Agenda - Thursday, October 11

Details subject to change. Please check back for updates as speakers & sessions are being added regularly.

8:00AM – 9:00AM
Breakfast and Registration

9:00AM – 9:15AM
Welcome Back

Ed Cotton, Chief Strategy Officer, BSSP and Chair, 4A's Strategy Committee
Gi-Gi Downs, Head of Planning, Edelman New York

9:15AM – 9:45AM
Can Brands Create Common Ground in a Divided World?

Maya Angelou said, “but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” In such a divided national climate, this gives us hope – and in a business largely built on the identifying and empowerment of community, this could give us new creative and strategic purpose. Grey New York’s proprietary study, titled The Famously Effective Business of Togetherness, examines U.S. consumer perspectives on the perceived state of national division, and provides a road map to brands that are – intentionally or incidentally – looking to find their place in public discussion around how to bring people together. In this presentation, we will examine what togetherness means to modern consumers now, in culture and communications, and how brands might play a role in togetherness. Do brands have a role in whether the bubbles of division be popped? How do people reward brands who bring them together? What is the business imperative for understanding togetherness and how it affects your brand? While there’s no one-size-fits-all solutions for marketers – given that 88 percent of people agree that “we must unite and come together,” there is a cultural opportunity to provide meaningful support.

Suresh Nair, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Grey New York

9:45AM – 10:00AM
Jay Chiat Award Winning Case Study: COnnection Strategy

10:00AM – 10:30AM
The Future of Planning 2030

What the strategic planning field will look like in the year 2030, and how to prepare and pivot to remain relevant so you are not replaced by an AI Planner.

Sarah DaVanzo, Chief Curiosity Officer – Innovation | Insights | Foresight, L'Oreal Group

10:30AM – 11:00AM

11:00AM – 12:30PM
Choice Workshops

Magical Instinct: Going Beyond Logic and Reason for Insight

Strategic Planning has always prided itself on logic, reason and objectivity. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not all that there is! If our strategies limit themselves to known causes and known effects, what hope is there for discovering something new, surprising and unexpected. If our brand aspirations limit themselves to what we know how to do, or what has been done before, then what hope is there for genuine originality.

This workshop opens the door to strategic methods and tools that embrace non-linear, irrational, and sometimes unexplainable, modes of thought. It offers a counterpoint to our current fetish for accountable and objective models for brand building.

What will you get out of the workshop?

  • A point of view on creativity and ‘brand-building’ that is not born of reason, logic, cause and effect.

  • Learn to use the Nockwood Cards (Brand Tarot) a practical tool for unlocking your intuitive knowledge of brands – getting you on a strategic path in less than 15 minutes.

  • Learn a new framework for brands that goes beyond the convention of ‘image’ and ‘perception’. A model that accommodates both tangible and in-tangible experience.

  • Finally, learn how the Nockwood Cards can be used for personal self-reflection and ‘pre-meditation’ (kicking you out of ‘default habits’ so you are free to imagine alternative futures for yourself).

The first 30 people who attend this workshop will receive a limited-edition deck of the Nockwood Cards to take away with them.

William Charnock, Creator, Nockwood Behavioral Archtypes


Planning for a Rainy Day: How to Master Your Weather Strategy

Think about how weather makes you feel.  Now, think about how those feelings drive your behavior – what you do, how you plan and what you buy.  What if you could leverage the emotional impact of weather on consumer behavior to help determine what your brand’s customers want, when they want it most to create stronger connections that drive engagement? With a solid weather strategy you can.

In this session join experts from IBM Watson Advertising for an interactive and informative look at:

  • Weather’s impact on emotion and consumer behavior.

  • Leveraging the predictive data assets of weather and location to turn data into actionable insights.

  • How to maximize media efficiency by using weather to target when, where & what to run.

We’ve spent the last 36 years making sense of two of the most powerful data sets out there - weather and location.  Let us show you how weather can drive maximum results for your brand.

Dennis O'Donnell, Offering Manager WEATHERfx, IBM Watson Advertising
Niralee Shah, Director of Client Strategy, IBM Watson Advertising

Smart and Scrappy: The Research Hustle To Making Work That Matters

Is research still relevant? Can’t we get everything online?

Certainly no one is lacking for data these days – there’s more out there than we could ever possibly make sense of in a lifetime, let alone for a deadline. The trouble is, for as much data is out in the world, there’s often a surprising lack of depth and humanity to it all.

When data abounds, it’s worth remembering that facts are not insights. Not to mention that most brands and agencies have access to similar information online. How can anyone create differentiated and noteworthy work without the right materials?

Real insight is the feeling that you’ve uncovered gold, and it gets your heart pumping. It’s this kind of thinking that inspires your planning and creative teams to create bold work that resonates with truth. Using novel (and quick) research approaches can be one of the best ways to get and stay inspired by the very people you intend to talk to as a marketer.

This workshop will help you:

  • Learn how to use a more agile approach to primary research

  • Embrace empathy to get a deeper understanding of your consumer

  • Leverage abductive thinking to get to new ideas

Carrie Patterson Reed, Group Research Director, VML
Amy Winger, Chief Strategy Officer, VML


The Future-Planner’s ToolkiT

A curious compendium of cutting edge and future-proofing planning tools, techniques and tips.

Sarah DaVanzo, Chief Curiosity Officer – Innovation | Insights | Foresight, L'Oreal Group

Additional workshops to be added. Check back regularly for updates.

12:30PM – 1:45PM



12:45PM – 1:45PM

Lunch and Learn

Small Agency Planner ParlEy, a.k.a. Inspiration from the Edge

Our industry is abuzz with the power of agility, creativity and independence. In recognition of the unique challenges—and more importantly, opportunities—being created by small agency planners, this year we are introducing the Planner Parley.

Come join fellow small agency planners and independents for lunch and a facilitated workshop to meet and learn from others like us, and share how we can all better leverage the power in organizations where small is a head count—not a state of mind.

Facilitated by John Roberts, Chief Strategy Officer/Founder, Truth Collective

1:45PM – 2:15PM
Altered States of Planning

How can planners assert more influence over industry, culture and society?  Drawing on time off after her global brand strategy adventures at Mondelez and Microsoft, Eliza Esquivel will share her renewed perspective on brands, planning and the future of the planner’s mind.

Eliza Esquivel, CMP Consultant, Global Marketer

2:15PM – 2:30PM
Jay Chiat Award Winning Case StudY: Global Category


Working in the Business of Transformation

The most valuable role for creative and strategy today is enabling brands to transform. We look at how to plan for transformation, and how to create transformative work at a marketing, experience, and business level.

Tom Morton, US Head of Strategy, R/GA
Rich Ting, EVP, Global Chief Design Officer, R/GA

3:00PM – 3:15PM
Jay Chiat Award Winning Case Study: Regional Strategy

3:14PM – 3:45PM




There is no shortage of opinions on what AI means for the future of marketing. While it’s hard to deny that technology and AI will have a big impact on strategic planning, exactly what it means for the discipline and the human element remains to be seen. Hear multiple perspectives on the role AI is already playing, how the role of planners will be impacted and how to prepare for a future with AI.

Kendra Clarke, Vice President, Data Science and Product Development, sparks & honey
Bethann Cregg, Vice President, Watson Advertising, IBM
Ed DeCaria, Chief Product Officer, Nucleal
Ben Royce, Creative Effectiveness Lead, Google BrandUnit, Google, Lecturer of MS Applied Analytics, Columbia University

Moderator: Charlie Oliver, Founder/CEO, Tech 2025

4:45PM – 4:55PM
Jay Chiat Grand Prix award and Agency of the Year Presentation

Ed Cotton, Chief Strategy Officer, BSSP and Chair, 4A’s Strategy Committee

4:55PM – 5:10PM

Gi-Gi Downs, Head of Planning, Edelman New York
Mollie Rosen, EVP, Agency Relations and Membership, 4A’s