Leo Rayman: chairman of the IPA Strategy Group and head of planning at Grey London
Leo Rayman: chairman of the IPA Strategy Group and head of planning at Grey London
A view from Leo Rayman

IPA ADAPT: Is Open Strategy the key to fresh and diverse creativity?

Leo Rayman, chairman of the IPA Strategy Group and head of planning at Grey London outlines how being open can move the marketing industry forward.

There are some in the creative industry – client and agency-side – who secretly look back jealously to a golden age when it was all much simpler and probably a lot more fun. A TV script, a couple of Poster scamps and then on to Charlotte Street for a boozy lunch.

The industry is still slow to embrace new ways of working. Old habits die hard and many - clients and agencies - prefer to play it safe...

But really, it is we who are working in the golden age of creative marketing. Not since the birth of television have we been presented with so many new and as yet unexplored ways to try and engage and inspire people.

Complexity breeds opportunity

But with all this opportunity comes complexity. Clients and agencies alike are faced with innumerable choices. You see it increasingly in pitch briefs, where agencies of every kind are asked to make recommendations on the best engagement ideas.

The agencies-formerly-known-as-media-agencies are making content. Whilst creative agencies are brokering media partnerships. This is what diversification looks like.

So what does this mean for the role of the strategist or planner? If this is an industry that believes in the power of commercial creativity to solve business and brand challenges, then how does planning contribute in this new, more complex environment?

Playing it safe

Despite this rich diversification, the industry is still slow to embrace new ways of working. Old habits die hard and many - clients and agencies - prefer to play it safe.

And whilst it’s everyone’s role to push for more diversified and original creativity, a heavy responsibility must fall onto the shoulders of the strategic planner. After all, isn’t it the strategist who’s supposed to frame the opportunity, to inspire new thinking, to stay open to new ways of solving problems?

But how? The key is to be open. Open to new ways of working, open to new forms of marketing, open to new technologies, open to new strategies.

Be open, leap ahead

At the IPA Strategy Group we call this ‘Open Strategy’. Because it is an open-minded approach to strategy that leads to the brilliant intellectual and creative leaps we all aspire to. Leaps that can be seen as heretical but are ultimately transformative.

But if diversification in ideas means inspiration can come from anywhere, how do we make sure we find it? How do we make sure that creativity and new technologies are equal partners in the solutions we deliver? 

The role of the strategic planner is still to write the brief - or at least to help give birth to the idea and then nurture it in its earliest days. So how do you brief for diversification. Does the way we brief need to be different now? What should we brief for?

These questions are at the heart of an exciting new initiative by the IPA Strategy Group. This week, every day between 28 July and 1 August, we’ll be asking how strategists and their agencies brief for creative diversity. What works and what doesn’t? What helps and what hinders? What’s changing, and what’s still left to do?

We’ll be posing these questions every day via our new Tumblr page and via Twitter (#IPAStrategy) to some of the leading lights of modern diversified creativity to see just how they got there. With live Q&A every day to allow open debate we’ll be exploring and defining exactly how open strategy leads to fresh, original and diverse creativity.


How it will work / how to get involved

  • Each day this week a series of case studies exemplifying effective creative diversity, including Lucky Generals ‘Rainbow Laces’, AMV/BBDO’s ‘Doritos Mariachi’, Grey New York’s ‘Unload Your 401k’ and Lemz Amsterdam’s ‘Terre Des Hommes’ campaigns, will be showcased on the Tumblr.
  • Leading industry experts will then pose a series of provocative questions to the key strategists behind these famously awarded projects each day.
  • The conversation between these experts will then continue on Twitter (#IPAStrategy) each day:

  • Monday 28th July
    Katie Mackay, Mother - @whatkatiewore
  • Tuesday 29th July
    James Caig, Isobar - @jamescaig
    Tom White, AMV BBDO - @AMV_BBDO
  • Wednesday 30th July
    Leo Rayman, Grey London - @leorayman
    Suresh Nair, Grey NY - @GreyGravy
  • Thursday 31st July
    Simon James, SapientNitro - @sapientnitro
    Tim Claasen, Lemz Amsterdam - @timclaassen
  • Friday 1st August
    Leo Rayman, Grey London - -@leorayman
  • Members of the public are invited to share their comments with these experts and ask them for their advice, thoughts and musings on the increasingly diversified landscape on Twitter (#IPAStrategy) and on the Tumblr.
  • At the end of each day the leading experts will summarise the main feedback from each of the day’s activities on the Tumblr.
  • The research project has been inspired by the Diversification strand of Ian Priest’s ADAPT agenda. The results will be shared by the Group later this year and will also be incorporated into Ian Priest’s Commercial Creativity Contract, to be published early next year.

The next IPA Adaptathon on 7 October will focus on talent, looking at how the industry can recruit and retain talent which is less one-dimensional, more diverse, which will lead to better commercial creativity. More information is available at http://www.ipa.co.uk/events/ipa-talent-adaptathon