IPA Excellence Diploma: Roll of honour 2007-8

The essays in 30 seconds by the authors


- We believe the people should control the means of branding by David Bonney, Former planner, DDB London

2008, a dawning era of "we". An explosion in collective action, fused with an increasing desire to serve the common good, promises to make the world a better place. Most brands serve shareholder interest rather than the common good. But with more demanded of corporations, values become as important as value, and they seek to remain competitive by putting wider concerns at the heart of their strategies. 2011 and "collective investment" facilitates consumers becoming brand owners, harnessing the power of branding for their own ends.

Mentor: Sarah Carter, board account planner, DDB London

- I believe that the future of brands relies on our ability to activate them in channel through recognising retailers as marketing partners by Rebecca Brennan, Former group account director, Iris

This paper examines the escalating importance of the retail channel for brands, how brands can successfully activate their strategies at this key moment in the customer journey and as agency partners how we can best service clients, increasing the effectiveness of their retail communications and ultimately turning shoppers into buyers. Through secondary and primary research, I have sought to understand the barriers that prevent brands from optimising "Shopper Marketing" and, as a result, devised a number of recommendations for accelerating the commercial success of shopper strategies.

- I believe that the future of brands and brand communications agencies lies in re-focusing an action by Rory Bryant, Account director, WCRS

Having been built on paid-for communications rather than product and service differentiation, many brands are seeing their position erode as connected consumers uncover the gap between product/service promise and delivery. Brands need to embrace the power of word-of-mouth by creating products and services "worth talking about", which truly fit with their core belief-led purpose. By helping to drive brand innovation, communications agencies can ensure a future as partners in building their clients' brands.

Mentor: Simon Law, planning director, TBWA\London


Brand Story by Richard Cordiner, Planning director, Leo Burnett

- I believe that the future of brands lies in telling stories that inspire and move us. Stories teach us what it means to be human, allowing us to explore the most fundamental questions facing us all. But storytelling is under threat in a world where we continually push our instincts aside in favour of analysis and reason. During the course of this essay, I will reframe the past, present and future of brands as a story - to demystify the intellectual smokescreens around branding and show where it needs to go in a world that is ruthlessly and relentlessly changing.

- Turning brand thinking Inside Out by Michael Cosham, Client services, Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw

The service sector has become the dominant force in many western economies. Much of our thinking around brands has grown up in the product world. To better serve service brands we need to understand the difference and then re-examine the tools and models we use. While much can be done in the familiar realm of marketing to consumers, a new opportunity exists in the relatively underdeveloped area of internal brand building.

Mentor: Phil Cragg, planner, Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw

- The future of brand communications lies in more effective content planning by Chrissie Deakin, Associate communications planning director, OMD UK

The debate around content planning has been gaining momentum, but two of its most significant outputs, namely branded content and brand partnerships, continue to be viewed as nice-to-have options on a communications plan. Brands' future rests on the ability of agencies to grasp the necessary widening skill sets needed in order to manage the complexities inherent in the development of rich and meaningful content. What's more, ideas for content must be conceived at the same time as ideas for context, with clear outlines for execution, distribution and the advice regarding licensing and intellectual property rights.

Mentor: Tim Forrest, head of communications planning, OMD UK


- Beware the Age of Conversation. Embrace the Age of Osmosis by Alex Dunsdon, Business director, M&C Saatchi

We're entering an Age of Conversation where people have active dialogues with brands. This desire to "engage more" is symptomatic of the industry's response to consumers not listening. We're hopeless optimists. The vast majority of brands simply aren't that important to people. In an era of time famine, where people organise their lives around just-in-time information, this piece suggests the most effective brands will be those that demand the least of us. We need to shift our focus by losing our ideas obsession and helping people retrieve brand memories.

Mentor: Richard Storey, chief strategy officer, M&C Saatchi

- Massively multi-player branding in the 'Age of Play' by Charlie Finnigan, Former planner, Saatchi & Saatchi

I believe that massively multi-player games (MMOGs) are a case study for the future of mass collaboration in a new "Age Of Play", and that learning from MMOG players can inform the way we think about both how brands will be built in the future, and who builds them.

Mentor: Chris Chalke, director of strategy EMEA and chairman UK, Saatchi & Saatchi


- I believe that yes, we can learn how to change from Brand Obama by Chris Gallery, Account planner, McCann Erickson

Brand Obama shows us there is still a place in the world for brands with big ideas, as long as they are driven by a powerful emotion that manifests itself in lots of small actions. Obama has shown us big ideas wield great power if they make a big impact in small worlds. This paper outlines the principles of the Obama brand and compares them with his rivals in a case of new-world versus old-world brand thinking, before suggesting how we might learn from this and implement change.

Mentor: David Clements, planning partner, McCann Erickson

- Hollywood or bust by James Hart, Planner, Mindshare

My paper demonstrates how brands have now become voluntary with consumers and that, with the rapid rise of digital behaviours, brands need to work hard to add value to people's lives as they become more empowered to control their own media consumption. I believe the future of brands requires voluntary consumption, and that we can look to the principles of Hollywood to apply a new model of thinking for the future. By drawing parallels between how Hollywood and brands behave, I have put forward a new agency model for the future.

Mentor: David Wilding, strategy director, Mindshare

- Who's the Daddy? by Andrew Lloyd, Associate communications planning director, OMD UK

Parenting a successful brand is the greatest challenge in business. "Who's the Daddy?" introduces the key to bringing up great brands, the brand-product-communications continuum, and reveals why only those at the very top of the companies are in the position to effectively drive it. Having dealt with chief executives' responsibility in raising brands, it then reveals the seven tenets of great brand parenting: vision, open-mindedness, communication, restraint, realism, emotional education and modesty. A complete how-to guide for the modern brand guardian.

Mentor: Tim Forrest, head of communications planning, OMD UK

- I believe that the future of brands will rely on our ability to place them at the heart of consumer conversation by Josie Lyons, Group account director, Starcom

My paper explains why the conversation medium is critical to the future of brands and brand communication. It explores the new conversation environment to understand the processes and dynamics that determine how brands can join, host and be built through conversation, and considers the best exponents of conversation to establish new principles and inspiration for brand success in tomorrow's communication environment.

Mentor: Jim Marshall, chairman, Starcom

- I believe that the future of brand communications is the understanding of incidental learning by Sam Pitt, Associate director, MediaCom

The vast majority of brand communications aim to target the full attention of consumers. However, we are exposed to more and more messages, yet have less and less time to actively consume them. In this paper, I demonstrate three points: first, that the majority of brand communication is processed at low levels of attention; second, that this lower attention-level processing still elicits incidental learning, which is a vital part of the brand communications process; third, and most importantly, I go beyond the current work and highlight the important ramifications this has for brand communications in the 21st century.

Mentor: Paul Wilson, head of consumer context planning, Starcom

- In communicating to individuals, I believe in a future for multi-faceted brands by Ashana Richards, Senior account manager, Proximity London

In an industry that targets discrete audiences for specific purpose, I hoped to turn this approach on its head. My essay therefore takes what it means to be an individual and the role that brands play in consumers' lives, and looks at how brands might benefit from an inverted approach, where brand meaning is left open to individual consumer choice and interpretation. It shows the benefit of a strategy that embraces the many aspects of the brand to attract individual consumers, and concludes that multi-faceted brands hold value and can work.


- Data is our future: Welcome to the age of infomagination by Matt Sadler, Planner, Euro RSCG

A lot of people find data scary. Not me. I believe embracing data is vital for our industry, and I want to inspire everyone to love it. In this paper I'll show you how the data revolution is changing the relationship consumers have with brands, the capabilities that clients need and the way agencies must operate. I'll prove that data is alive with creativity and marketing is destined to take place at the crossroads of information and imagination. Welcome to the Age of Infomagination.

Mentors: Alison Ashworth, head of planning; Karen Waring, senior planner, Euro RSCG London


- I believe that brands should only invest in marketing communications through existing users of their brands by Chris Stephenson, Strategy director, Vizeum

I believe our focus has become too narrow. I believe we've come to accept that the primary role for marketing communications is growth through customer acquisition. In doing so we virtually ignore the existence of current customers and the pivotal role they play in the growth of brands. This essay joins up the disparate themes of loyalty, advocacy, word of mouth, customer retention and acquisition.

Mentor: Ben Wood, managing director, TradeDoubler

- I believe that consumer co-creativity is the key to agency prosperity by Bethan Williams, Planner, Partners Andrews Aldridge

Love it or hate it, consumer co-creation is here to stay. Agencies which choose to ignore it will find themselves left behind, or worse still, cut out of the brand-consumer relationship. Agencies that are able to harness the boundless energy and enthusiasm of amateur creativity in imaginative new ways will find themselves in a stronger position than ever before.

Mentor: Kate Waters, planning partner, Partners Andrews Aldridge

- In the future, communications should focus on inspiring actions not attitudes by Louise Williamson, Former planner, Naked

The ultimate outcome of (most) marketing communications is to inspire action. Currently, the route we take to this endpoint is to change attitudes first, in the hope that this will change behaviours. There is little evidence to support this model. I believe we should reverse the current approach: use communications to inspire actions first, and then look to build brands from within through real and tangible experiences. This paper develops a comprehensive framework around inspiring action through communication, exploring both the theory and the application of such an approach.

Mentor: Faris Yakob, chief digital officer, McCann Erickson

- Why communities are the future of brand communications by John Willshire, Head of innovation, PHD

The brand communications that evolved in the mass-media era are becoming more ineffective at changing peoples' perceptions of companies and brands. The connections people make and communities they form nowadays are increasingly where they source their information; people are influenced most by people and communities. I believe the future of brand communications lies in finding a way to become part of communities, and communicate with them in a way that is shared, participatory and reciprocal. In this way, companies can affect people's perceptions of them, and make all of their brand communications more effective.

Mentor: Jonathan Fowles, executive director of planning, PHD

DDS - Donovan Data Systems

*The DDS Award for Outstanding Body of Work is awarded to the candidate with the most Distinctions across the IPA Excellence Diploma's six core modules and the highest mean score across these modules.