77 episodes

Adam Pierno brings in guests to dissect events in culture, art, politics, business, sports and beyond to discuss the strategy driving it.

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The Strategy Inside Everything Adam Pierno

    • Marketing

Adam Pierno brings in guests to dissect events in culture, art, politics, business, sports and beyond to discuss the strategy driving it.

specific.substack.com

    Zoe Scaman asks 'Who's really in control of this idea?'

    Zoe Scaman asks 'Who's really in control of this idea?'

    Authors, actors, publishers and studios once served as the gatekeepers and influencers of entire generations of viewers, or consumers. With the ability to rate, or share feedback directly with creators, there's been a tilt. The fans can influence the creation as much as the creation influences the fans. There are entire Q-sized conspiracy theories dedicated to how a movie was ruined during production, designed by fans to protects favored talent or the integrity of the IP in general. The long rumored Snyder cut of the terrible (sorry, you know it's true) Justice League film was discussed so vocally by fans (adherents?) of the original director, Zack Snyder, that Warner ultimately approved the production of the legendary edit. Here's hoping Disney authorizes the Phantom Edit as canon.

    People creating anything now have a duty to bring a vision to life, but also to respond respectfully to those who love it. This creates an awkward dynamic. Not only are artists asked to share their creations, but entire populations can influence the direction of a fictional franchise or brand, but not share in the potential rewards. In a way, the creator serves fans as a collective patron. So far, this has been okay with fans as it relates to fictional properties as long as their dreams of future narratives or extensions are fulfilled.

    I read this presentation by Zoe Scaman, founder of Bodacious, and asked to discuss her thinking on the changing nature of fandoms and how that drives brand and businesses forward. She's presented this at high profile events, like Zee Melt, so it was fantastic to talk to Zoe in depth about how she's seeing this applied in the world of consumer brands.

    Find Zoe on Twitter and Substack.

    You can enjoy this transcript of our conversation at adampierno.com.

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    • 40 min
    Amber Naslund is making it up now

    Amber Naslund is making it up now

    What is reality? More subjective than you thought a year ago, I bet. Consuming our own individual, curated set of inputs we can take our minds anywhere we want. There are people who have seen all of the Star Wars films and believe those 11 (12? Who can keep track?) films and there are people who know that Grand Admiral Thrawn is the best villain in the Star Wars universe.

    There are whole universes around some of your favorite films and books created wholly by fans, building on and enriching the work of the original artists. The rest of us suckers are left limited by the merely thousands of pages of Harry Potter written by the series' author. In a world of digital books and limitless consumption, someone's understanding of an extended universe could be fully informed by fan fiction, and potentially never engage with the original works.

    What are the limits of our pursuit down these rabbit holes? Text is the easiest to build on, but people have created wonderful, inventive video that adds to universe mythology or takes it in totally new directions. My son recently showed me a video of Darth Vader fighting Batman, that was fairly well done. His question: How did a Disney property end up on screen with a Warner property? He is 10 years old.

    The importance of those stories may not have been reduced from the consumption of mass media spectacles to individual fan-concocted short stories. But the importance as a shared story, understood by many continues to evolve.

    This is the second consecutive episode on writing, if you haven't listened to the conversation prior, you should. I sat down with Amber Naslund, content marketer, author and speaker who has, like me, recently undertaken writing fiction for the first time. I wanted to hear how thinking in and building a fictional world may be informing her work in the real world, and what lessons she's learning.

    Find Amber at Twitter, LinkedIn or on her Brasstackthinking.com site. You can read the transcript at adampierno.com.

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    • 36 min
    Strategy is your words with Mark Pollard.

    Strategy is your words with Mark Pollard.

    Do you know those things you're supposed to do, things that are good for you that you avoid? For many children, it's eating vegetables or studying math. For me, it is making contact with people. Left to my own devices, I would mostly avoid people and try to focus inward, that's my default.

    Why do we choose bad habits over good ones? Why do we eat gummy bears when there are string beans in the house? Why do we watch reality TV when you can read any piece of classical literature on demand, for free? I'm not preaching, I'm more guilty of this than you are, almost guaranteed. How does each decision shape who we are over a lifetime or over a month? And is the decision shaping us, or are we already pretty much etched in stone and imposing ourselves on each decision?

    I don't know the answers. I know that our actions are how others come to know us. By watching the individual and summary choices we make, those around us–or friends, our families, our colleagues, our neighbors–get to know who they perceive us to be. When we avoid the things that are good for us, the conflict is probably not visible or apparent to those outside of our skulls. Some choices are only for us.

    Listening back to this conversation, I can hear the benefit of enriching conversation in real time. Mark Pollard, CEO of Mighty Jungle and author of Strategy is Your Words, joins me for his second appearance on The Strategy Inside Everything. I think you'll hear how much thought he put into every decision around the book, which is immediately clear when you see it. The detail of the cover alone would have paralyzed me for months, never mind the hundreds of pages within. I think you'll hear how much thought he puts into his word choice, and how much he's trying to understand who he is and who you might be. I think you'll hear two friends reconnecting after too long.

    You can get the transcript here.

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    • 49 min
    How we've always done things with Aisea Laungaue

    How we've always done things with Aisea Laungaue

    I've been paying much more attention to my routine as a result of writer's block that I suffered in the middle of all this pandemic craziness. For the first two months, I kept most of my routine as similar as possible, with the exception of leaving my house. Exercise, diet, sleep, work, family. I tried to keep them all similar until I got sick. I still don't have confirmation of what I was sick with. Coming out of that, my routine was shot. I had no appetite or energy to exercise. Sleep was not a problem.But I couldn't write or create anything either. And that was new for me. I've always been fortunate to be able to sit down and produce words or work on command.

    I tried a variety of new stimuli over a period of few months. Finally, in August, the block broke, partially as a result of a presentation I created about (ironically) how to break writer's block. Productivity is back. I've written a draft of a novel (my first). I'm feeling great. I've been charting the changes to my routine and the impact I think they've had, and it's been eye opening for me. I'm currently weighing whether my improved outlook and productivity are a result of the changes I've made or whether improved productivity is powering my outlook and ability to keep up with the changes.

    During all of this, I reached out to the incredible Aisea Laungaue, Partner and Chief Strategy Officer at Anomaly LA. I read something he shared about always getting to the same place in terms of the same types of leadership in advertising agencies as a result of the same inputs for recruiting. His unstated question: If we don't change the stimuli, how do we hope to expect a different result?

    I very much enjoyed this conversation, and a chance to reflect on my own experience inside agencies and a part of recruiting talent. I think you will too.

    Find Aisea on Twitter (that’s where I found him!) No transcript for this episode, the elves were busy. Transcripts should be back for the next one…

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    • 40 min
    Taking steps toward purpose with Simon Mainwaring

    Taking steps toward purpose with Simon Mainwaring

    There's been a bit of a cynical backlash against purpose driven marketing. A lot of the backlash has been earned by insincere cash grabs by organizations wrapping themselves in a cause for relevance or just to have something to say. Nothing new there.

    The shame of it is, this is a time when there are so many worthy causes, so much tumult that people are receptive to–actually wanting–companies helping. All people want is some clarity, and skeptics are vocal. Unanswered questions become big problems when people start pulling at them. An individual working for a purpose understands why they chose to. It's not the same for companies, and that comes through in the brand communication, causing confusion to customers and observers.

    Purpose isn't always as pure as people wish it were, but the closer it is to pure the more effective for the brand. Replace the idea of purpose as it has been converted in our minds—cause-based marketing—with any other business initiative. If it didn't make sense for the business, if you couldn't explain it, you wouldn't do it. It's especially tempting to grab hold of a purpose today, as environmental, social, political and health causes are all increasingly visible and urgent. But the punishment for claiming a purpose to get some of its attention and failing to support the cause across your organization is serious.

    I had the opportunity to speak with Simon Mainwaring, who has been helping businesses make sense of their purpose for a long time. He and his strategic consultancy, We First have been developing the type of organizations that integrate purpose most effectively, and some of the challenges faced by those that don't quite get it.

    Find Simon at We First

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    • 31 min
    Christina Garnett charts her own course

    Christina Garnett charts her own course

    To say that this has been a trying time for people is past cliché; it is becoming trite. What's been interesting on the strategy front is a potential limit to what agencies and marketers in general have been squeezed into over the past 20 years. The evolution of powerful communications and project management technologies, combined with the reduction of revenue have long asked marketers to (say it with me) "Do more with Less."

    Year after year, quarter after quarter, staff reductions increasing timelines and ever more channels to keep full have stiffened this saying from a rallying cry into well, just crying. Added to the pressure, the new remote work structure for orgs that were not truly planning for it, and of course, the omni-present dread of the virus and our mortality.

    I have seen people pull together and support one another in amazing ways. It's inspiring. Somehow the group that is working is figuring out that the limit of how much we can really do, with an ever shrinking 'less,' is beginning to vocalize what all of this means, and seek relief.

    I was lucky to have the fantastic Christina Garnett join me for a talk, in which we discuss finding that limit and how she's addressed it.

    Please find Chrisina Garnett here: https://medium.com/@christinagarnetthttps://twitter.com/ThatChristinaGhttps://www.instagram.com/thatchristinag/

    Sorry, no transcript for this one, the robots are on strike.

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    • 40 min

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