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February 14, 2018

82: Adam Pierno finds his second act in the world of strategy

This week on “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with Adam Pierno, chief strategy officer at Santy and the author of “Under Think It.” Pierno is a living, breathing example of invention and reinvention. He started on the creative side of advertising — where he was an art director and, ultimately, a creative director — before making the leap to strategy. And, when faced with a paucity of solid, comprehensive training materials for his strategy team at Santy, he wrote a book to fill the void.

In discussing his approach with the book, Pierno talks about his decision to steer away from what he calls the “jargonization of strategy” in an effort to communicate ideas powerfully and effectively. “Don’t use jargon. Use little words,” Pierno says. “People can get their heads around them. People can pick them up and do something else with them on their own…it sets people free. And that’s really what ‘Under Think It’ is all about, is how to give people your idea in a way that they can do something with it.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Pierno’s path from creative to strategy: A little bit of luck and a little bit of weird left turns. ([1:20])
  • Pierno discusses the inspiration for his book, the ground it covers, and the research behind it. ([5:35])
  • PowerPoint as a strategy tool: It doesn’t work; you have to give people something they can use. ([18:47])
  • Beware the silos: Strategy is best when it’s woven through the fabric of an agency. ([21:16])
  • How strategists should think about media. ([24:20])
  • A tip for strategists: Express your hidden artist. ([27:35])
  • For Pierno, seeing his dad change jobs — and thrive — made him realize that there are second acts in life. ([28:49])
  • Pierno: “Brand awareness is going to make a big comeback.” ([33:38])

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