Julian Cole is just back from a year-long sabbatical from strategy. He spent the time traveling around the world with his fiancé, exploring different cultures and thinking about what he wants to do next. The answer will excite you.

You can join Julian, Nayantara Dutta and friend of the show, Mark Pollard at an intensive strategy class – The Strategy Super Sizer Megaclass – details here.

Dig thinking about strategy? You might like my book, Specific. Got a book you’d like me to read? Send it my way.

Listen here: https://specific.substack.com/p/julian-cole-is-looking-for-the-answers-d9e?r=n6j6&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

Transcript: Adam Pierno  0:00 

Alright, welcome back to another episode but before we get started, I want to tell you about something really cool happening if you are in New York City. Today’s guest is Julian Cole and he and another friend of mine Mark Pollard are going to be putting on a very special jam packed class to help mid career strategist, everything you need to know. It’s called the strategy Super Sizer mega class. These are two smart people who have seen and done a lot in strategy in in creative. So if you’re in New York City, they’ve added a second date. The first one was June 14 on a Friday that might be sold out. But Monday, June 17. to New York, they’ve added a second date. You can go to the show notes or go to Bit.ly/strategySuperSizer to find the link and register I encourage you to get in on this class is going to be amazing. Now on with the show

Alright, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything. This one is taking us around the world and back. I think that we would say in 90 days, but I think it was longer than 90 days. Julian Cole has gone on his strategy sabbatical and he’s finally returned. He’s back in the world, although it’s not like you went to another planet. Julian, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

Julian Cole  1:48 

Thanks. Good to be back.

Adam Pierno  1:50 

And what part of the world are you in now?

Julian Cole  1:52 

I mean, Los Angeles.

Adam Pierno  1:55 

Beautiful, beautiful sunny LA and give me a give the listener who do not know you a sense of where you’ve been and who you were before your sabbatical? Just kind of a career week?

Julian Cole  2:06 

Yeah, for sure. So, from the accent, you can probably tell them Australian started my career in Australia, a number of kind of creative agencies and an agency those kind of caught instrumental in who I am now called Naked communications who were communications planning agency, who set above kind of like media and creative and came up with their kind of comms plan before the idea. I then moved to the States about eight years ago, when I joined BBH, New York as kind of a digital strategy director, kind of slash that, and then went on to become the head of comms planning. They’re becoming more of not just in the digital channels, but thinking about the whole media environment and how we bring that into the creative process and that was on the back of winning the PlayStation account. So was comms planning across that for the launch of the PlayStation four. And then I went on to be the head of comms planning at BBDO to New York, which was a bigger agency going from like 100 people to 800, where I ran the comms planning department there. And that took, you know, taking the discipline to all of the accounts and building the team from four people to 17 people, and then also winning a number of integrated awards. We won the Webby digital agency of the two years running. We also won more integrated awards, and during the time there than actual like traditional con lines. And so I’d done that. My fiance and I had We’re struggling financially with withdrawn to travel. I think it’s every Australians just getting out of the country and seeing as much of the world as possible. So we decided that we wanted to take a year off or big chunk of time traveling. So a couple of years ago, we kind of planned for when that would be, and that just so happened to be last year. So actually finished a little earlier than her. So I ended up traveling for about 14 months I did a month in an agency in Paris, called Darwin, where they took me in and I was kind of working on a couple of side projects there. And then we started out kind of trip a year off and we started in Jordan, and went down from Jordan to Egypt, to Lebanon to Turkey, and then we headed kind of East to Georgia and spend about a month there and then mania, and then went through the stands. So we started in Turkmenistan, then went to it was Becca, Stan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, then back into Europe through Ukraine, and then through Eastern Europe, so we pretty much went up through Poland, Czech Republic, slipping Slovakia, and then went up into the Baltics. So Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, and then came down and did Romania, and also Moldova, followed by jumping to Germany, then over to for one of my close friends 30th we we went from Panama, and we sailed a boat from Panama to Colombia. And then after that, did the Balkans so did Greece, Albania, Croatia and then ended up in Africa doing Ethiopia

Adam Pierno  6:00 

That’s intense and now that’s blows my mind. I don’t think Americans are not as a cultural trade or not known to take those kind of trips like Australians typically do. But even by Australian standards, that’s a crazy, crazy winding road. Yeah, it was we kind of picked over countries we thought that you couldn’t do in one week. So we really wanted to do.

Julian Cole  6:26 

Probably the harder, some of the harder to get countries where you’d probably be sitting on planes a little bit longer. And countries that we thought we, you know, you’d want to be young and energetic to do but the interesting thing is, is when we’re on the road, a lot of the people that we met, were actually retired race, and doing a lot of these countries like the stands from like Turkmenistan, to Kazakhstan. I thought, oh, that would be really adventurous young travelers, not it’s old people who are like, who actually doing that route like 76 year olds getting out there post retirement.

Adam Pierno  7:05 

Why is it just because of the time it takes and the time investment of going to those places requires that kind of an older someone has more free time?

Julian Cole  7:12 

Yeah, I think that’s right. And I think also there’s probably a little bit more fascination around the Silk Road. And also, after the Cold War, they kind of lived through that of not having access to it. So it’s probably a little bit more interesting, maybe to write saris, but I think the main point is, you’ve got a little bit more time. We’re interested. We really thought we’d see more kind of people our age doing a year off, but we actually didn’t make too many people.

Adam Pierno  7:45 

With that plan in mind. Well, let’s talk a little bit about I saw you were posting and I was I was quasi following the adventures that you were going at you were calling it that this strategy sabbatical and before you took the trip, was this planned? Let’s we have this time we’re young, we could do it. Or was it? Were you looking? Was your brain tired and you needed a sabbatical? You were kind of planning against that. Because as an outsider, we don’t know it.

Julian Cole  8:14 


Adam Pierno  8:16 

I got an email. I subscribe to your email. And it was like, I’m going on holiday for a year. And I’m taking a strategy sabbatical. I’ll see you later. Deuces and that was kind of my exposure to it, but I’m sure people who know you better knew you’re planning it.

Julian Cole  8:29 

Yeah, I’m not many people who knew me well knew were planning it was really nothing. So it was purely on the fact of our age and the ability to do this before we had kids. We thought we thought this was kind of a good idea. And Excellent. So yeah, I didn’t feel burnt out at all actually felt like I was at kind of the top of my game and really loving my time at the BBDO had an amazing team there. And we were kind of thriving, so it definitely probably wasn’t due to burn out or anything.

Adam Pierno  9:12 

That’s really interesting. So it was more just prioritizing personal growth and experience with your fiance over the work, which was also going great. And it wasn’t like an escape or burnout.

Julian Cole  9:26 

Yeah, correct Australians, a lot of them used to move to London still do a lot of moves to London, to work in advertising over there. And so the original dream of like Europe is like if you’re working in London, you’re taking weekends because everything is so close weekends to go explore and visit other countries and friends who do that and that was always like, us so jealous. I was like, Oh my god, I want to bet like I want to be doing that and there’s this thing and also, we have like a gap year when you’re like 19 years old. And I was like, I want my European summit because everyone knows what that looks like. In Australia. They’ve all seen the photos. And, you know, you go to Oktoberfest, you down in the Greek islands, you’re traveling around you like in Rome everywhere. And so to me was like, we had also made a conscious decision that we’re probably not we were thinking about moving to Europe. But as this one of the impetus for this trip was we decided that we want to stay in America. It’s better for She works in music. And the stakes are just so much bigger in terms of a market for music marketing. So that’s also why we’re in LA, because this is the city for music marketing. So we were decided that we weren’t going to move to Europe, which was kind of the original plan. So I still had this dream of the European summer and going to all the European countries. So I think that kind of like kicked us in the ass to actually go do it and see all those European countries that all our friends would be visiting.

Adam Pierno  11:13 

That’s pretty crazy, pretty just a ambitious trip, which tells me a little bit about who you are just making that kind of a plan. How, how planned out, was it beforehand? Was it all dotted in or were you saying, well, we’ll go here and then we’ll buy the next ticket, figure out where we’re, it’s a bit of Yeah, it’s a bit of both. We had a general direction. We had a couple of, I guess, flags in the sand of where we knew we were going to go. So we always knew that we wanted to do Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa.

Julian Cole  11:44 

We just didn’t know where we’re going to do that and the route that we’re going to take through there. So it changed a lot like we we didn’t put anything we had the trip through Central Asia through the stands. And then we had the trip at the very start the first two weeks booked but apart from that we kind of just free road at all.

Adam Pierno  12:07 

That’s really cool. Now when you came back were you anxious to get to work or are you kind of like if I go on a vacation I’ll usually come back and want a day or two to not not do anything so I can only imagine after a year away

Julian Cole  12:20 

Yes. What how I would feel is I probably want 30 days just to be in my house but how did you feel when you got back from that to that so it was actually really funny so when we’re on it cuz amber and I kind of going through the same experience of like, okay, we’re, we’re, we’re coming out on our own and doing and doing this on our own. In terms of strategy. We kind of went through like, different experiences like so when I started the trip. I thought, okay, I want to come back. And I want to get a role as head of planning at a great creative like award winning agency that was gone. I then went halfway through the trip. I was like, I want to stop See, and I and this is taking that like 10% of my brain power. And as I’m doing it, it’s not like a session I really got into kind of other things like really love history. I love walking tours and museums. So that kind of took up a lot of my time. But I read in like on Kindle Rick Webb’s book on transforming agency, like starting up an agency, he was head of Barbarian Group and went all the way through to selling it. And after reading that book, I sent I gave it to Amber too. So then Amber had really different reactions. For me, I was just like, No, I don’t want to like I’m not starting an agency. For her. She was like, Oh my god, this is my life calling. I’m going to start a music marketing agency. So I was lifting a really interestingsitting position. I was like, What? What am I going to do? Because all my life, I had thought that I was going to start an agency, my parents were director and producer of TV ads. And

Adam Pierno  15:13 

Oh, okay, so you have Yeah, so you’ve always been dreaming of?

Julian Cole  15:15 

Yeah, I yeah. And it was a production company. It wasn’t like a creative agency. And it was, it was kind of small, small stuff. But they had always like, drilled into me. And two things about working in the industry that are like, you’re going to be kind of washed up at like 45. So plan to not have a job after 45 obviously, planning for the worst case scenario. And I think something similar happened to my dad, he was a creative director. I mean, he was the director who’s quite creative, and after like, you know, 45 kind of ages and setting and he just couldn’t get as much work as he used to. So that was kind of really critical on his his life and kind of the lessons that he taught me and then the interesting piece of advice was that if you’re going to like make an income out of this and a good income, you need to start your own agency. So I’d always planned as the final step and I love people and I love creative so this was like yeah, this is what I’m going to do. But yeah, red liquid spoken I was like No, I that’s not the plan for me. Yeah, I kind of was lacking a little bit of a limbo situation. And I kind of would talk was talking to people about about I wanted to jump and you probably saw the story, my niece that I was interested in jumping up brand side cuz I think I would love to get the brand side experience and I think the 10 year and as the same, always longer too. So yeah. especially knowing I’m moving to Los Angeles. What are agencies that I could do that here and then So that was kind of in the back of the brain doing that, really not thinking about it too much as we’re traveling is I’m just loving life. And it was more just background processing just kind of moving from phase two phase of, I want to get into a shop. No, I want to start my own shop. This book is kind of scared me, but it’s not forward, occupying a lot of your time or not, ya know, and it’s getting to the end of the trip. And I really haven’t been thinking about like what I’m going to be doing next. And then just Luckily, Amber picked up this book because she realized she was going to be like freelancing. She was on Reddit, our entrepreneur and found this book by Alan Weiss. I think it’s a consulting Bible. And she picked that up. And she read that and she said during you got to read this. This is really good. And I read it on my last day on our trip, and on the plane home. And as soon as I finished the book, I’m like, that’s what I’ve got to do. That’s what I’m doing. I’m going to be consulting and I kind of like just jumped straight into it and like hit the ground running here. And it’s been really exciting since then it’s only been a week and a half. But it’s amazing the amount. So my thinking time, and when I have all my ideas, it’s like three to five o’clock in the morning. And the thoughts that don’t like, I wake up with them, I’m like, kind of just tossing and turning with them. But I’ve been having them every single morning. And just and it’s been awesome. Like I usually when I was at a video that happened, like maybe for a little spurt of like, a couple of days here or once a month. But I’ve been getting them all the time. So I feel really re energized to be kind of jumping back in.

Adam Pierno  18:49 

That’s exciting. That’s exciting that you were you were able to take that journey in the background and when you have timed out that when you landed, you had the makings of applying to those other

Julian Cole  19:00 

Yeah, I was kind of like freaking out because I was like, I’m not thinking about work too much and I’m like, when I mean it, I’m really lucky in it. And I was like, shit What if I like get back and just don’t want to do work as I was thinking if I had a backup plan, which was I really love walking to us, and I was going to do walking tours. And I’d like would create my own Irie when I left a video actually created a walking tour for BBDO and I was I was in the Strand, which is an old bookstore in New York and for sure this amazing book, which was the history of a video. And I was able to map out a walking tour through the streets of New York, which talked about the history of baby on the history of kind of creative agencies in New York. And I took my team on it and I took like the CEO and couple of other people on this on the screen. creative agency like the BBDO history of a video agency walking tour in a market, I can do that. Do more. I could do more walking tours. That’s pretty good.

Adam Pierno  20:11 

Well, if you think about it, it’s not that dissimilar except for the walking to a lot of what we’re doing, which is showing people the path of, you know why it’s something matters and how to connect disparate items together.

Julian Cole  20:24 

It’s very true. I didn’t think of that. It’s good.

Adam Pierno  20:27 

See, see what I did – I wanted to ask. So I know you you’ve made a stop in Paris and did some work. But were you as you were traveling, were you stopping? I think in your newsletter, you were showing different agencies that you were stopping at, or at least different people that you were meeting with, and I wanted to know what you what you experienced how the work differs from place to place, or maybe maybe it’s better to say how the work is the same. And in the US in particular, there’s a lot of talk about what a strategy mean and assign value it. And I wanted to see that same debate is happening around the world.

Julian Cole  21:05 

Yeah, the the interesting thing for me is is that I found was the amount of similarities that they there are amongst people around the world in advertising. So I kind of sent it out on my newsletter and Planning Dirty and people all around the world who have signed up to that. So I’ll just tell people, the countries I was coming up to, and then people would email me like, Hey, I’m here. And then we’d catch up for like dinner or show me around or we just have a coffee. And it’s amazing how the similarities of even just like the way we dress is almost like the same all around the world. The conversations you have a very similar and as you saying the problems are very much the same, you know, the tension with creative, the clients not value valuing strategy. Not enough time. These are all things that just kept popping up repeatedly. Yeah, it’s brilliant. It’s it’s intriguing to me because I see you know, on Twitter, I follow strategy people from a lot of places in the world, I wouldn’t say everywhere in the world. But it seems like one unified conversation for the most part. But I wonder on the ground as you’re meeting new people, if you’re if you’re hearing the same things, and it sounds like you are, yeah.

Adam Pierno  22:34 

And is that what I want to talk a little bit about your, your new, your new role and what you’re doing? And I have a feeling that those conversations kind of led you to this to this place. You want to talk about that a little bit?

Julian Cole  22:49 

Yeah, definitely. I feel like a lot of people were having the exact same problems that I was facing or that we were facing in the States. And I guess what I realized was that I’ve kind of built up a skill set and the tools to deal with a lot of these problems. And so I guess the consultancy came out of that that respect is that I felt like there were a number of things that I was doing solutions that I could bring to the table. So a bit of background on like comms planning first, I guess brand planning is that I see comms planning is really making a lot our work come to life. And one of the first kind of workshops that I’m doing is – Something that I’m calling strategy thunder, and all great creative deserves thunder. And what the idea is, is that there’s so many great ideas like, I’m a bit of an optimist, and I just see so much great creative. And the unfortunate thing that I’m saying is a lot of great creative is dying before it goes out into the world. And there’s a number of reasons for that. Maybe there’s like a limited production budget, there’s a media, you know, a media agency who might be a little bit inflexible or got a locked media plan, you’ve got partner agency, so kind of treating it like Hunger Games and very territorial and or the creative, you know, the way that we present the idea is kind of more relevant financing 99 and not, you know, made for 2019 and my solution is that strategy should help bring these creative ideas to life in innovative ways. And that’s kind of what I helped do when we’re beyond baby. Ah, I really helped. I went to those two agencies because I knew they were really creatively, they had some of the strongest people in the world. So I knew I’d be immersed in around great creative ideas. And I thought I could bring something to the table because the way my brain thinks and the way I think about strategy is also have kind of finding opportunities for creative in non traditional areas, and then making sure that they execute not leaving them not just doing some upfront sides, but making sure they actually come to life. And I had success with that. And I thought there’s a number of agencies that I’m talking to, that are having the same problem and, or having problems around how we grappling with any strategy process. That’s what I’m talking to a lot of people about is like, how do we update our strategy process for today? 2019. And I come with a background of doing that with comms planning, which is one part of it, but I’ve kind of found you know, the techniques that I’ve used to help kind of roll that into an agency’s kind of, but I think valuable, like one of the earliest things that I realized was, you know, with comms planning or with bringing any new strategy process into the age in agency kind of made what I call like a magnet case. And that’s a case study that’s really attracting the account people in creative people to kind of knock down the door and say, We need some of that on our accounts. So Abby video is kind of overwhelmed at first because I’m like, this is an 800 person agency, how am I going to ever rolling comes planning. What I did is actually took the account where I saw the most opportunity for comes planning to make an impact. We had an amazing ambitious client, we had a good creative team. And I thought this and a good planning partner brown Platinum partner, but this is the account where we can really show the value. So I got onto Bacardi and worked on that solidly like for the first six months to really come out with a cracking case study showing what work could do, how comes planning and how the new planning process could work. And it was just like the magnet effect people came and they’re like, we need that on our account. How do we get on there? rather than, you know, doing the big all agency or old department meeting saying this is the new process, we kind of already had that magnetic pole, working in our favor.

Adam Pierno  27:47 

Yeah, through through success if you had a campaign that you could show them or an account that you could show them that said this is look look what happens if we do it this way. Instead of saying now you’re going to call this person and here’s a process flow and I can’t

Julian Cole  27:59 

Yeah, I think they were just lessons that I learned from kind of trial and error. And that’s kind of where I thought there’s a lot of other agencies who could be who would find this information useful and and offer them problems. So that’s kind of how I set up, you know, what I’m calling I’m just a strategy strategy consultant, really working with the souls to work through their problems, because it’s also a very lonely job when you’re kind of put rolled into the role of head of strategy, or Chief Strategy Officer, you’re you’re by yourself kind of working it out and to have someone else who’s a sounding board who’s been through those same problems and who’s worked some successes through systems that are kind of heavily steeped in politics and and navigating that and, and understanding diplomacy can be valuable. So that’s kind of the offering that I’m kind of coming to say so enchanting to see. So he’s about as well as the actual just hard skills of training as well and and teaching people how to do comes finding a little number of artifacts that I can teach around comes planning.

Adam Pierno  28:19 

No, I think that’s brilliant. And you said early on in that description, you said that you were hearing the same problems and you have developed the skills to deal with those problems. What go into a little bit more detail about what some of those skills are?

Julian Cole  29:29 

 Yeah, I think there’s I’ve got a theory that that strategist needs to be talking about the taboo subjects more often and I call them politics, money and religion. And I think that if planners talk about politics, money and religion weekly and all the time will become better planners and politics to me is agency politics, and client politics. We live in a world where this exists, there’s there’s social dynamics at play. And really understanding how to get those to kind of work and align together is so important. So one of the programs that we ran at beyond the planning department was a diplomacy kind of course. And this was teaching. The comm plan is new comms plan is all about diplomacy. Like how do you get people behind your idea? How do you work with kind of aggressive media agencies who are kind of like structured in their thinking and how do you pull them around to new, innovative ideas and we had kind of a number of ways that you do that kind of getting simple things that we kind of take for granted. But the way you kind of approach a meeting if you’ve got like, if you’re presenting to two people who are more senior than you, you need to have aMeeting with one of those people to get buy in before you present a meeting. And that’s like something I learned from mistakes. We had like an amazing program that I knew would be, I think it was like a it was a white paper that I knew was going to really helped solidify the role of strategy within a video to to external clients and to the world. Unfortunately, it was it was kind of a complex issue was on a complex subject. And what I did is actually went into the meeting with the President and CEO, and presented it to both of them at the same time for the first time. And what happened was I because it was something complex, and they didn’t really understand they kind of looked at each other to see if they were going to kind of like sign this thing off or give it the green light and because of the hesitancy you kind of had an idea that kind of got kind of got killed because they just weren’t Or where each other SAT. And that was kind of a really hard lesson because I’ve invested time in that idea. And so for the younger planners to teach them that skill of make sure you just having the off the record conversations first or floating ideas past other people to get kind of buying in big meetings is kind of brutal.

Adam Pierno  32:21 

And and that varies from from agency to agency and client to client. And then I think what that that story is so telling and reminds me of so many horror stories that you hear were planners and I worked on this and I had this thing I brought it in and it crashed into the mountain because what I figured out 10 minutes into the meeting, which killed me was this. Yep. Yeah. That’s killing.

Julian Cole  32:21 

So there’s stuff that you can learn around diplomacy. So on two levels, the way I’m thinking about that now is CSOs. Like, I can talk to them about how they approach different things and just be another voice or another option and give another option to people. Hey, have you thought about this? This is what’s worked in my past? Maybe you could try that or that sounds like a great idea the way you’re thinking and approaching it. The second topic that I think planners and strategists need to talk more about is money. I don’t think we, we really talk about money enough. And I think it’s the key part of strategy, because strategies all all about making a plan of how to get to a to b, with the limited resources you have. And money seems to be a big one of that. And to me, when I’m thinking about how, how do we actually get all these amazing ideas made? Money seems to be one of the biggest barriers to that. And what I often I was kind of running into this problem a lot when I kind of, was that baby hm baby do where clients would say that we were the kind of TV agency to them, but we want more – We knew we could make more innovative work and their their thing to us was our just come up with some ideas and we’ll find the money for it. And we would proactively kind of take monthly sessions to them of, of the type of work we wanted to make, and nothing ever got bought. And what I realized was, unless you’re talking up front, about allocating money and signposting money to an initiative, it will never happen. Like the chances of you taking moonshots really. And what I did is I started to really bring in the production side of things earlier up in the process. So when we were presenting ideas, what I would be doing is actually creating what I call a brute blueprint, which is taking all the content assets that we’re creating, matching them against the communication tasks that they’re delivering against, and also having the production budget against them. And that required me to get a skill of really bad. And estimation of how much money we’re going to potentially be spending on things. And it also required me to understand on the client side How much do they usually spend in terms of production dollars versus media dollars and really understanding and method. But once I’ve brought in this kind of new artifacts, which is called blueprints, and presenting that up front, I had an amazing success rate of selling really interesting integrated, innovative, creative ideas and execution.

Adam Pierno  35:32 

Yeah, that’s awesome because you’re taking the argument or the fear off the table where you say and I’ve already done that we’ve already done this research Look how we’re going to make it this is what it’s going to cost this is what it is and we found the money here

Julian Cole  35:43 

yep. And this is how you budgets going to be doing and and you having the conversation so far upstream that you know the creative the it’s you know, you’re not down in the creative prison type like funnel executions, all these executions you having it’s so far upstream, that you’re getting really focused as well because the other thing is, is that you often go into meetings and you get the Chinese menu of ideas or all these amazing, innovative ideas. And then the client just buys a TV ad and social posts and you’re like, well, because they because they know how to pay. Yeah, yeah. And so this, really save that. And it was it was interesting, kind of selling an integrative to because the first time I used it was a baby age. And I had this amazing a CD. And he, I told him about the idea, I’m thinking we should talk about money further up in the chain, like when you’re presenting the idea for the first time and he pretty much just said, Get the hell out of my office. We’re never talking about money up front. You know, we this is about creativity and great ideas and, and he said, that’s just not how you’re going to sell great creative ideas, when about three different creative campaigns on that on that idea, and then he came around and said, You know what, bring those blueprints back. I think I think they can sell and then we ended up really like selling some really great work on the account after that.

Adam Pierno  37:06 

Oh, that’s awesome. And then I think you said the third thing was really religion.

Julian Cole  37:11 

Yeah, I think, to me, you’ve got to havea faith and our own understanding of how advertising works. I see a lot of planners getting into the business, and they don’t really have a strong understanding of of, of how advertising actually works. And if you don’t have a good understanding of how advertising works, then how you’re going to be able to kind of compellingly sell that to clients. And I think that’s taking it all the way down to like, how we build you know, memory structures, and thinking about how ideas are kind of born in the head and the cycle the psychology theories around that as well as things like the media side of it all the more marketing theory side of it from like the brand shops, of How Brands Grow and understanding the IPA and the impact that that has. And I feel like in a lot of cases, there’s a lot of agencies who are kind of like advertising or like advertising theory light. And I just feel like that’s one area that once you have that understanding, and at least a not, you know, at least a point of view of how advertising works, then you’ve got a better understanding of how to sell things through.

Adam Pierno  38:26 

Oh, no, I love it. Yeah. And I’ve actually have, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of strategy people who I almost think don’t think advertising works or its value. And that’s really scary to, to work with someone like that, who is like, “Hey, this is never gonna work. But let’s, let’s, I want you to spend three months thinking about it.” It’s like, well, that’s that’s not the great way to start a project off. Yeah, no, no,

Julian Cole  38:52 

not at all.

Adam Pierno  38:54 

So how has it been coming back into the States?

Julian Cole  38:57 

Great. So yeah, so kind of launched, I just went out and told people through the newsletter and pretty much just through LinkedIn, and through a couple of contacts that I’m that I’m going out. I’m available for consultancy. And I’ve had a really good response. I’ve had agencies kind of CSOs really getting contact and a lot of people say, Hey, this is just perfect timing, we’re redoing our redoing our strategy department or kind of coming up with a prep process and we’d love your help, or or other request of like, we need to just integrate comms planning, like I’ve sold it to clients, but now I need to actually do it and have the tools so can you can you come in and kind of train your team and make this work for us and make this work as an agency process? So yeah, I’ve been lucky lucky to kind of work that out. And so Yeah, it’s it’s it’s filled me with so much enthusiasm. I’m so excited to kind of get back in and answer these kind of problems and work with kind of CSOs to. So solve these issues because this is the stuff that I love doing.

Adam Pierno  40:17 

I want one more question and then that I’m going to let you go and get on with your day. But how you mentioned training there and training is an area I’ve been very interested in. And as you traveled around the world and met with people in the US, I mean, you’ve worked with BBH and BBDO and I’d spent time at large agencies where there is training, but at midsize and smaller agencies a lot of training is doing or training is non existent and go figure it out for yourself. How  undertrained are strategy people in your experience and your opinion you’re meeting people around the world and what’s the need there?

Julian Cole  41:01 

Well, I, to me, I think it’s, it really comes back to the agency doing it too. And being proactive, I think the agencies that are really trying to like change and transform, they, they know the value of training. And that’s, that’s how we’re going to like scratch up and get up there. And so I think I see that they’re investing in training, the agencies and the people that I’ve talked to who that’s not the goal, it’s like, just kind of were happy to keep going along this path. Yeah, they’re not investing in training or thinking about the future, but it’s the ones and there was a quote from the CEO David Lubars at bbg of like, never letting the cement dry. was the kind of kind of the idea at BBDO and that really drove everything. And really, I took that on with the comms planning department. I was like, all right, well, we’re going to try and we’re going to, you know, we’re going to make upskiling like a focus of the department and actually made the vision of the department was, we were going to be like the Harvard MBA of planning. And so the idea there was with Harvard, Harvard MBAs, you actually, you know, you know, it is this rigorous place where you kind of like, training really hard and you learning really fast. But the other part about it was that you were actually evaluated by your peers, and how much your peers helped you out as well. And so that’s one of the things that I wanted to kind of create was like, hey, everyone’s got great knowledge, you need to share it here. And we’d have like Wednesday morning meetings, and it would be everyone from the same from the very junior to the very senior, sharing the case study, sharing their learnings, explaining new things to the team. And I think that’s the culture that you’ve got to create and not wait for, you know, the conference or the online, you know, online course. And I’m doing all these things like I’m going to make an online like I’m in the process of making online course.

Adam Pierno  43:13 

But right of course you’re not saying those things are bad you know, you’re saying early for the culture it’s it’s got to be shared there first of the other people can benefit.

Julian Cole  43:21 

Yeah. And it’s just not like if you if you want to upskil you, so you, I think, find ways to work with other people and other departments, even on the departments. If you’re even a strategy department of one. There’s so much to be learned from produces so much to lead from account people on the job. So that’s, that’s kind of what I think you need to do.

Adam Pierno  43:46 

That’s awesome. Well, I think I’m glad that you’re back from your trip and re energized or I guess re energized the wrong word. You were never not interested. But I’m glad you’re back and energize. It sounds like you’re going to make an impact here.

Julian Cole  44:00 

So welcome back. Thank you.

Adam Pierno  44:03 

All right, this was awesome. Hey, where can people find you? You mentioned I’m a subscriber to the planning dirty newsletter, where can people sign up for that?

Julian Cole  44:12 

So we’ll put a link in the show notes. Because there’s no click clean, like, it’s just a MailChimp link, which has worked so far. So good. So far, I had a website that there was no point in it. So I’ve got that. So I’ll put that in the show notes. But also on LinkedIn, I’m Julian Cole –  Twitter  @JulianCole. And getting getting touch there. I think if you’ve got any if you’re, I guess yeah, if you’re say so and you think he about any of these problems of training or need help with kind of process and operationalize and things. That’s kind of my wheelhouse, so get in touch.

Adam Pierno  44:51 

Awesome, very good. Well, thank you for making time this morning. I really appreciate you saying Alright, so long.