“I don’t want any more f***ing strategy decks.”
Being on the receiving end of this dressing down was not particularly enjoyable.
But they were right. I’d been hiding. Snuggled deep in the warm embrace of a slide deck - I was able to show insights, trends, and high level thinking, all with minimal execution risk. Safe from harm.
This client wanted action. Execution. Tangible, shipped work. Yet despite their exasperation, they also valued strategic thinking. They just didn’t want to get stuck in a loop of endless thought and no action.
So we turned around, using the insights from the deck and built out 10 mini learning games, 8 Instagram ads with their employees as the stars, and an accelerated leadership development program, all on a small budget. They were right - outputs needed to go with the thinking.
All too often there’s a gaping chasm between strategy and execution.
And as much as big agencies and consultancies like to flex their abilities to bridge the gap, I’m not buying it.
The turning circles are too large, the incentives misaligned. I reckon a lot of clients now know this - especially in a market that demands doing more with less.
This opens up a big opportunity for those who can think strategically AND execute on the work.
These people can use no code tools. Are A.I. savvy. They’re attuned to trends and culture, and know their way around the core principles of business and brand strategy. They can ask the questions that a production shop don’t (or won’t).
They might be a singular human, or a small squad (I think of it like basketball - 3 or 5 on the court works best).
They’re able to speak the language of senior clients, while also being able to challenge, build and ship. They can get the Why, How and What in sync, and bring a real, undiluted point of view.
Let’s be honest - they may not have the rigor of McKinsey or the artistic finesse that gets plaudits at Cannes Lions, but there’s a vast world of clients whose top priorities do not include (you) winning awards… and they definitely do not want “any more f***ing strategy decks.”
From a client perspective, this value proposition is compelling. It’s cost-effective, feedback loops are incredibly fast, and to paraphrase Nassim Taleb - these partners have much more skin in the game.
For legacy agencies and consultancies, it’s tough to compete with. After all, as a certain founder named Jeff once said - your margin is my opportunity.
This area - the Strategic Creative Producer in the space between - isn’t for everyone. But an increasing number of businesses are going to demand it - and fast.
What do you see here?