Purpose have a point?

21 September 2017

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Speakers: Andy Davidson, Frank Durden, Verra Budimlija, Will Whalley and Lucy Jameson

Do we need target audiences any more?

26 April 2017

APG Noisy Thinking

Speakers: Amelia Torode, Oli Feldwick, Ronnie Crosbie & Russell Davies

Which bits of your job are going to be taken over by robots, and what are you going to do about it?

6 November 2017

APG Noisy Thinking

Speakers: Shekhar Deshpande, Fern Miller, Vicki Holgate and Lisa Bowcott

In a disruptive world, what skills do strategists really need to survive?

15 June 2017

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Speakers: Simon Wassef, Kate Waters, Clare Hutchinson, Pete Buckley, Chris Baker and Clare Phillips

What inspires you?

6 December 2017

What inspires you?

6 December 2017
 

It’s been a weird and scary 2017.  So bloodied but unbowed, we’re lifting our face to the sun to finish the Noisy year with a dose of inventiveness and originality.

Noisy Thinking on 6th December is all about inspiration.  We will simply ask some exceptionally interesting people, many of whom were stars at this year’s APG Creative Strategy Awards ‘What inspires you?’  And give them the mic.

You’ll hear from…

Kate Waters
Co-Founder and CSO at Now

Gold and Transformational Strategy Team winner for Explorify
Simon Wassef
Executive Strategy Director at RG/A

APG Gold winner for Beats by Dre
Clare Hutchinson
Executive Strategy Director at Havas

Silver winner for BBC Asian Network
Pete Buckley
Head of Strategy at MEC

Gold winner for Change4Life
Chris Baker
Head of Strategy at FCB Inferno

Gold winner for Change Please and Bronze winner for Project Literacy
Clare Phillips
Head of Brand Strategy at ITV

2017 APG Awards final judge
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To read a write-up from the evening, go here

Which bits of your job are going to be taken over by robots, and what are you going to do about it?

6 November 2017
 

Forget about all those 'implications for industry' pieces about AI. Our next APG Noisy Thinking is on 6th November and goes to the nub of what is going to happen to our jobs as strategists. So we've invited 4 brilliant speakers to figure out how and whether AI is going to render their role redundant.

 

Russell Davies will be investigating whether it's practically possible to train a neural network to do planning? Ronnie Crosbie will be working out how he'll be doing his job in practical partnership with a robot and Amelia Torode will be doing a double act with Oliver Feldwick.

Read more about the evening here

Does Brand Purpose Have a Point?

21 September 2017
 

Are we all getting just a bit too worthy?  Have we lost our sense of humour in favour of stocking up on nebulous moral goodie points and severed our connection with people as result?  Is the research on brand purpose deeply flawed?  

 

Or is brand purpose a brilliant idea that has been ruined by the corporates; thriving in smaller businesses and brands who are starting to nibble away at the corporates’ lunch? Is it the driving force behind some of the most successful brands of the C21st and the sine qua non of brand building for the future?

 

The debate about it is not going away, and there’s plenty of evidence and passionate opinion on both sides.  So we’ll seek to expose it all at our first Noisy Thinking of the Autumn on 21st September.  

 

If you want to clarify what you think come along to Google at 6.30pm to hear Richard Shotton of Manning Gottlieb, Daianna Karaian of Thoughtful, Marie Maurer of Ogilvy, Richard Huntington of Saatchi & Saatchi and Ian Leslie, author and journalist.

 

What skills will strategists need in the future?

15 June 2017

The planning world is being constantly disrupted and is becoming increasingly fragmented. The proliferation of titles and roles and different applications of strategic thinking force us to pay attention to what this means for individual strategists and how we should arm up to deal with change and continue to thrive as a discipline. So rather than posit various future scenarios we’ve gone to the nitty gritty and focused on the skills that we as a community believe are axiomatic to our future health.  

With some pretty extensive research.

Firstly, we interviewed 25 strategy leaders, CSOs, Heads of Planning, CEOs and a couple of clients. These were depth interviews with leading thinkers where we discussed the skills they think are going to be really important, as well as their views on how we should meet the challenges ahead.

Then we went on to survey you, the APG community. In total, 317 Planners and Strategists completed our Future Skills Survey.

We’re really glad you responded with such vigour and enthusiasm and we hope that you find the data interesting, and our conclusions both helpful and provocative.  

Which skills are the most valued?

The top rated skills required for Planners and Strategists are universal:​

1. Understanding people (at 9.5, this was the top-rated skill.)

Even the die-hard tech and data experts said, overwhelmingly, that it was crucial to understand people holistically and be the experts at what motivates them– and not just how they behave online.

2. Understanding effectiveness (9.4) 

How is the idea supposed to work, and how is it supposed to get the client their predetermined return? The business end of things was felt to be critical.

3. The ability to define a problem (9.3)

Ah the grey cells – between the two ends – people at one end, and business at the other. The ability to define what that problem was (and therefore define the solution) is critical. 

 

Do we need target audiences any more?

26 April 2017
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At the event we’ll ask each speaker to speak for 5 minutes and then we’ll open it out to the audience to comment and feedback.


We’ll be musing on things like how relevant is the traditional creative brief target audience thinking in the era of micro targeting and UX ‘personas’ and the apparent growing dominance of the media agency segmentation? And what about the Cambridge Analytica-style approach to individual targeting? Is it a ‘thing’ or a brilliant piece of promotional propaganda? What is and isn’t useful? What do creatives need or want to know? How far should you reach into the specificity of channel up front? How should you approach target audience thinking when your campaign is entirely digital or when it’s a mix? What’s the difference between a target audience and a persona?  Is enough to just to meticulously plan the customer journey? 

 

Why aren’t strategists impacting clients’ bottom line?

8 March 2017

Everything seems to be conspiring against strategists really engaging with the commercial implications of their thinking – whatever their good intentions.  With the honourable exceptions of IPA Effectiveness cases it appears that many planners are operating in a micro bubble of their own communications bubble.  As the pace of digital innovation continues to dominate our thinking, we become increasingly reactive and short term in our thinking as Les Binet and Peter Field have demonstrated.  We obsess about intermediate variables at the cost of genuine impact. But is the whole industry swimming downstream?  What can planners and strategists actually do to have a genuine impact on their clients’ business?  What we need is a prescription for change and for action.

 

So we’ve invited three brilliant practitioners to give us their views on what we should do about it.  From within our industry we have Bridget Angear, Joint CSO of AMV BBDO and Chair of Judges for IPA Effectiveness.  From the client world we have Peter Markey, Brand and Communications Director of Aviva, and from the outside looking in, we have Martin Hayward, former Director of Strategy and Futures at Dunhumby and Chair of the Henley Centre who is an expert in the future of customer behaviour, data, insight, loyalty and marketing.

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