This month, TBWA released an 85-page report set to help Kiwi businesses plan and decide where next and what next following the uncertainty that Covid-19 has created. Here, we speak to Matt Kingston, head of planning about how they recommend the report is used practically, and why TBWA decided against keeping the report in-house.
The report titled Navigating Uncertainty is a stellar 85-pages of businesses strategy, one which carefully looks into the eight emerging Kiwi values that TBWA has identified.
The New Zealand report was based on a report from Oceania head of planning Matt Springate and re-created by TBWA NZ Head of Planning Matt Kingston.
The report explores eight emerging values, which include collective compassion, creative resilience, elevated homebodies, solo social and satire survival. For each emerging value, the report offers examples and provocations around how this might impact a consumers’ relationship with businesses and brands.
Alongside the emerging values, the report dives into local and international examples of how these have been used, as well as the best ways to implement and understand each value.
Speaking with Matt Kingston, head of planning of TBWA, he says the need for this report came from wanting to provide a more practical and constructive framework for client conversations.
“So that was the background question, how do we craft something that feels locally right and relevant as well as something that feels practical and constructive and helps us think about what next?”
The report is based on TBWA’s nine core values and altered to fit the change in the landscape that has happened over the last month.
Kingston says the report should be used as a practical stimulus and recommends it be used across stages of planning in all businesses, from briefs to client presentations.
“What I find useful is having the document open for whenever I might need it. It’s there to help people think in different and lateral ways that are completely tied to the context we’re in.”
He reiterates that although the report is thorough and can be used at multiple stages, it is not a crystal ball, and businesses should still apply their own critical thinking.
“We simply cannot guess what is going to happen, and we would be the absolute first to admit that. But I think if we were to sit and wait for perfect information, we would never make a decision. We’re in an environment now where we need to make good decisions and we need to make them quickly. Our view is that no single source of information can give you the answer, but there are loads of clues.”
He emphasises that the report holds a big clue to how we will recover from this as a nation and as a community.
“History will give us some clues on how things have played out in the past, markets that are ahead of us will give us clues on how things might return to normal. And looking in the mirror will give us some other clues. That’s what we’re emphasizing with this report, how well do we know ourselves as Kiwis, and how as Kiwis have we responded to difficult moments in the past.”
One of TBWA’s core values is generosity, which is the reason that the agency decided to end this report out publicly, rather than use it to give only their clients a leg up.
“We made the call that this wasn’t something we were just going to present to our clients, this was something we wanted to just put out into the world.
“That was a very deliberate decision as you can imagine, but I think in the spirit and something that is part of our values, generosity is one of our core values as a local agency. The decision made itself. It’s times like this where we have seen the generosity of other agencies and organizations include the community at large. We just thought it was the right and decent thing to do, to let it out into the world and let people read and take from it what would help them the most.”
He says that both compliments and criticism of the report are encouraged, as practically looking and either connecting or not with the report was the whole reason for its creation.
“It’s been wonderful to hear about people using the report so far. It’s nice to see that is has been of help to some…The thing that has been most encouraging is the practical way in which people are talking about it which is its purpose.
“If there is there is a chart, a principal, or even just a piece of language that helps people think about a brief or challenge in front of them, and helps them to think about it in a more imaginative and constructive way, that’s a job well done for us.”