Strategy & Planning Meetup #2 – notes and thoughts

Strategy & planning

On Wednesday the second Brighton Strategy & Planning Meetup took place. The title was ‘gaining attention – from audiences, from consumers, from anyone.’

The three speakers came from a wide variety of backgrounds: Andrew Sleigh, creative producer at Lighthouse, representing culture organisations; Matt Bagwell, director of international strategic services at AKQA, speaking on behalf of agencies and advertising; and Krystal Lampshire, senior digital marketing exec. at Comic Relief, showing us how to gain attention in the charity sector.

Needless to say there were some interesting similarities and fascinating differences between the three speakers, and the challenges they face.

Andrew Sleigh – Great artists steal.

Andrew opened the evening with a talk on the challenges culture organisations face in getting the attention of audiences. The immediate stand out point was that when you’re selling ‘art and culture’, it’s not as simple to communicate value as it is with a commercial product or service. Even at the point of creation, the artist may not have public attention in mind, but rather the tastes of a wealthy customer.

He went on to discuss the ‘jobs to be done’ framework. This suggests that a more effective way to market to the public is to consider how what you’re selling helps them to get a job done, rather than to use traditional methods such as market segmentation. This challenge and approach is far more conceptual and difficult to communicate to some audiences when you’re promoting arts.

Andrew also spoke of disruption in the sector and how, in an industry built on rarity, the abundance offered by the likes of Amazon is causing significant problems for intermediate organisations, like publishers and galleries, which share and promote art. He went on to say that it’s not all bad news and movements such as Kickstarter and Art Happens are positive reassurances that people do want, and appreciate, creative artworks.

Matt Bagwell – From Goose Pimples to Poppies

Second up was Matt Bagwell. Matt opened by talking about the key moments of his life, the ones that are vying for his attention, either through emotion, events or achievements and explaining that these are often the feelings that need to be distilled and recreated to effectively grab others’ attention.

A key discussion point throughout the talk was the current desire by brands to make experiences seamless (a theme that coincidentally referenced moments of Andrew’s talk on experience & physical design). In contrast Matt feels that seams are often opportunities to delight customers. He used the queues at Disneyland as an example of this: Walt Disney noticed that queues needn’t be a discomfort, but an opportunity to extend the ride experience.

Matt went on to give two contrasting techniques for gaining attention:


Subtly placing messages into branding and advertising to reach out to passive consumers. He used the famous arrow in the FEDEX logo as an example of this:

Image via Business Insider

and the not so well known fact that the McDonalds golden arches represent a mother’s breasts:

Image via Wikimedia


Providing consumers with an awe-inspiring story, the obvious example being Felix Baumgartner’s space jump by Red Bull.

He went on to share some of his experience with creating spectacle and shared some of AKQA’s success with Vodafone Firsts supporting Ben McBean and fundraising for the British Legion and a nan on a rollercoaster:

He left us with two very poignant quotes on the relationship between paid and earned media when gaining consumer attention:

Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable

– Robert Stephens

You will pay. You might pay more intelligently, but you will pay.

Krystle Lampshire – Sensation to Donation

After a quick break and a second beer, Krystle took to the stage to talk about her experience gaining people’s attention with Sport Relief.

It was interesting to hear how the charity sector is becoming more competitive in its sports challenges. Sport Relief has run (pun intended) the Sport Relief mile for a number of years, but other charities are creating more events of increasing difficulty each year and Sport Relief needs to up its game (pun intended – I’ll stop now). (As an aside, it was interesting to realise the connection between Krystle’s talk and Matt’s and the use of spectacle to gain attention.)

The focus of Krystle’s presentation was on the challenges undertaken by celebrities – specifically Davina McCall – in order to gain fundraisers’ and donators’ attention.

Following an inspiring trip to Kenya to film an appeal, Davina was determined to take on a monumental challenge, which became running, cycling and swimming the 500 miles from London to Edinburgh. Krystal shared the techniques used to build up, document and live blog/tweet awareness of Davina’s progress. Interspersed among all the content and live updates was the campaign message – the appeal from Kenya – grabbing the attention of and engaging people with both Davina’s challenge and the Sport Relief message.

She shared several examples of content captured and shared, and emphasised that for a campaign like this, keeping peoples’ attention required a very live and reactive approach:

Tactics are great. Lightning quick reactions are gold.

Thank yous

Thanks to Bloom Worldwide for co-sponsoring the event with us, The Lighthouse for letting us use their splendid digital lounge, and Isabelle for being an excellent host.

Finally, if you attended the event, we’d love to hear your feedback. The meetup is open to theme, speaker and talk suggestions as well as general feedback of the night. If you have any comments or improvements please submit in this form:

See you at the next one!