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Be less shit: Getting from bad to better without losing your mind in the middle | Chris McCrudden

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The creative industries are obsessed with excellence. From Cannes Gold Lions to the Golden Globes, we love to celebrate the very best. But how healthy is it to measure what we do against the top 0.00001% of everything that an industry produces? And how realistic is it for us to expect ourselves to move our creative work - or, more often our client’s business – from bad to award-winning in a single bound?

Brand planner and author Chris McCrudden suggests a third way. Before beating ourselves up for not going straight for fantastic, why don’t we get there by first being less shit.

Chris is a brand planner and novelist who balances a full-time life devising communications and brand strategies for clients including Heineken and HSBC with a part-time life writing comic genre fiction and narrative non-fiction.

He tries to bring both sides of his life together by advocating for greater inclusion of and compassion for underrepresented groups in the media we consume and the marketing that shows us the lives we want to lead. Sometimes he's successful.

His latest book, the kitchen sink dystopia Battle Beyond the Dolestars was published in September 2019 by Farrago Press.

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Be less shit: Getting from bad to better without losing your mind in the middle | Chris McCrudden

  1. 1. BE
 LESS
 SHIT Chris McCrudden planner, novelist, serial failure
  2. 2. How to get from bad to better without losing your mind in the middle
  3. 3. But first, what does good look like? The answer to this question gets harder the more you think about it, and the harder you push yourself.
  4. 4. Week 1 Week 4 “We’re looking for a disruptive, game-changing platform / campaign / activation.” “This needs to link more clearly to our product.”
  5. 5. Year 1 Year 4 “I’m going to redefine the boundaries of the genre.” “It would be nice to finish the first draft.”
  6. 6. (This is the trajectory of an unrealistic goal.)
  7. 7. You’re not going to get from crap to amazing in a single step.
 
 But you can get there in five, if you accept that getting better involves first being less shit.
  8. 8. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE MINDSET BARRIERS NEEDS THE TASK
  9. 9. STEP 1: Define the strategic objective
  10. 10. THE SITUATION FOR CLIENT X Market share 
 is flat or declining Brand preference is flat or declining ROI is flat 
 or declining
  11. 11. THE STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE FOR CLIENT X Resilience Grow the business Increase 
 transaction value in 5 years, people will have more reasons to shop with us driving reappraisal for a broader role buying more and justifying a premium 
 CUSTOMERS AT THE HEART
  12. 12. MINDSET OUTCOME: A description in terms of feelings and responses: ▪ Rational or Emotional ▪ Attitude or Behaviour QUESTIONS: What does the audience think/feel/do? What is the ultimate way you want the audience to feel? What are the intermediate steps along the journey to reach that point? STEP 2: Define The Start Point
  13. 13. CLIENT X THINK FEEL DO X is a reliable 
 place to stop 
 on the road I am confident about quality of products, but otherwise indifferent I stop at 
 X when it’s convenient X has an interesting and unique point of view about my life I value my journeys more and appreciate X for helping me to value them Extend the range of things I buy from Z 1 X is making a positive difference to journeys 
 for people like me X belongs in my community Actively choose to shop at X 2 X solutions make my world better X people care about the same things I do X is my favourite station and I am an advocate 3CURRENT THINK FEEL DO
  14. 14. WIZARD OF OZ THINK FEEL DO No one in Kansas understands me Misunderstood and persecuted Run away from home with little dog Toto I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,Toto Lost and alone in a new place Make some friends 1 To get home I need to do something impossible Friendship makes me feel more powerful Kill the witch 2 My work here is done. There’s no place like home Wish myself home with my ruby slippers 3CURRENT THINK FEEL DO
  15. 15. STEP 3: IDENTIFY THE BARRIERS BARRIERS OUTCOME: A list of factors restraining action External: external force like time, budget, accessibility or culture. Internal: memories of previous experiences, prevailing information or personal relevance of the issue QUESTION: What are the barriers which prevent them from movement to the next stage?
  16. 16. 
 WHAT’S STOPPING PEOPLE FROM MOVING TO THE NEXT PHASE? X is a reliable 
 place to stop 
 on the road X has an interesting and unique point of view about my life X is making a positive difference to journeys 
 for people like me X solutions make my world better CURRENT THINK BARRIER I don’t see a difference to the competition I expect brands to do more than talk I don’t think about the category when I’m outside the car I doubt you care about the things I care about 1 2 3
  17. 17. STEP 4: IDENTIFY HOW TO OVERCOME BARRIERS NEEDS OUTCOME: Identification of needs - i.e. confidence, reassurance, education, etc.. QUESTION: What do they need to overcome barriers? Description in terms of relationship, information, experience or service.
  18. 18. 
 HOW DO WE OVERCOME THOSE BARRIERS? X is a reliable 
 place to stop 
 on the road X has an interesting and unique point of view about my life X is making a positive difference to journeys 
 for people like me X solutions make my world better CURRENT THINK BARRIER I don’t see a difference to the competition I expect brands to do more than talk I don’t think about the category when I’m outside the car I doubt you care about the things I care about 1 2 3 NEED Elevate X’s point of view on bringing meaning to each journey Identify key journeys and act to enhance them Elevate car journeys into life journeys Use our scale to make a societal difference
  19. 19. STEP 5: DEFINE THE ROLE FOR COMMS TASK FOR COMMS OUTCOME: Definition of comms task – i.e. need to educate people, inspire peers, engage influencers, encourage advocates, etc… QUESTION: How would we fulfil their needs though comms?
  20. 20. WHAT’S THE JOB FOR COMMS? X is a reliable place to stop on the roadThink Confident about quality of products, but otherwise indifferent Feel Stop at X when it’s convenient Do X has something interesting and unique to say about my life I value my journeys more and appreciate X for helping me to value them Extend the range of things I buy from X X is making a positive difference to journeys above what it sells I prefer X as a brand Actively choose to shop at X X is making a positive difference in the world I buy into X and it shares my values X is my favourite station and I am an advocate ESTABLISHPHASE PERSONALISEPHASE ENABLE CONTRIBUTION REFRAME THE VALUE OF THE JOURNEYS THAT PEOPLE MAKE CHAMPION THE CUMULATIVE IMPACT OF REGULAR TRIPS DEMONSTRATE AND HARNESS THE GLOBAL POTENTIAL OF COLLECTIVE JOURNEYS
  21. 21. HOW DOES THIS HELP? WE ARE SHIT WTF AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? WE ARE FANTASTIC
  22. 22. HOW DOES THIS HELP? WE ARE SHIT WE ARE LESS SHIT WE ARE BETTER WE ARE FANTASTIC YEARONE YEARTWO YEARTHREE
  23. 23. BE
 LESS
 SHIT THANK YOU

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