How To Make Creatives Dance? // by @jpmartzel //


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Do good planners make good DJs? @jpmartzel puts strategic planning under the strobe light comparing it to the art of DJing

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How To Make Creatives Dance? // by @jpmartzel //

  1. 1. JEAN-PHILIPPE MARTZEL Head of Strategic Planning, DigitasLbi France @jpmartzel HOW TO MAKE CREATIVES DANCE?
  2. 2. At the last agency party in Paris, it just so happened that 2 of the 4 DJs were strategic planners. As a planner myself, and having once been half of a dodgy DJ duo called « Why Silicone? » I must admit to being quite impressed by the fact that 50% of the DJs at the party came from a department that represents only 2.5% of the salary mass.
  3. 3. The DJ-planners put on a thrilling performance. The crowd responded positively to their musical stimulii with surges of emotion which they expressed through cries of joy and that particular form of non- verbal communication that exists between dancer and DJ: the blissed-out smile.
  4. 4. Watching this moment of intense communion it occured to me that there exists, between the praxes of the planner and the DJ, an analogy or « sympathy » in the sense given to the word by French philosopher Michel Foucault in his book The Order of Things (1966), something that « has the dangerous power of assimilating, of rendering things identical to one another, of mingling them, of causing their individuality to disappear. » Michel Foucault
  5. 5. A 2008 text by Jean-Yves Leloup (Sound-artist, DJ, author and curator) about the art of DJ-ing supports this notion : Radiomentale "Beyond technique, a talented DJ must propose a vision. One way to do this is to make the turntables talk to each other, to make the records sing, talking about yesterday and today whilst composing a soundtrack on the fly which invites clubbers, partygoers, ravers and ordinary music lovers to dive in, feel the vibe, and feel alive for just one night " Jean-Yves Leloup
  6. 6. In my opinion, "vision", "talking about yesterday and today", "composing", "dive in, feel the vibe, feel alive" are the same elements that a good strategic planner should provide for a creative team. By confronting knowlege about the consumer, the brand, the sector and the marketing objectives, a vision and strong conviction manifests itself. It’s then transformed into a creative brief that should inspire and stimulate the creative team to produce truly innovative and engaging communication for the brand. Jean-Yves Leloup
  7. 7. "The mix is also the shock of opposition, the art of collision and the unexpected. The best DJs know how to play contrasting tracks, risking ruptures in the tone and surprising the crowd but never losing their attention. Because in the end the mix is a dialogue between the artist and their public ». Jean-Yves Leloup Finally, in the same way that DJs search for the best transition between songs to win over the dancefloor, planners are always looking for the best "strategic angle" - the unexpected mix of consumer insight and experience, the rhythm of the brand with the tone of the sector, resulting in an unexpected juicy mix destined to inspire creatives.
  8. 8. A good mix, a good brief. A good brief is not simply the retransmission of the client brief. A good mix is not simply playing records. In both cases, the planner or DJ dives in, opens up and performs open-heart surgery. Each adds external elements in order to reveal a new form. These external elements are traditionally human in the case of strategic planning. The planner introduces the human experience of the consumer in order to give the marketing corpus the three-dimensionality it needs. "At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action (...)". Bill Bernbach.
  9. 9. A successful mix is also inherently human. Without the human intervention of the DJ it would just be an abstract playlist that could be played in your car or living room. The act of mixing gives it body, reveals its depth, and invites the audience to physically take part and enjoy. And most importantly, there is a point. The right mix gives birth to a musical story that could last several hours.
  10. 10. A musical story-telling. A strategic story-telling. In both cases all depends on vision. A conviction born out of the different elements collected and around which they agglomerate. It’s this idea of musical or strategic purpose which will be told to the respective audience of dancers or creative teams, inviting them to join in, take ownership and re-tell the story.
  11. 11. But all of this is only hypothetical unless the respective audiences adopt it and take ownership. It’s evaluated in real-time. The dance floor or the creative team will receive it, judge it and decide immediately if it’s a story worth joining or if it’s a story they need to spit back and reject. The wrong transition or a bad consumer insight can put everything out of whack and kill the mood. It becomes nothing. Apathy. Abject failure. A bad brief. A bad mix.
  12. 12. DJ-ing like planning wasn’t born yesterday. Both were born in an analogue era yet show their relevance in a digital world today. From LPs to MP3s, the art of mixing remains a vital discipline fuelled by technology in which the best practioners earn the status of "musician". From TV ads to connected objects, strategic planning remains crucial to surfacing the fundamental human drivers from the depths of a digital and interconnected world. Giogio Maroder
  13. 13. Even though planning is sometimes equipped with unnecessary qualifiers such as "digital" or "social" (equally ridiculous would be "tablets- DJs", "MP3-DJs" or "format- neutral-DJs") it always carries the responsibility to find insights that will bring a human dimension to big data which otherwise is simply a vast stream of numbers without meaning. Giogio Maroder
  14. 14. To conclude, there are no new crazy theories or justifications for this article. I just thought it could be fun to put the "profession" of strategic planning under the strobe light. Especially in France where strategic planning can be a little hidden or misunderstood even though there are many who practice it with joy and commitment.