How One Agency Created A Brand Strategy Toolbox Inspired By The Need For Change

How One Agency Created A Brand Strategy Toolbox Inspired By The Need For Change

PSFK chats with Leo Burnett's Chief Strategy Officer, Stephen Hahn Griffiths, on how his new brand strategy framework, HumanKind, could provoke behavioral change.

Plus Aziz
  • 24 october 2011

As Chief Strategy Officer at Leo Burnett, Stephen Hahn Griffiths runs one of the largest strategy and planning groups in the advertising world. Having worked at a range of agencies including Mullen and Saatchi/Saatchi, his experience has pointed him toward a number of growing needs in the advancement of brand strategy and account planning.

Agencies have a long history of developing strategic tools and intellectual property. According to Stephen the challenge today is to make it more real-time, collaborative both internal and external facing, and something that can house different disciplines.

We wrote previously about Leo Burnett’s approach to data, but their HumanKind idea is much broader. It is intimately tied into a quality control mechanism called the Global Product Committee that brings together an international team to assess the year’s work on a 1-10 grade scale (you can follow on Twitter @TheLBGPC). Here is a video that explains their thinking process and overarching philosophy.

PSFK caught up with Stephen Hahn Griffiths to get the inside scoop on developments at Leo Burnett’s offices and their latest endeavors in developing their strategy toolbox.

Tell us about yourself and what you’re doing at Leo Burnett.

I’m from the UK, worked at Saatchi & Saatchi in the UK and different parts of the world. I moved to the US in 1997 to head up strategy at Grace Rothschild. Very proud of what I worked on over there and before Leo Burnett I was at Mullen in Boston.

At Burnett, I work to contemporize our strategic product . We’re working to make it more dynamic by making it more collaborative, interdisciplinary, and rooted in real-time. The challenge is to take all the disciplines and fuse them in an optimal way. We have our traditional planning group, we have our researchers, and we have a digital strategy group. Going beyond ‘the consumer’ we try to pull together the disciplines to birth behavioral insights in a compelling and exciting way.

Tell us about Leo Burnett’s Human Kind philosophy.

It works as an internal way of thinking about the world and has a whole measurement system built around it. Our Global Product Committee (GPC)–which is comprised of our leading strategic and creative brains from around the world–set up a very rigorous set of assessments for work that we believe will change people’s behavior. Maybe it’s not so ambitious to shoot for a brand that can change the world, particularly if you structure participation effectively.

It’s an internal barometer that’s not just a self-serving tool. We go out to talk with people and have what we call a Human Kind Quotient, which is a way of assessing the true impact of brands in the market. Our quotient is based on the potential to drive behavioral change.

There are two axis, the purpose of a brand vs the brand’s potential to invite you into its ecosystem. Our mission is to have brands with high purpose and deep levels of participation.

Tell me more about your framework for participation.

To win people’s involvement, you need a compelling purpose-driven idea that gets people to pay attention. We don’t even use words like ‘engagement’ or ‘touch points’ or ‘connections strategy,’ all of these things are still very monologue-focused.

We talk a lot about the evolution of planning (strategy is a better word) and how it points to behavioral insights, which in turn gives you permission to tap into other aspects of life that they’re consuming, like media, content, and technology, rather than simply what they are buying.

Case Study: Photo Chain with Canon, create a community of people who are inspired to share their self-expression and creativity with others, rather than just people that own the physical product. Check out the video below for the full case study.

The most successful campaigns become a part of the social fabric, an extension and enabler of who people are.

Why does your framework focus so heavily on change?

It’s not that we make people feel and think differently, we drive action and behavior change. We get people to rise to the challenge with a deeper level of conviction and inspire them to act on behalf of the brand. By driving participation we become a part of their lives.

Thanks Stephen!

You can follow Leo Burnett on Twitter @leoburnett and Stephen @shahngriffiths

Leo Burnett Blog


Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World's Largest Open-Air Gallery

Asia Today

Safe Drivers Rewarded In Japan With Free Coffee

Driving Barista is a new app that encourages Japanese motorists to put their phones down as they drive

Arts & Culture Today

Michael Kors Has Designed Their Own Instant Camera

In a partnership with Fuji, the limited edition Instax Mini 70 comes in an exclusive metallic gold color


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Health Today

Manage Your Emotional Health Through Your Phone

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has created a new iOS app meant to help patients track mental progress and set goals

Food Today

Delete Food Pics Off Of Instagram To Feed The Hungry

Land O'Lakes and Feeding America are donating meals for every picture of a meal taken off of the social platform

Design & Architecture Today

This Shape-Shifting Pod Could Be The Future Of The Cubicle

MIT and Google have designed a new form of work enclosure meant to offer privacy in open-office layouts

Advertising Today

Billboard Spies On People As They Walk By

To promote the movie "Snowden," the advertisement broadcasts information on passersby without their knowledge

Fashion Today

Anti-Pollution Scarf Helps Cyclists Ride Through Cities

An innovative system filters pollutants and its accompanying app monitors quality of the air


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 26, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Automotive Today

Volvo’s Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

The fully-automated vehicles are part of a development project to help improve safety for workers

Op-Ed Today

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Mischievous Drone Will Drop Paint-Filled Balloons On Targets Of Your Choosing

A German photography team developed the flying device to accurately deliver a payload wherever needed


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Fashion Today

100 Backpacks Made For The World’s Top Influencers

Heineken and TUMI have collaborated on a unique custom NYC-inspired bag

Financial Services Today

This Peer-To-Peer Insurance Company Is Powered By Bots

Lemonade is a new product designed to lighten the paperwork and provide instant, helpful service when needed

No search results found.