Strategic thinking with blog posts and stickers
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The creative team I used to be part of at GDS pioneered the blogging-and-stickers approach to creative strategic thinking.

The idea is basically this: you think out loud, on your blog, over a long period of time. At least months. Probably years. Each new post is about one thing, and tells a single story of its own, but also adds to the longer narrative. Each new post helps you tell that longer, deeper story, and becomes another linkable part of the timeline.

Your stickers (and posters, and other meme-ish sorts of things) become simple ways of reinforcing and illustrating the thinking you’re doing in the blog posts.

Over time, you build up a corporate train of thought. You work out what you’re doing, and why and how you’re doing it, by constantly writing about all of those things. You end up making your strategic direction clearer to your readers, and perhaps more importantly, to yourself.

Growing, not planning

This isn’t the kind of comms that you plan in advance on a grid.

You don’t sit down at the start and say “Next June we’ll have a blog post about xyz, and by November we’ll have a sticker that says abc.” Instead, you let the narrative grow as it needs to.

That means letting the work dictate the comms. Only say things when you have something to say. Don’t be afraid of not saying anything for a while (that’s a good sign that you’re busy working, and you’ll have something to say later.)

It means blogging frequently, about big things and small things, and not over-thinking and over-editing each post. You won’t be judged on the merits or mistakes of a single post, you’ll be judged on how all your posts link up and make sense over time.

It means not planning your stickers, but waiting for the moment in a meeting where somebody says something that’s simultaneously profound, meaningful, and funny. Where someone says “That should be on a sticker,” and everyone nods. Don’t treat those moments as light-hearted relief, treat them as moments of insight. Actually capture them with a sticker. You’ll know the good sticker ideas when you see the nods and the smiles that come with them.

You don’t have to do it this way

All of this is a way of thinking about communication. You don’t have to write blog posts, you don’t have to make stickers.

The important bit is that you communicate what’s on your organisational mind. Do so frequently, in small chunks. In most cases, what you have to say will be far too much to say in one document.

If you don’t write blog posts, write a newsletter, or make a magazine, or cook a meal and serve it up to the people you want to communicate with. If you don’t make stickers and posters, make gifs or video clips or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Be creative. Creative communication is what people pay most attention to.

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7 Mar 2018