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Nov 11, 2019 4:25 PM ET

Strategy Is Your Words - The Deskbook by Mark Pollard A 400-page journey into the words that help and hurt strategists with over 20 techniques you can apply to your next brief and your life

Strategy Is Your Words - The Deskbook by Mark Pollard A 400-page journey into the words that help and hurt strategists with over 20 techniques you can apply to your next brief and your life

iCrowd Newswire - Nov 11, 2019


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Why this strategy book now?

Hi, my name is Mark Pollard (InstagramTwitterwebsite). 

I’ve spent over two decades trying to understand people. 

I’ve conducted research for product launches and I’ve interviewed some of the world’s best underground rappers for my magazine Stealth, many other publications, and my old radio show. 

I’ve worked on strategy for websites and I’ve written brand strategies and creative briefs for brands in Sydney and New York. 

I host the Sweathead community of over 7,000 strategists on Facebook and I’ve interviewed over 150 working strategists and marketers for the Sweathead podcast

I’ve written for Vice, Quartz, and the Wharton Future of Advertising Program. I’ve spoken at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. And I’ve run strategy training sessions in over 25 cities around the world. 

Having done all of these things, here’s what I believe:

  • Strategy (or account planning) is a compelling and challenging profession.
  • You don’t need to have “strategy” in your job title to do it well.
  • You need to practice to get good at it.
  • Strategy gets lost when it takes itself too seriously and dresses itself in fancy words.
  • The advertising world has lost its focus and is selling what it can rather than what it needs to, and strategy done well can address this issue.
  • Strategy skills are life skills and all strategy careers need time to focus on themselves because many strategists can live a vicarious existence hoping their thinking affects someone else’s thinking and for that thinking to get approved and to end up in public.
Strategy is Your Words – Cover and spine

What this book is

Strategy Is Your Words is a book about focus. 

This first edition – which will be beautifully printed, 400 pages, 80,000 words, 6”x9”, and hardcover – wants to land on desks in offices everywhere. It wants to help you help your teams understand each other and get back to why you exist: to do incredible work.

It’s 99% written – I’ve finished my fifth edit (shoutouts to my editor Lauren Wilson). It’s 95% designed – my friends at April77 in Sydney and I have a little more work to do. The design is minimal but, where the design is most apparent, you’ll see the book travel from unfocused to focused, like a strategist doing strategy.

The book will go to print within days of the Kickstarter ending.

I don’t believe in the idea that business books are business cards. That’s why I haven’t written a business book. Call me fancy, but I’ve tried to write a literary art book, which is to say I’ve tried to write a primal scream and to mix this scream with absurdist metaphors and utterly practical techniques.

I also believe that we need to create new ways of living, ways of living that are closer to our truths. That’s why I am publishing this book myself. I want direct contact with my readers and I don’t want to hand over the fate of this book to someone who hasn’t spent years with it. I want to take responsibility for it. Responsibility is the way.

What this book contains

The first half of the book addresses the words strategists use in their heads. Words like “clarity”, “lone wolf”, “impostor”, “truth”, “meaning”, “rejection”, “empathy”, “art”, “opinions”, and “patience”. I’ve tried to channel hundreds of experiences and conversations with strategists into these pages in a way where some people who’ve read them have said, “It’s like you’re in my mind right now.” Good. I want this book to feel like it’s reading you as much as you’re reading it.

Insights Are Survival

The second half of the book compiles my go-to techniques for doing strategy. These are techniques I’ve cobbled together and developed under extreme pressure to pitch in a day, respond to a brief in an hour, or run a workshop with no advanced notice.

Questions the book attempts to answer include:

  • What is strategy?
  • What is an idea?
  • What kinds of ideas do we have in advertising?
  • What makes ideas difficult?
  • How are the ideas of a strategist different to the ideas of a creative department?
  • What is an insight?
  • How can you write an insight?
  • What are useful problems to solve?
  • How do you articulate what makes a brand compelling?
  • How do you write an inspiring creative brief? (Hmm maybe “inspiring” isn’t the word)
  • How can I write strategy? (Hint: there are at least 11 ways)

 You can read the introduction here. You can listen to the introduction here:

Problems Are Worth Having

There are tens of exercises suitable for individual work or for your next workshop. They build around The Four Points, which is this diagram:

The Four Points

This book is not for the dogmatic. Its voice is sharp but it speaks from a place of love. And, as I focus the rest of my life on helping people who think for a living live, I’d love your support to get this book onto desks and into brains around the world.

I am aiming to raise $15,000 to help me print the first edition and cover most of the costs to date.

The rewards – USA launch

I’ve tried to keep the rewards straight-forward. Shipping isn’t cheap. Initially, I’m only shipping to the USA due to shipping complexities and costs. The prices below do not include shipping.

  • Stickers, Art cards, Poster $25
  • Deskbook $40
  • Deskbook And Note $50
  • Deskbook And Show $75 – NYC: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 (Eventbrite details here)
  • Box of 12 Deskbooks $450
  • Deskbook And Chat $500
  • Deskbook And Walk $1000
  • 12 Deskbooks And Team Lunch $2500 * NYC Only
  • 12 Deskbooks And Training Day $10,000 (plus travel, accomm., freight)
  • 12 Deskbooks And Workshop Day $10,000 (plus travel, accomm., freight)

For international strategy book readers

I’m still looking into shipping options for readers outside of America. Truth is, I don’t want to have to charge the price of the book to ship the book. It doesn’t make sense. I’ll likely have the book translated and make it available later in 2020 in various other countries. There are options like Shop USA where you can buy a book and ship it from the USA if you like. If you have other suggestions about any of this, feel free to contact me.

Additional links

You can find more of what I get up to in the strategy world here:

Risks and challenges

The project risks are minimal. The book is close to done. I’ve been sharing bits of it for over a year now.

Production and shipping timelines are the main risk. This is why I’m aiming for April 2020 to deliver everything. This will give me 3-4 months to get the book to you. According to my printers, this is realistic.

Contact Information:

Mark Pollard

Tags:    Reward-Donation, Wire, United States, English