Ad Age assembled some of the smartest marketers in the business at its inaugural CMO Strategy Summit last week in Chicago. The event brought the pages of our CMO Strategy section to life, addressing the big issues facing marketers, from tight budgets to big data to agency relationships. Speakers from innovative brands such as Virgin Mobile, Dollar Shave Club and Ikea shared their secrets to success. The event also marked the launch of The Leadership Collective, a group of industry veterans who, in partnership with Ad Age , are leading professional-development workshops on how to foster and use creative thinking in business. Below are some top takeaways:
Agencies, Challenge Your Clients
Leontyne Green Sykes, CMO at Ikea, noted that some of the strongest agency-client relationships are ones in which agencies challenge a client's "internal thinking," prompting marketers to examine their strategies and make sure they've been taking the best approach.
Think Like a Child
Everyone is inherently creative, said Leadership Collective mastermind and former managing director of VCU BrandCenter Rick Boyko, but true creativity is put on the back burner for many of us, in part because it is educated out of us. Show a child a circle and they'll see just about everything but a circle -- an animal's nose, perhaps -- while most adults just see a circle, added Paul Lavoie, co-founder of Taxi.
Hire a Comedy Troupe
Or at least head down to the local comedy club when you're looking for inspiration. Michael Dubin, founder of Dollar Shave Club, says his eight years studying improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade was formative. "I would encourage you ... to hire some comedy writers. Go down to the local comedy club and bring them into your marketing brainstorm," he said. "I always thought they were missing a big opportunity, which was to start their own agency."