Embrace the chaos

From our September issue, publisher Mary Maddever treads down memory lane.

A quarter century in, the sense that the industry is mapping it out as we go along has just intensified. I love this issue’s cover by Dave Watson. It really sums up the ride over the last few decades.

Behind the scenes here at strategy, we also struggle with the effect of trends. Fortunately, our new(ish) strategydaily meshes with the kind of headlines that are all the rage (but not in an “11-dogs-who-learned-the-hard-way-not-to-eat-bees” kind of way). The goal was to help the industry make sense of all the Next Big Things raining down on them throughout the year – with as little jargon as humanly possible. And like brands, we too are sorting ways to adjust the digital mix and organize for speed.

It struck me that if exploring the impact (and potential) of new trends helps you see your product through a fresh and magnified lens, the freakish pace of change should leave brands sharply etched for success.

Last time we reinvented strategy was in 2004, moving from biweekly newsprint to monthly glossy mags and launching our first digital brand, Media in Canada. Sifting through old files, I found this post-relaunch Big Audacious Hairy Goal (remember those?), “by 2010: strategy is a must read for Richard Branson.” Let me explain. We wanted to deliver innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and leadership, and Branson (who was hopping out of planes to launch things in Canada then) personified that.

The plan back then for strategy was to run more tech content, but I can’t claim we knew how big a change it would usher in. And my personal fave note from past planning “We are exploring whether any of the new emerging digital media – blogs, podcasting, mobile content – make sense for our online brands.” Ha!

We also planned a “creative e-sub brand” to reach a tier below the strategy demo. That turned into stimulant. We dug up a launch ad done by Denstu to rerun in this anniversary issue, and it’s fitting because that was our first big agency collab – stimulant was developed with the help of Glen Hunt’s creative catalysis, Chris Pastirik’s strategic counsel and the digi skills of Michael Gramlow.

That brings me to the best thing about looking back: the people. Strategy has been lucky to have wicked smart collaborators over the years, like the keeper “I can see the future” issue Taxi’s Steve Mykolyn guest edited this year.

This issue we also look at change afoot with longtime collaborator Tony Chapman, who has sparked (or been a sounding board for) a lot of our big idea content, and continues to champion how Canada can play a bigger role globally.

So thanks to all our contributors, our pundits, our juries, our go-to idea people, our partners – the Globe on Cannes, ICA on the CASSIES and CAPMA on Promo! – and the sponsors, advertisers and subscribers who help support the shared bold vision. Keep the brand new ideas coming.

Cheers, mm

Image via Shutterstock