Introducing Quick Study
A new strategic consultancy built for modern marketing
Hi. Hey. Hello. This is the tenth edition of The Other 90, a blog about strategy. If this is your first time, welcome! Feel free to check out the archive.
Let’s start here:
I'll cut to the chase. After over six and a half years, I recently left my role as Executive Director & Head of Strategy at Annex88 to start something new. It's called Quick Study, and it's a modern strategic approach to building brand trust & relevance. My good friend & former managing director of Annex88 Alexa Beck is my co-founder, and as of today we're officially open for business.
I wrote in this space nearly two years ago that good strategists tinker, that they are unafraid to learn by doing, and that the best way to connect with whomever is at the other side of the table is to spend more time in their world. That mentality has served me well for the last dozen years; as someone who was never formally trained as a strategist (or in advertising in general) I've had the pleasure of learning by doing, discovering the methodologies & systems that worked for me and the teams I was on in real time. Being unafraid to tinker has allowed me to push for first-of-their-kind creative innovations, shift the way brands think about their consumers, and even once helped turn a one-slide concept about a talk series for adidas into a Pusha T concert on a floating stage at Art Basel.
The urge to tinker also comes with a healthy dose of skepticism - you don't tend to tinker with things that feel like they are working - and for a long time now I've felt that urge when it comes to the strategic process. Quite simply, a lot of strategy these days seems to be for the sake of strategy: long brand positioning documents that don't have clear actionable takeaways, connections planning that expects consumers to come to the brand and not the other way around, and a reticence to face the fact that every minute lost is a minute that could've been spent building consumer trust. To paraphrase Bill Berndach's infamous 1947 letter to his team at Grey, a lot of strategy today is more about worshiping the ritual than the God.
Alexa has seen similar issues from the perspective of an account operator. From directing global accounts to the last 5 years as an account lead and managing director at Annex88, she's seen first hand the over-reliance on fancy terms and indecipherable double-speak that dehumanizes agencies for the sake of selling a sheen of professionalism. Her compassionate approach to account management has helped organically grow business and create true relationships with clients that are equally tired of the status quo. And it’s that style of partnership, coupled with a deep understanding of a client’s business & organizational needs, that have emboldened her and her teams to fight for brave work, tell clients their systems are broken & co-create new ones, and stoke the collective fire when mediocrity creeps in to dampen it.
At a time when brand loyalty and trust are lower than ever, we believe relevance is the lynchpin of the modern marketing flywheel. Studies show that brands consumers feel are relevant perform 24% better than others, yet only 11% of Americans feel represented in the advertising they see. When asked what key attributes lead to trust, consumers say they are looking for honesty, quality, authenticity, clarity, and consistency. Four of those are more about how you tell your story than your product itself! If you can create sustained relevance by focusing on authenticity, clarity and consistency, you can build trust, which ultimately leads to sales and growth. At the same time, quality in your product and reaching more people with it will create more relevance, continuing the flywheel and creating a cycle of ongoing relevance, trust, and impact.
So what’s holding people back from focusing on relevance? Some strategy models are singularly charged with planning for one campaign with no thought on how to create a system of relevance. Other models are just too long - half-year processes that land on a bunch of insights that still need to be translated into briefs and end up outdated by the time they can be activated. And even more strategies mistake a media buy for actual relevance - trading relationship building with ad frequency for a quick hit of success.
Quick Study is designed to be your shortcut to relevance, trust, and results. We believe a healthy mix of expertise, precision, speed, & humanity will give clients the action plan they are looking for at a pace that enables growth.
To that end, our offering is a four week sprint. Each week has a theme and a planned deliverable that will identify, focus, and shape the right story for a brand/product/offering, at the right times, & in the right places. Our team will be 100% dedicated for the four weeks of the project, acting as an embedded braintrust with several collaborative moments built into the process along the way. We’re also including a series of quick consults post-project to help ensure our work is being actioned effectively.
At the end of the month, clients will leave us with a more precise understanding of who they're talking to and the challenges they face in reaching them, a clear framework for what it takes to be relevant in the subcultures that matter, and an action plan that includes completed briefs and thought starters so that they can start making work immediately. We believe our speed-to-plan will enable their speed-to-action.
So if you're...
A heritage brand that needs to show up in a fresh way
Launching a new brand, product, platform, or partnership and need a roadmap to success
A newly prioritized portfolio brand that wants to jumpstart the annual planning process
A startup that’s ready to make its first push into culture
Just curious to hear more about what we're thinking
...let's definitely chat.
Quick Study is open for business, because every minute you aren't taking action is a minute you're losing ground. Let's make those minutes count.
The Other 90 is written by Rob Engelsman, a former baby model and now Co-Founder & Strategy Partner at Quick Study. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, & LinkedIn. You can also email him at email@example.com.
Sources: GlobalWebIndex, 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, Kearney Consumer Institute, 2022 Prophet Brand Relevance Index