BBDO’s global plan

Gerry Frascione, president and CEO of BBDO North America, introduces a new tool that will take BBDO’s planning to a whole new level.

In an office high above Yonge and Bloor streets in the heart of downtown Toronto, Gerry Frascione, president and CEO of BBDO North America and chairman of BBDO Canada, deftly navigates through a demonstration of a new tool that will take BBDO’s planning to a whole new level. As a worldwide board member, Frascione was tasked with leading an initiative to upgrade the agency’s planning process, as well as allow BBDO offices in 285 countries to work more efficiently – and work together. 
 “We looked around the network, and the world, and realized there was a huge opportunity for us to integrate consumer engagement as part of the planning process and that’s what insight work is all about,” he says.
Frascione also notes that the tool was influenced by – and reflective of – his work here in Canada. “In Canada it’s always been about doing more with less, and in order to do that effectively, there’s always been a premium on working in collaboration with other team members, all single-mindedly focused on a clear objective and purpose,” he says. “Also the notion of integration has been part of our market for a while and working through the line has been a way of doing business in Canada for years as opposed to individual silos.”
The idea was to create a tool that helps the agency optimize creative content with context for the first time, by breaking down and analyzing the consumer’s path to purchase. 
“As the creation of content becomes more and more democratic, a brand has a greater chance to speak consistently with one voice because the briefing now marries both what we’re saying and where and when the consumer wants to hear from us,” he says. 
The tool, called InciteWork, started rolling out this summer, first in North America and Asia, and is heading around the globe. It lives online, where a planner can log on and create different profiles for different clients. They start by identifying the business goals, where the business will come from and who will provide the growth (the target group), then what the target is doing today, what they want them to do tomorrow and the overall experience they want to create to get them from A to B.
The user can enter points into a timeline of the consumer’s path to purchase, and rank moments in terms of importance – some, of course, being more pivotal than others. They can then go deeper into the journey and identify what the target is thinking, feeling and doing during different stages. Who is influencing them? What media are they using at those moments?
Different channels within each pivotal moment can then be identified, for example, if the consumer is surfing the net, perhaps they’re on YouTube or Facebook. Each channel is then evaluated based on how compelling the agency can make the creative, how responsive the consumer is to hearing from the brand at that moment and examining how many people it can reach for what cost.
Throughout the process, “Inspire me” buttons help prompt thinking by asking questions (e.g. over what period of time do you expect to see a change?). By giving clear goals and direction, the tool helps to focus on the “big idea.”
As Frascione explains, “a ‘big idea’ can no longer be a channel-specific script or a headline or a promotion. A big idea is a brand idea, an organizing principle, a point of view on which the brand can engage consumers in an ongoing conversation.”
The tool is designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate with a “reductionist” design and common vocabulary, allowing it to travel to different countries in different languages for easier cross-country collaboration. It also allows different users to log on and see a plan or make changes – the level of access controlled by the planner who created it. 
 “We wanted a tool that the creative community within BBDO embraces where creative engagement informs and shapes the strategy and the strategy shapes the work,” says Frascione. “We can be working with our trade marketing partners and they could be involved in the creative process, but they are working as part of a broader team that has participated and co-created the brief so that when the ideas are developed to be executed, the brand speaks with one voice.”
How Canadian.

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