As an agency partner, I've attended many partner briefings over the years. These briefings are invaluable for partners to understand the strategic direction of the business and how we can look over the horizon and support them on their path to growth.
In a post-covid world, we have seen fewer of these briefings. Consequently, as a curious partner, we try to ensure that as part of engagement or renewal, we drive a discovery process to discover as much about the coming months, goals and business objectives as possible. One real benefit of us driving the discovery process, rather than attending an agency briefing – we find every single session helps deepen our chemistry and provides real value to our relationship. In a post-covid world, many of us are still shackled to our laptops. When we create the luxury of engaging as deeply as possible, spit-balling the future with our partners can provide us with much insight. As we hurtle headlong into planning season, we're just coming up from a raft of these sessions. Moreover, every single one has been hugely enlightening.
Reading a McKinsey report this week about innovation and growth, specifically innovators and their growth paths, made me remember those brands who hold the agency/partner briefing days or openly share information, and their objectives usually fall into this "innovative growth" category. These are businesses focused on activation and brilliant execution. Collaborating and sharing plans with partners is a terrific way of ensuring everyone understands the direction and usually brings everyone along for the ride, providing an opportunity to step up support in ways that could not have been guessed at without good chemistry and collaboration. This is where we, as an agency, deliver ever better work: we are fully conversant with our client's goals and ambitions and not (just) used to delivering tactical goals or tasks. And it is a satisfying place to be.
One paragraph that really stood out for me in this McKinsey report:
"Innovative growers are using advanced analytics and other digital tools to identify hidden growth opportunities, and then they are going through a rigorous process of selecting the just-right operating model and governance structure for the new business".
This is precisely the same challenge with teams, departments or partners, but with the depth and breadth of data most organisations seem to find themselves with today. The ability to take data and democratise it across an organisation seems, on the face of it, a huge undertaking. We see and talk to many organisations, more specifically data and content leaders, who struggle to break the cycle, and usually consist of 4 traps:
Informative data exists within the organisation, but it is under-utilised. In fact, without exception, we see businesses struggling to unify data, to contextualise it – map back the business objectives to departmental tactics and metrics that matter.
Siloes: barriers exist between teams who should be and probably are striving for the same goals. However, lack of transparency not fairly and accurately attributing each team's impact on the consumer across the entire journey. Not providing insightful and impactful data to those teams showing how their work impacts growth and success across that ecosystem? This is a sure fire way of keeping siloes in place, and worse, is a major reason those wedges continue to grow ever deeper.
Strategy gets lost in everyday life. By using data, the right metrics, data points and visuals in the right way for each team or stakeholder, we can join the dots and translate business objectives into working goals.
Ownership of data can often be fragmented. 1st party data allows any business to navigate any third-party controversy and stay ahead of any privacy issues (think cookieless). Well-defined, set up, measured data, used properly, supports innovators to learn from their customer data and create solutions for their customers. Relying less on big tech and on your teams and customer data means owning your own destiny.
Growth innovators use the data to define and develop customer-centric, goal-driven strategies, where all teams can be measured fairly and transparently on their relative contribution to the overall success; digested in a way that all stakeholders and teams understand and show clearly how they are tied directly back to their goals and the overall business objectives.
Stronger together and unification are the foundations of innovative growth.