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Brand Strategy Framework

with
Mark Pollard
The Most Practical Guide To Brand Strategy

Table of Contents

  1. Warning about frameworks
  2. The Four Points Framework
  3. Brand Problem
  4. Brand Insights
  5. Brand Advantage
  6. Brand Strategy

1. Warning about frameworks

Arek Dvornechuck:
What’s up branding experts! — Arek here at Ebaqdesign. And welcome to On Branding Podcast — The only podcast where I interview branding experts to give you actionable tips on everything branding and beyond! And in this episode, I interview Mark Pollard, and we talk about Brand Strategy Framework. Mark is a strategist, speaker, and writer born in Sydney and living in New York. And Mark has spoken at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and he’s focused on helping people, who think for a living, live, which means he trains strategist. So he has trained strategists all over the world, and he runs the community and podcast Sweathead.
Mark has also contributed to 10s of publications, including Vice, Quartz, Wharton’s Future of Advertising, and the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) report. Mark runs his strategic firm Mighty Jungle, under which he has worked with clients like The Economist, Facebook, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal, Mozilla, Euro News, just to name a few. So Mark, recently published his book “Strategy Is Your Words: A Strategist’s Fight for Meaning”, and this is the book we are going to talk about today. Hello, Mark, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on our podcast.

Mark Pollard:
Greetings. Thank you very much for having me.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Thanks. So in the first half of your book, you go into the words of strategies used in their heads was, like imposter syndrome, lone wolf, truth, clarity, empathy, and so on. In the second half, you feature some of your go-to strategy techniques and tools that you use. So I wanted to make this podcast actionable and talk about your four-point strategy framework. Okay? So, in your book, you’ll give a warning about frameworks and you say; “strategists are addicted to frameworks and side effects of frameworks can be deadly”. So basically, you say that frameworks can actually scare some people out of thinking, but they are here not to just prevent us from thinking but to help us start thinking right. So can you speak to that a bit? What’s the problem with using frameworks and how we should approach using them?

Mark Pollard:
Frameworks are great, they’re fine, I mean, you can break anything down in life, anything that exists in the world into some kind of structure, some kind of patent, some kind of category or set of categories, its fine. It’s just that I think the strategy work. Sometimes people think it’s really, really important and fancy and expensive work and that the main job is just to fill in the framework and to do so without actually thinking very much. And not to be mean, but every now and then I look at some of the Twitter, and social media presences of some of the management consulting companies, and they do this, they’ll have some framework like pastel or a SWOT, or whatever it is, and the language used, it’s like a 10-year-old did it. And just because it fits in a framework doesn’t mean that it’s insightful, it doesn’t mean that it’s useful. So that’s the main risk that the framework is there to potentially frame your work, but you still need to do the work rather than treating a framework. Like you’re just filling in some kind of form and then you send it off, and you get the grade. That’s the main issue that I see.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right, so the framework is not just like a question that where we just fill in the answers. It’s more about encouraging us, encourage the thinking to happen, right? And, just help us solve the lack of thinking and just started that thinking, right?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, yeah, I’ll give you an example. So for example, in storytelling, people talk about a story needs a beginning, middle, and an end. That is a kind of framework and if you put that into a diagram on a page, and then designed it, to fill in, in work that says beginning, that the hero wakes up and goes about their day, and then in the middle, some bad stuff happens. And then at the end, they win and they come back and they’re okay, and there’s a new routine set. That’s just not very interesting. It might be correct and accurate as far as a lot of storytelling structures go. But you’re not telling a story. There’s no depth in there. There’s nothing specific or unique in that answer to the framework.

2. The Four Points Framework

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right, right. So since we know about, how to approach strategy framework, it’s just to help us start thinking, and critical thinking happens. So can we talk about the four-point strategy framework now? So basically, this framework stands on four points, right? So it is self-explanatory. So those four points are problem, insights, advantage, and strategy. And each point is a sentence that stands on an idea, and you talk about ideas quite a lot in your book. So each idea needs to emanate from the same team, right? So it’s all connected, those four points are connected around the same team. So can you just give us a quick overview of your brand strategy framework? And then we just going to dive into each part and talk a bit more, you know, about details?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, sure. So it’s called the four points, which is a really straightforward name. And there’s jargon in this, I explained my jargon. And the point is to not use this in a really dogmatic way, but for it to be a technique or a set of techniques that are available to you, as you think. And it’s not to say, to avoid all the other techniques, I mean, one of the most common ones with brand strategy, or getting to a credit brief is the four C’s, where you think about what the consumer truth, competitive truth/category truth, and then cultural truth and company truth, and you put them on a slide or in some kind of diagram, and you’re trying to work out the thread between them to get to some kind of strategy. So, the four points are complementary to anything that’s out there. But what I’m trying to do is encourage people to try to solve problems. That’s first and foremost. So at the top of the four points is the word problem, and what I look for is the human problem behind the business problem. Again, there’s some jargon in there that I’m aware of. But essentially, what is the obstacle or the barrier in people’s minds, potentially, the criticism of this brand, or of this product that’s preventing them from wanting it or from buying it that’s going on in their heads that’s in the way of them doing something or buying it because also, it’s not always about a product or a brand, it could be about a social issue. Or you could actually use some of these techniques on your own self-talk, for example. And then insight in the four points is an unspoken human truth that sheds new light on the problem. So I’m looking for a sentence as a strong provocative problem statement, and then the insight will open it up. So essentially, that’s like the second paragraph of a one-page essay. But here’s the thing about this problem bomb. And whatever comes next is hopefully some kind of insight, the insight, and the advantage, they clash together. The advantage is just another way of saying what’s unique and motivating about a brand, based on the features and functions of it that are relatively unique, and they combine in a relatively unique way. And then strategy in the four points is at the bottom. So you got a problem at the top, you’ve got insight and advantage below that that come together, they clash together to get to a solution, or a strategy. So the strategy solves the problem by colliding the insight and advantage together. And the strategy is essential, this is vague, but it’s a new way of looking at your brand based on all of these things so that the strategy statement tries to solve the problem through some kind of intelligence, some kind of insight that is also relevant to what the brand and the product are about.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. So that’s great, hopefully, for our listeners. So, just wanted to talk a bit about how to use your four-point strategy framework, so basically, we start with identifying the issue is the problem, right? And then we conduct some stakeholder interviews, gather some customer surveys, so let’s go through reports, digest online reviews, expert opinions, and so on, and write everything down. And we can run this multiple times and have competing versions for one project, right?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, totally, totally. And the thing it’s hard to explain this in a way that doesn’t assume a bunch of existing understanding because some of these words like I said, it’s the jargon. And as I’ve taken this thinking beyond people who’ve got a few years of strategy experience under their belts, it can be a bit confusing. But the thing is, we can break it down in really simple ways. And the thing is, just think about if you like beer or wine or I don’t know what you’re into; cheese or a hamburger or pizza, or potentially if you don’t like those things, or you don’t like a type of them, just think about why you don’t like that thing. So for example, when I talk to people about IPA beers, often I’ll say I don’t drink IPA beers because they’re feeling. So, IPA Beer is a feeling that could be a problem in the way that I use the four points. So but the feeling is kind of interesting. It’s not marketing speak. I’ve heard it before. So I’ll push into that as a problem. You know, why do you think it's filling? What’s wrong with it being feeling? Is there a time when feeling full is okay or are there times when feeling full? Are really not okay? But you push into it, you ask why is that the problem? What’s causing it? What’s causing it, because you’re trying to get to the root cause, but the point of these, this particular framework, at least is to get to something that’s very plain English, that could be something, or a set of words that you might actually use in regular conversation and that would probably look quite unusual in a business presentation, at least in most business presentations that I’ve seen. So I just wanted to make sure that we don’t lose people because the way to use these things is actually through quite a simple language. It’s just that in explaining it, there are quite a few topics that are assumed, or that we assume some kind of understanding how to even get to something that’s trying to encourage people to write four sentences.

3. Brand Problem

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. So, since we have an overview of the framework and its components, now let’s talk about each part in more detail. And perhaps you can give us some examples so that we can understand the concept behind it right. I think the framework is pretty straightforward. You know, it may seem complicated, but it gives a lot of examples in your book. So let’s talk about the problem first, right? So we started with the problem, as you said, is a human problem behind a business problem. So the business problem could be suffering like, for example, you give this example with New York Knicks, the New York Knicks, right? And the business problem is that ticket sales are down, so does the business issue. And now, the human problem behind that issue is that fans are hate supporting the team. So they’re angry. So they basically don’t want to come, they don’t want to buy tickets and come to watch them because they never win. So can you talk a bit more about that?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah. So again, the four points, it also assumes not only a general understanding of some of the basic concepts of marketing and advertising, but it also assumes on a given project that you’re able to talk about, and identify a business issue, simple business issue, right. So for the New York Knicks example, the business issue there is that season ticket sales are down. And this is hypothetical, it’s just made up and it’s a bit of a joke. And then you need to think about the audience. Well, who would we sell season tickets to who’s most likely to buy season tickets and or what kind of customer might have the longest lifetime value? So there has to be some kind of thinking and research there to identify who to chase. In the example that I like to use, I call out this audience of people that I will call the holdouts that people who love New York, they love the New York Knicks, but New York and the New York Knicks. Well, the New York Knicks has a reputation for not doing very well for a very long time. And the owner seems to be only interested in money. And it’s almost as if we see this in a few different sports, but it’s almost as if the sports team is trying to become successfully independent, as in, they’ll make money even if they’re not successful on the court, which you can’t do in all sports in all markets like you need to be successful to have people to turn up in some places, and hadn’t on New York might be a bit different. So before we even get to the four points itself there’s a little bit of a wrestle, trying to understand what the business issue is, like this one straightforward, season ticket sales are down. And then there’s an identification of an audience, which we’ll call the holdouts, people who are likely to buy season tickets, they’ve potentially held them before and they just waiting for the next to come well before they spend any money. And I’m not saying that that’s the right audience. It’s just that this is a hypothetical technique or a hypothetical example. And it’s one way to get into it. And so yeah, you do your research, and you talk to people, you look at what people are putting on YouTube, and then you identify this problem as being that the fans and your fans, the holdouts, the New York Knicks, holdouts hate supporting the team, as in this supporting it, but they really resent it. And you see a lot of people talking that people have been talking about how much they love New York and how much they love the Knicks, but also how much they can’t stand watching them for years. So that’s where we start.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Okay, and then you give a lot of different tools to identify those problems, right? So you talk about tools like SWOT analysis, dump a problem, we incompetence high, the problem behind the problem, the five why’s and so on. So what’s yours like? What’s your favorite technique? Can you just give us some tips on how to identify those problems?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, they’re all just trying to get your toys, your Lego your puzzle pieces out onto a table. And then you get to reassemble them in interesting ways. And all of the techniques, trying to get you to think about things you don’t usually think about. So SWOT which looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, is very common and it’s a framework that you’d probably learn in the first week or two of Business School.

It’s trying to get you to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. And then what’s happening in the outside world, it could be an opportunity, or it could be a threat, things that you might have thought about recently, just to make sure that you are thinking beyond your assumptions and the easy things to discuss.

And then there are other techniques like the five whys from Toyota, or the problem behind the problem, one where you’re essentially taking a problem as you see it in a very shallow way. And you’re trying to get to a root cause. And you’re doing that by asking why. So really, ‘why’ is the main technique here. So, you know, if you look at the idea that people are not all these holdouts and not supporting the team or not buying season tickets, you go, Why? Well, they don’t want to spend money in New York. Why? The New York Knicks haven’t been doing well. So, why would that prevent them from buying a ticket? You said they’re loyal, right? Oh, well, they resent the owner. Why? Because he just seems to be about money. So, what’s that got to do with anything? You know? So you continue just having this long back and forth? Question and Answer to try to get to a deeper root cause or to a root cause of the problem. So you’re not just solving a symptom, something that might repeat itself, and when you don’t actually tackle the thing at the heart of the issue.

4. Brand Insights

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. Great, so I think it's a great example, so hopefully, our listeners can understand the concept. So, once we have an idea on about how to identify the problem, and we've tried maybe some different tools, that you go into real details in your book. So the next step would be to show some insights, right? So you use a quote “an insight is an unspoken human shoe that sheds a new light on that problem”, right? So it's all about revelations, confessions, some inner voices that people have in their minds, and secrets. And you talked about the lateral towards here, and about putting together things that usually don't belong together. And you give another example here, for example, I haven't achieved enough to go both. So you're combining achievement and hair loss in one sentence and one insight, so can you talk a bit more about that? What are insights and, and how to draw insights?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, so insights to me, the simplest definition I've heard in advertising work is an insight is an unspoken human truth. And then people have other definitions, but also they might add on to that sentence. And it could be an unspoken human truth that unlocked business growth or something like this, there are sort of more business definitions as well. What I'm really looking for is a sentence that brings topics together in unusual ways that helps me understand the problem in a new way in with new light. And that hits me in the gut, and gives me butterflies and makes me maybe nervous or feel a bit awkward, or giggle or feel like I've heard someone confess something to me. And I think one of the fastest ways for somebody to understand what an insight is, is through their own life experience. And so if you think about something that you've come across a sentence or phrase that you've come across in the past year or two, that's changed how you see the world and potentially, because of that change, you've then changed how you've behaved, you're going to get close to an insight. One of these examples that often comes to mind when I think of insights, is through a gentleman called Elounda bottom philosophy, psychology, all these fields are very, very good for trying to understand this on a personal level. And I think it's powerful to understand it on a personal level before you understand it on a business level. But there's a philosopher and writer over in the UK called Elounda Bottom. And he wrote something about how romanticism ruin marriage. And he talks about how that we've created this idealistic issue, but dynamic when we look at marriage, about how we're supposed to commit to one person for life, we're supposed to solve all our needs through that one person, and it's just not realistic. And so the sentence there is romanticism. It's something like this ‘romanticism has ruined marriage’, you've got romanticism and the idea of ruining marriage, these two topics coming together in a way that might help you see the world in a new way and see yourself in a new way. And then when an insight does to me, is it helps you or pushes you to change how you live, you reorganize your life, because of an insight. And so that might mean that you put less pressure on In your marriage, for example, or you stop trying to solve all your emotional, psychological, social, physical, whatever it is needs through one person. So that's an example of what an insight might mean outside of a brief. But for the New York Knicks in that example, I'm looking at the words, hate supporting, I'm thinking about anger and how people love the team, but they really don't like supporting it. They don't want to give the money. And so the insight that I've written for that, and I don't think it's mind blowing, but often I like to share work as I'm doing it just to be like, here's where I'm at with it. What do you think, but there's an insight there that, you know, there's definitely a trait in New York, that you put up with it until you snap. And so that there's a tension and the connection between the problem statement and the insight, and you're hoping that people would see themselves in the inside. Because if it leads to some kind of advertising campaign, you're hoping that the insight travels into the work, it's not just in a framework and on a credit riff.

(Now, we are going to take a quick break here but we will be right back. Listen! My mission is to help people design iconic brands; so whether you're a business leader who wants to be more intentional with branding and all of its aspects, or you are a creative who wants to attract powerful clients and truly be able to help them with branding, then you need to start with a discovery session and then develop a strategy that will inform all your creative work. And everything you need to learn how to do that, you can find in my online courses at ebaqdesign.com/shop; where I share with you my worksheets, case studies, video tutorials and other additional resources to help you feel safe and strong about your process. And now let's get back to our conversation with Mark Pollard.)

5. Brand Advantage

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right, so people can see human, they can see themselves in the grant. Okay, so the next step would be an advantage. And so here, we want to express what makes us better than other products or services, right? So basically, we take this the problem and the inside, and we develop some think about what’s the advantage to our buyers. So what’s unique and motivating about that product or service in the audience’s mind, so, what we can do is we can interview people and ask them, why did you buy it? How do you use it? What’s best about this product or service? So the example for the New York Knicks is the New York Knicks are designed to make people angry. So that’s the advantage. So can you just talk any game also, again, you know, there is a lot of tools in the book, like the pyramid of advantage, the benefits ladder, the product world, the decision funnel, path to purchase reason to believe some give a lot of tools, and techniques on how to find that advantage? But can you just give us an overview, and perhaps some tips on how to find out an advantage?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, again, it’s really important to point out what you pointed out that you’re trying to do this through the audience or the customer slash consumers' minds. And what this is trying to push for, because there’s nothing necessarily novel about the four points I’m not claiming it is. It’s just how I like to work. And I enjoy it. And it’s helped me get where I need to go and fight through all the noise and the jargon and the bureaucracy. But the advantage is really just it’s a sentence that summarizes an argument for the key features and functions of a product or a brand. And that makes sense to the customer based on what they are usually drawn to. So if I can get out of the New York Knicks, I’ve never actually done this with the marriage example. But let’s see; let’s say your business issue is that you’re not happy in your marriage. Let’s say that’s the business issue, the audience is you; potentially the other person or the couple, but let’s say it’s you and you’re unhappy in your marriage. And you state the problem, as my marriage isn’t meeting all my needs. And then you probably dig into that, you know, I think the way they use the four points, I would push a little deeper. Why isn’t it meeting your needs and what’s going on there and we push that around for a while? But then the advantage could be when we look at the world needs, I don’t know what the actual advantage statement would be. And it’s funny when I do this stuff on the fly because I don’t know what’s going to come out, which is why I’m talking right now by myself at time. But, but essentially what that strategy could try to get to the advantage is to talk about marriage in a slightly different way meeting needs that you need met but not all your needs. As I said, it’s a bit risky to do this stuff on the fly, but it’s one sentence that summarizes the features that make the most sense, and that is the most compelling to the audience, which could be yourself if you’re using the four points on yourself and what’s going on in your head or it could be The next example the holdout. So the New York Knicks are designed to make people angry, why? The tickets are expensive. It seems like you need to be a celebrity or a wall street to get near the core, they never look like they’re trying to win. The coaches are not being successful. They’ve traded players like Jeremy Lin that we’ve loved. There have been arguments and fights between former players. And the owner, there was a guy went viral on Twitter about a year and a half ago, former player yelling at the owner because a lot of people want the owner to sell it. But these little points, sort of support points for the argument that the New York Knicks are designed to make people angry. And this is a joke example. So it would be silly to take the next example seriously, but that’s how you would use the advantage.

6. Brand Strategy

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right, okay, so once we had that, so the next step and the last step is the strategy, which is basically a strategy statement, right? So you combine the inside will the advantage to create a plan on how to solve that problem. So now, there are many misconceptions about what strategy is and what is not. In your book, you say; “strategy is an informed opinion on how to win” some people think of strategy as something like our strategy is to launch more products on Amazon or create more videos or appear on trade shows. But these are tactics, not strategy, right? And strategy precedes tactics. So tactics make starts to happen. And that’s what you talk about in your book. And I so can you speak to that? And perhaps give us some examples? What strategies and what is not?

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, so the strategy is an informed opinion about how to win. The only thing controversial there is that meeting, that’s an opinion. You know what I feel like a lot of people grandstand with their strategy documents, and they’re 100 slides, here’s our strategy, we are capable of predicting the future, we’re not just guessing. But it’s really bringing the idea of information and opinion together. A strategy is an argument about what needs to happen. And that means that when you lay it down in a sentence or so because a strategy is sometimes used that that those two words are strategy or that strategy for me, it typically means What’s the idea in a sentence, that’s going to solve the problem based on understanding the business issue and the product, and the audience and the competition, but there’s some kind of organizing idea in the strategy. Now, for others, the strategy means 100 slides of a plan that we’re going to do so the strategy could mean an organizing idea that leads to all the actions and tasks and tactics. But for some people, that actually means the strategic plan. And so it’s really it’s kind of confusing, just to talk about the word strategy. The New York Knicks example will show that the New York Knicks have the best anger management in town. The word best is weak. But we’re bringing the New York Knicks and anger management together. For those of you who are familiar with writing creative briefs, what I like about having a strategy statement like that, on a creative brief, is it’s not trying to be a slogan, it’s not trying to do the work of the creative department. When you work with a creative department, and if you do, you have to work out how to work with them, which might mean that you need to recalibrate what you do. So for some creative departments, the idea of what I’ve just said the New York Knicks are the best at anger management in town. That might be “too much” of an idea. Usually, we would then go to some kind of on a credit brief a key message, or a single-minded proposition. And I’m just boiling that down to a handful of words that I would expect to the advertising campaign or the creative work to honor as best as possible. And if they come up with ideas that are way better than the brief, that’s fine, but it’s a stake in the ground is creative brief, and it’s trying to help us be more effective and also work in more efficient allies, those two things together. And so I would take the idea of anger and I would as a writer, I play with it well, okay. Is there a kind of anger that the New York Knicks are involved with? Well, there’s definitely a kind of New York anger. We know that. Okay, so anger, New York anger, the New York Knicks, do something to New York anger. We think of verbs and we try to find a strong verb. And so the verb cure comes to mind. Now, this is a joke strategy, but I couldn’t see a campaign and a whole bunch of work that can come off the idea that the New York Knicks Cuba, New York anger, and what that strategy would try to do is to say; hey, look, we know we make you angry. So let’s embrace it down to a game, scream your lungs out, we’ll make you even like angry I will behave like a pantomime and I’ll see you will come out and say well, these mean things about loving money and hating winning, and you just get anger, angry, angry, angry, angry, angry, you get it out of your system and then go home. So that’s where that’s trying to go.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Yeah, it totally makes sense. I can imagine that. So hopefully our listeners can relate to that too. So as I said, so in this example, there are different ways to write down that strategy statement. And one of those shows that x is y, as in this example, right, so that New York Knicks are the best anger management in town. And, again here you talk about different tools like USP unique selling proposition, brand essence. So Brand essence for that example; would be the New York anger management or purpose statement to exist to help New York deal with anger issues, right. And you also talk in this part of your book that you give examples of wrong statements or something like, using too many adjectives like delicious nutritious or something, right. So you just make a point here that you should rather focus on using nouns like anger, in this example. And verbs like cure, rather than just object. This is, as you said, trying to make it like a tagline like, delicious, nutritious, right?

Mark Pollard:
Because typically, you work with the creative department, if you’re in an advertising agency, I mean, at some point, and I’m assuming the context of advertising, at some point, your strategy’s going to reach a copywriter and an art director and they need a word or two to work with. That’s it, you know, and it could be, maybe it’s more than that. And maybe you have to justify it with many, many, many words, but it’s typically a word or two, will lead to the campaign idea and the “execution”. And so what this series of techniques is trying to do is to encourage a thread throughout the thinking problem inside of anti-strategy, four sentences there, we want some kind of thread, some kind of theme, that would then go into a single minor proposition that would then go into an idea. So the New York Knicks example, the quick idea is shouted out, that’s what we’re going to call the campaign, not saying it’s good, but that’s what we’re going to call it. And the idea in a sentence is we’re going to take basketball to the angriest street corners of New York and see if we can make them less angry through basketball, that’s what that idea is, then we get into what the TV ad might be. But there could be a tactic where, for example, we take the faces of the players; we blow them up really big. And whoever you’re most angry at, you can throw the ball at them. And in a perfect world, maybe that player doesn’t get to play the following weekend, or in the following game. But the point is that within I don’t know how many sentences that were; seven or eight sentences, we’ve got a thread going through it. And by having a thread, we can honor the work that we do and ensure that what comes after the strategy is actually connected to the strategy. And also it can work in a more efficient way. Where if you’re going to a meeting, and you’re presenting 50 different slides of things you could do with no idea and the client says I don’t like that or don’t get it. And you don’t just go back to the office and come up with another 50 slides of stuff you like to hang on, or what don’t you like about it? You like the strategy, right? You like the insight, right? Okay, great. So we’ll just focus on that particular situation, you probably need a campaign idea there wasn’t that stake in the ground. So there’s something about this that is not a pure methodology. And even the word methodology is a bit heavy for me. But it’s not to be a purist about any of this, it’s just to say that having a thread and have a theme is can push us to better and clearer and more provocative thinking and better ways of working with each other.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right. So, some of my takeaways, some of the conclusions, strategies are shown in search of meaning. When you do strategy, you make meaning from mess. But to seek meaning is to question meaning, and talk a lot about meaning in the first part of your book. So you need to get clarity on that meaning and aim to do so in short series of simple words, as you said, right? It shouldn’t be hundreds of slides in to get this down to in to be very good at words. And that’s basically the premise of your book. To get good at strategy, you must get good at words first. So, inside the book all that matters, and that’s basically the title of your book, Strategy Is Your Words. So, as we are approaching the end of our episode, please let us know how can find more about you and what you do, and how to get in touch with you either for designers who want to learn more about your work or people who want to work with you. So, I will include all those links in the description.

Mark Pollard:
Yeah, where people can find the book, I have 100 strategy classes up on sweathead.com. And you can follow me at Mark Pollard on Twitter and Instagram and I post little techniques and quotes from interviews that I do in those places as well. I’m pretty out there. And I think for people who are in the design space, they can be the sense that you’re the designer is the strategist and that they’ve got the techniques. And they often do, I just think it’s nice to explore different techniques and to see the strategy in a slightly different way where the kind of strategy that I advocate for is a strategy that’s riddled with ideas, riddled with lateral thoughts, bringing things together in unexpected in a novel and useful ways based on enjoying a lot of the thinking of a well-known writer, Edward de Bono, who made popular the idea of lateral thinking a long time ago, probably 50 years ago. And so I think the main shift with designers into the kind of work that I like to do is to embrace more of an organizing idea and more of lateral thought and unexpected lateral for as organizing ideas, most good designers, they are looking at the world and what’s going on and trying to understand how people are using things to try to improve the experience of those things. It’s just that sometimes that kind of thinking and I spend about 10 years around user experience and making websites but sometimes that kind of thinking is relatively linear and literal. But that’s good. What I advocate for, though, is just adding a little bit more of the, I guess, absurd or unexpected into the mix and providing practical tools to help someone explore that.

Arek Dvornechuck:
Right, great, awesome! Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate that.

Mark Pollard:
Pleasure, thank you for having me Arek.

Arek Dvornechuck:
So, this is it for today’s episode, and make sure to go and check out Mark’s website and follow him on social media. And you can find all the links on this episode’s page at ebaqdesign.com/podcast/15. So, thanks for tuning in, and if you enjoyed this episode please subscribe to my podcast for more tips on branding, strategy and design. This was Arek Dvornechuck from Ebaqdesign.

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