91 episodes

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

The Strategy Inside Everything Adam Pierno

    • Business

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

    Claire Atkin helps brands define safety for themselves

    Claire Atkin helps brands define safety for themselves

    Some decisions seem really simple. When I get to a fast answer on something, I can get frustrated by questions which aim to bisect something that appears straightforward. But as we're all learning, there are very few simple answers built on something without defined principles. We can't consider every possible decision we will be asked to make, but by clearly defining the basics, unpredictable questions are easier to answer.

    If only it were that easy.

    I had a wonderful conversation with Claire Atkin, co-founder of Check My Ads, which helps firms examine where their media funds are sent by their programmatic partners and software. Claire has an extremely pragmatic approach that makes the work of determining where a brand's ads are running, which can seem overwhelming, very simple. The hard part in many cases is for the firm to decide what is in and out of bounds for its customers, staff and brand.

    Links: Check my ads - https://www.checkmyads.org/Claire on Twitter - https://twitter.com/catthekin

    Look at you. Desperate for a transcript. Okay you can read along on adampierno.com

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    • 45 min
    Nick Childs helps tell your story

    Nick Childs helps tell your story

    How much do you really understand why you’re work is successful? Do you really know what works and what doesn’t? What if all the knowledge you had was somehow trapped in your mind because you hadn’t figured out how to communicate about it. When I was learning to lead strategy teams, I wrote Under Think It. It was as much a document about how to share the information I had as it was about the information itself.

    Working directly with small and independent companies, I realized how much of a gap there is in the language used by big brands and small companies. I wanted to figure out how to document the work, so small businesses could more easily benefit. Starting this work, I ended up creating an online course for small businesses who have been shut out of brand building. The course, based on Specific, is available now.

    This first version is for small businesses with physical locations or providing a person-to-person service to customers - not ecommerce. I’ll be adding that in future editions. If you’re a listener, or if a listener clever enough to copy/paste a link, you can save 15% off the cost of the course.

    I spoke with Nick Childs, who is also helping people better tell their story. He’s a lifelong creative and leader putting together ads and communications on the biggest stages. He’s pretty much seen it all.

    Now he’s started DIRT, a new method for better understanding what works about creative so we can get better at telling stories and driving results (if that’s your thing). I am always interested in new possibilities created by research, so I geeked out a little. FYI, I’ll be following up for more info on DIRT for my own projects.

    Want the transcript? Head on over yonder and read it on up: https://www.adampierno.com/nick-childs-helps-tell-your-story/

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    • 45 min
    Finding your way with Katie Dreke

    Finding your way with Katie Dreke

    All day long, you hear challenges and create plans to navigate through them. Briefs, decks whatever. You put in writing the plan for how to get from the place the organization or brand is in today to where it needs to be. Where are you today? Are you where you need to be? If not, how do you approach that challenge? Here's an idea for you: write a brief for you. Strategists are brilliant at framing a problem and mapping the way out, but often pretty terrible at doing this for themselves.

    I spent some time writing a brief for myself this spring and found it very helpful. I took a few hours to do what I do for brands and business, clarified the challenge, described the obstacles and charted some potential paths forward. This helped me reframe things I had been worrying about a little to much in the greater context of where I could potentially go, and helped me map the path to how to get there.

    Want help with yours? Find me on Twitter or email me and I'd be happy to see where you are. I'd be interested to see what sort of approach you take and how the briefs are shaped. I'll share interesting stuff with the group (and hide the personal information, obviously).

    This month, I was extremely lucky to spend an hour talking with Katie Dreke. She is working through a brief of her own and talked me through how she is considering what her next move should be. Listening to this episode, you'll hear audible pauses where I believe I was just trying to keep up. Katie thinks deeply and expresses those thoughts simply.

    Links: Katie Dreke on TwitterKatie Dreke on the web.

    Read the transcript here: http://adampierno.com/finding-your-way-with-katie-dreke/

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    • 46 min
    Getting Thas Naseemuddeen's incredible perspective

    Getting Thas Naseemuddeen's incredible perspective

    Most industries work in teams. The recent adaptation to the way we work has affected our approach in some simple and profound ways. As I've spoken to strategists and marketers, I've learned that this has impacted the way their assignments happen, or maybe just the way they feel. Work, or parts of work that was formerly done by teams in shared space or at least shaped or nurtured in hallway conversations, has become solo work. Passed from person to person digitally, like an assembly line, in which each person is not always clear on what they are meant to add to the product. It can all feel a bit lonely. Ultimately, each person has a role and a responsibility to the project. What decisions one makes probably hasn't changed. But they may feel more isolating, and more revealing about what is at stake in each case.

    When you listen to a choir, it's not always clear who is performing which part, while reviewing the 16 track recording tells you exactly who is doing what. Remember, we all dislike the sound of our own recorded voice. So it is with work, we want to know how what we do, what we decide fits in to the bigger picture, how our role contributes to the bigger result. When Thas Nuseemuddeen joined me for the following chat, she revealed a deep intelligence and curiosity about an incredible array of subjects. She casually dropped insightful comments faster than I could take notes. I realized in her role as CEO of Omelet, she is the type of leader thinking about challenges like these that her team may be facing. I never even asked, when she said something I've been thinking about deeply since: Making these decisions can be very lonely. Thas has a perspective on how all the parts of the choir should sound together, and we're fortunate to hear how she thinks in this episode.

    Links: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thasnaseemuddeenhttps://twitter.com/thaz7

    You want to read for yourself? Fine. Go then. Transcript: http://adampierno.com/getting-thas-naseemuddeens-incredible-perspective/

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    • 37 min
    Ben Perreira is learning through repetition

    Ben Perreira is learning through repetition

    How often do you look back at your old work? A funny thing happened during the recording of this episode. My guest, Ben Perreira began describing something he had done earlier in his career and made an off-hand joke about a decision he made. But we continued to discuss, and he arrived at an insight about what he learned from that experience. I got the feeling he hadn't thought much about that before, as in, he hadn't consciously recognized the lesson that he had clearly internalized.

    This week, someone posted a photo of something from a book on Twitter. And when I saw it, I smirked. "That's clever," I thought before reading the caption, in which I had been tagged. Because I had written it. It was a quote from my first book which was released in 2017 and I forgot all about it. It has literally* been five-hundred years since that book. It got me thinking about going back to our old works, the lessons we've already learned. The lessons we already created. In the meantime, I'm creating an online course for small businesses, based on the work I do for larger brands. Going back through my writing and work, it's a ridiculous amount of knowledge to sift through. Do you realize how much we have to know to make these decisions seem so simple?

    If you've been doing this strategy thing for a while, you've probably already thought about the request that just landed in your inbox. More than once. You might have already written about it, and almost definitely created some slides on it. I've been going back through the archives to remind myself all of the challenges I've already faced, which I believe gives me confidence for the next challenges to come.

    Links:

    https://twitter.com/ben_perreira/

    Here's a transcript of the audio: http://adampierno.com/ben-perreira-is-learning-through-repetition/

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    • 38 min
    Nate Nichols is creating space

    Nate Nichols is creating space

    For the past year, there's been a big reason for each of us to think about ourselves. My safety and security. My health. My job security. Basically protecting our small bubble. As vaccination happens en masse and we take our first tenuous steps back towards a physical social world, you may have noticed a broadening of your perspective. Things are transforming from the nearly squarish Zoom screen to the full surround of the real world.

    This means real actions and real consequence. There will be a million Medium posts on transforming who you are as you come back to the world. That can be as simple as ordering new pants from that no name brand on Instagram or by changing the fundamental way you relate to people. I don't expect I'll change that much, and I will grant you the same hall pass. As we come back, it will be easy to get caught up in the roaring aspect of the return. I am hoping I will be half the person in the new, real-world as I was hiding in my home for the past year.

    I had the opportunity to speak with Nate Nichols, founder and creative director of Palette Group and co-founder of Allyship & Action. If you weren't inspired to reconsider how you relate to people, or the space you make in the world, you should listen. I only knew Nate from social media, where most of us go to post our victories. Imagine my surprise when I was even more impressed by hearing the full context of what he's been up to and why.

    If you are building something (and many of you have told me you are) this episode will be instructive. As I prepare to re-enter to world, I'm taking some of these lessons with me, and wondering why I hadn't learned them earlier.

    https://www.palettegrp.com/https://www.allyshipandaction.com/

    You’re looking for the transcript, haven't you? You're so predictable. Well, fine. You can get that here: http://adampierno.com/nate-nichols-is-creating-space/

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    • 52 min

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