jason oke

If you’re not in awe, you’re not paying attention.

Toronto planning event

The gorgeous new AGO

The gorgeous new AGO - image via wvs

I’m very excited to share some details about an upcoming event for Toronto’s strategic planning community.

First, some background. The idea for this came out of discussions I and a few other planners and strategy types have been having over the last 6 months. We realized a few things:

  1. There are thriving planning communities in other markets, such as the APG in the UK, and lots of sharing and discussion in the blogosphere, but in Canada and specifically Toronto there’s no sense of local community at all.
  2. Because of this, while other marketing communities (creative, clients) have events targeted to their interests and needs, the strategic planning community doesn’t have anything of its own.
  3. Most importantly, the strategy community has increasingly become a fractured field, with lots of different disciplines (account planning, communications planning, engagement planning, user experience planning, etc) across different types of companies (traditional/media/digital/design agencies, clients, market researchers, etc) – but there’s not much interaction or cross-pollination between these groups. But we’re all doing similar things, and increasingly the client challenges we all face require learning about each others’ skills and toolsets.
  4. And despite our lack of community, there’s still some amazing, world-class strategic thinkers and thinking going on here, and it’s time to celebrate that fact more.

So this is an attempt to foster more of a community around marketing strategy in Toronto (and Canada). We’re starting with an event, and if it’s a success, we hope to make it a regular thing.


Thursday April 9, 2009 – 2-6pm

The Art Gallery of Ontario – Jackman Hall

The event has a pretty amazing list of speakers, including the lovely and talented Mark Earls, all the way over from London; and some of Canada’s leading lights including Sean Howard, Matt Milan, Michael Anton Dila, and Laurence Bernstein. And, to bring down the average, I’ll be chairing the afternoon’s proceedings.

In addition to the speakers, the event will include some food & drink and lots of opportunities to socialize and meet new people.

Details for the event and ticket registration information can be found by clicking the big orange button above, or here.

Hope to see you there.

Filed under: Canada, planning

AAAA planning conference goodness

So the big AAAA planning conference is coming up in a month. And a couple of good things are shaping up.

The first thing is if you’re a junior or intermediate planner with under 5 years experience, Planning For Good (which you can read more about here) is conducting a workshop on the Sunday before the conference starts.

You’ll get to work on actual briefs from two amazing organizations: Kiva.org (the microlender) and Witness (the human rights organization).  You’ll be assigned into teams and competing to develop the best insights, strategies, and solutions to a challenge they set out. Each team will be mentored by a leading planning director from the industry. After a day of working, you’ll present back to a panel that includes the PFG committee and the marketing directors of these two organizations. This all happens on Sunday, so you won’t miss any of the conference. The work with be showcased and presented during the conference and at a PFG event on the Tuesday evening of the conference. 

To participate, sign up for “Real Time Crafting” workshop when you send in your conference application and fees. Also note which cause you wish to work on (Kiva or Witness).

The second thing is the Minneapolis planning crew of Paul Isakson and Kelly Thompson have created a Facebook group for people who are attending the conference so we can make plans and connect beforehand. It will also be a place to discuss the conference as it goes, recap afterwards, and most importantly gossip about who had the best ironic t-shirts, designer sneakers, and funky eyewear (aaahhhh, planner fashion).

Additionally, they’ve proposed a cocktail gathering on Tuesday night at Shore Club’s Skybar for people to hang out and unwind on the last night of the conference. This may also turn into the PFG event. The details and RSVP can be found here.

Looking forward to seeing anyone that’s attending…

Filed under: planning, planning for good

Brand Tags

Noah has built an addictive little app – BrandTags.

It’s a way of mapping all the things brands stand for in people’s minds. It shows you a brand and prompts you to enter the first word that pops into your head. Simple and addictive – he launched it on Friday and there are already 40,000 80,000 200,000 (UPDATE: up to one million) responses.

Reminds me a bit of David‘s project Brand vs Brand – also a lot of fun to play with.

Filed under: brands, planning, Web/Tech

Depeche planning

This coming Monday April 28th, join the worldwide Planning for Good breatheren for a really cool experiment. Recently, a topic of much discussion has been fast strategy: given today a brand’s speed to market and speed of reaction to events is a big advantage, the need for strategists to be able to generate good ideas faster, with fewer resources, has become a key part of the job. Richard, in typical fashion, has a call to arms on the subject.

On Monday, the UK’s main advertising body, the IPA, is holding a conference on fast strategy. And as part of that, they’re having a live strategy bake-off with some of the UK’s biggest names competing. The contestants will be briefed and given a couple of hours to generate a strategy against a difficult UK government public service brief. PFG’s own lovely and talented Mark Earls is one of the participants. And he’d like to call on the assembled global PFG masses to help. Mark will post the brief online and over the course of 2 hours, we can all help in generating a solution.

The catch is this all happens on London time, so in some parts of the world that may mean getting up early or staying up late.  The brief will be posted at 10am London time (that’s 5am EST, 4am CST, and 2am PST in North America), and responses need to be in 2 hours later by 12pm London time. 

You must be a member of PFG to particpate so if you haven’t already, join up here

If you’re interested in joining Mark’s global planning army, shoot me an email – my address is under the “contact me” tab at the top of the page. And if you want more details on the IPA event, Ed Cotton has a full write up over at Influx.

This should be really fun.

Filed under: planning, planning for good

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