My 2018 To-Do List: David Morrissey, Strategy Director + Head of Communications Planning, Camp + King

By Egotist / /

The only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept was 2016’s, when I resolved to learn how to make the best meatballs. That’s right–meatballs. With a little help from Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cookbook, lots of experimentation with beef and pancetta, and a willingness to ignore my growing waistline, huzzah! Resolution achieved.

Unfortunately, in my experience outside of meatballs, the struggle is real when it comes to committing to New Year’s resolutions. So, I like the idea of creating a “to-do list” for 2018 instead. A to-do list builds toward solutions, not resolutions–simple, actionable things that incrementally better our lives, versus unattainable goals meant to fundamentally change ourselves every January.

Here’s my to-do list for 2018:

• Call mom more often. Self-explanatory, really.

• Leave the country. At least once. Preferably several times, for sanity’s sake and perspective-gaining.

• Don’t let speed stand in the way of open-mindedness. Every year, the pace and expectations of our industry increase. As a strategist, that means creating and “proving” a hypothesis rapidly to offer creative teams clear direction. The pitfall here is presupposing the right strategy–perhaps based on client-provided direction, assumptions about an audience, or previous personal experiences–and then closing one’s self off to alternatives. Evaluating multiple solutions without prejudice quickly leads to better work.

• Ensure that everything Camp + King produces in 2018 is interactive. As Mac Schwerin recently argued in AdWeek, today, the real power of advertising lies in its interactivity with audiences, not simply clever storytelling to audiences. Earning strong impressions, high passive engagement metrics, or even a laugh are of limited value in creating true behavioral change. This year, we’ll will work hard to find new and unusual ways to create interactivity with audiences–and not just in digital.

• Act as general counsel for clients, not as a siloed agency strategist. Last year, WARC surveyed senior strategists globally for its Future of Strategy report. The common theme in the industry? Concern that we’ve grown too fragmented and overly specialized as planners–and I agree. As traditional AOR arrangements disappear, companies further develop in-house creative teams, and non-traditional competitors gain sturdier footing in our space, we can’t allow ourselves to be placed into niche boxes. Doing so doesn’t just limit our individual successes and agency revenues, it limits the value we provide to our clients. In addition to counseling our clients on advertising decisions, I want to help steward brands, design customer experiences, and even influence decision-making around product/service development.

• Try to make every professional task–even the most mundane–a more creative one. When I find myself revising a tactical creative brief for the third or fourth time, it’s easy to lose sight of an opportunity for creativity. This year, I’ll be actively reminding myself: there’s a fresh way to do this! Find it.

• Finally, eat more tacos. I sincerely believe that the world would be a happier place if tacos were prioritized on everyone’s 2018 to-do lists.

Happy New Year. Best of luck with your 2018 to-do list.

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David Morrissey joined Camp + King last fall. He serves as Strategy Director + Head of Communications Planning.