Every year I spend a day with the strategists at the eat:Strategy conference in Toronto.

What strategists say and how they treat each other is interesting and predictive.

  • I heard five different definitions of insight
  • I heard three different definitions of strategy
  • I heard three different definitions of brand

It’s interesting because there’s discord, and that it persists.

The web analysts reading this post should click this link. Yeah baby.

  • 5 out of the 8 presentations contained web analytics results as proof points that a strategy worked. 
  • 6 out of the 8 mentioned the importance of business objectives and customer needs/wants. 
  • The term ‘ROI’ was said with contempt by 2 out of the 8 speakers. 

Interesting. Maybe a little bit of frustration starting to set in during the early-measured era?


Strategy is about choice amongst alternatives. It became really obvious, especially thanks to a presentation by Mark Pollard, that strategists themselves make strategic choices in how they architect their cultures. These have important consequences and, potentially, differentiating benefits because of those choices.

A creative agency, in particular, is hired for its ability to generate novel ideas. It becomes more expensive over time to generate those ideas reliably and consistently. Who knows where the magic comes from and it might disappear at any time (!). Achieving reliability through culture is, potentially, strategic. There are a lot of choices there that usually causes strategists to exit by the age of 35.

That’s where they’re at.

A huge thank you to Duane Brown for putting on a great conference.


I’m Christopher Berry.
Follow me @cjpberry
I blog at christopherberry.ca