5 award winning strategy takeouts from Creative Strategy Night

by Lenny Benaicha - February 08, 2018

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On February 6th, acc belgium, the not for profit association of communication companies, hosted, together with Welcome Media a creative strategy night in Brussels. The evening revolved around winning APG creative strategy cases. The event, deemed as a "must-attend for strategic planners”, did certainly not disappoint. Needless to say These Days was very much present. What follows are our five key takeouts.


Sometimes the best strategy to install change is a stealth strategy. Meaning, to not mention the topic you are about to convey at all. Kate Waters (Now, London, UK) was able to spark interest in science education, both on the talent and educational side, in a major way by applying stealth tactics. The starting point for Explorify was to not mention science directly. Instead, they sparked curiosity by addressing kids’ thinking skills.

Think beyond communication

Chris Baker (FCB Global) showed us that strategy isn’t just about campaigning but also about service design. More importantly he was able to point out that the success of some of the work he put out, depends heavily on entrepreneurial thinking and execution. With “change please”, they started out on a mission to provide better living circumstances for homeless people in London. It’s worth noting that in this case, but also in many other cases presented throughout the evening, the execution reaches far beyond strictly communication.

Behavioural change

An insight we were able to derive from all presentations combined is the fact that a good strategy often is aimed at achieving a behavioural change. Strategy is no longer just about finding a good insight and building communication on top of it, it’s about finding other entry points, and applying behavioural economics and psychology to get the point across. This can be achieved by considering all possible "behavioural nudges" and embracing trial and error.

Failing doesn’t mean you were wrong

A failed campaign isn’t necessarily the strategic planners fault. Sometimes the insights might be right, but the execution isn’t quite right, with regards to form and context, but also timing. The idea here is to have the bravery to be consistent and dare to hold on to the initial correct insight(s). In the case of John Lewis, the British department store brand for instance, the core strategic insight has remained pretty much unaltered for years. A couple of years ago, the campaigns caused virtually no uptake in sales, whereas today, it’s safe to say the campaigns built upon the same premise are a major success.

You’re not an artist, but a bricklayer

Tom Sussman (adam&eveDDB) pointed out that strategists should think of themselves as masons. Strategists should form fundamental building blocks, which ideally can withstand the test of time, without tripping over the artistic aspects.

We, the strategists over at These Days, would like to thank Johan Vandepoel and the acc belgium organisation for providing us with plenty of exciting inspiration.

Would you like to exchange thoughts, talk about these cases and what they could mean for your brand? Don’t hesitate to shoot us an email over at hello@thesedays.com.