Albert Einstein knew a thing or two about problem-solving. He once said that if he had one hour to save the planet, he’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem. And five minutes resolving it.
We often work with clients upstream – at a business-category or brand level – to find the right problem, using a range of tools, workshops and good old-fashioned digging. We’re able to talk (and understand) the language of commerce, audience, analytics, market and competition so that we can get to the nub of the issue. Through this understanding and a relentless curiosity, we find the right problems to apply our creativity.
Lennon and McCartney didn’t divide up roles and responsibilities. They didn’t follow a rigid formula where words followed music or vice versa. One wasn’t solely the lyricist, the other melody maker. They freewheeled.
We see our whole process as creative, not just the part traditionally labelled as such. By applying strategic and creative thinking to business problems, we create more disruptive strategies and can visualise the possibilities. We often make a rough-cut film as part of the strategic process — a combination of words, pictures, thoughts and tone — quickly pulled together, Lennon and McCartney style.
Liverpool Football Club is synonymous with its all red kit. But it wasn’t always that way. In 1956, Bill Shankly – their revolutionary leader – made the switch from white shorts and socks to all red ones, to match their jersey. Sending out a visual message to reinforce the changes he’d made to the Club’s training ground, training methods, footballing philosophy and ambition. A move intended to amplify these changes and get people to sit up and take notice.
Shankly’s symbolic move captured their supporters’ imagination and that of the onlooking press too. Projecting a palpable sense of who or what you are, and the purpose of what you are doing is critical to success — connecting as much, if not more, on an emotional level as on a rational one. Like Bill, we turn breakthrough thinking into real-world outputs that fuel action and drive change.
Making a movie is tough – everybody needs to pull together towards the common goal. Egos are best parked: the cast, crew, producers, writers and director need a shared understanding. If filmmaking were a solo pursuit, then no writer would hand their material over to a producer or director again.
We create and build ideas through collaboration – just like making a movie – building multidisciplinary teams around the problem, only collaborating with the best in the business. And clients are integral to its success, as part of that team; as are their in-house creative teams. We involve the right people in the process, maximising everyone’s expertise. And use our strategic and creative direction to keep the story on track throughout the entire process.
Amazon’s founder concludes every annual letter to his shareholders in the same way: “It’s still Day 1.” Because Day 1 is startup. The days when a new company is full of energy. Ready and willing to move ahead with vigour. For him, Day 2 is “stasis”, followed by irrelevance.
Working in permanent beta forces you to acknowledge the bugs. There’s always something to learn. For us, the launch is the start, not the end. We don’t just hand things over, we stay with our clients, watching, learning and refining along the way, amassing knowledge and experience while always retaining the energy, vigour and open-mindedness of Day 1.