Either live or on zoom 

Interaction and discussion are as important as presentation content. This is what I have learnt in 16 years of designing and running courses (it’s no different on Zoom). My two most recent designs are Creativity@ and Insights@


This short day is designed for a team or department that wants to get share ideas, enjoy themselves and learn useful things about creativity, creative ideas and how to spot great creative work. All of which will help inspire better work. 

Creativity day @ Samsung

Here is what Stephen Humphry, head of omni-channel marketing at Samsung, had to say: “It was great to see the team engaging and being excited by the content and your great skill of enabling everyone to feel able to contribute intelligently was fantastic to see once again. I really enjoyed the whole day. The team are still talking about the session in my 1-2-1s, so the day clearly had an impact.”

Agenda for a short day (10 AM-4 PM)

Preparation: attendees bring along a piece of creative work that they think is great (It can be anything – digital, physical, an experience such as a pop-up, an instore promotion, a TV ad, a poster)

Think about 1) why this is motivating for its audience 2) why it helps the brand achieve its objectives (ie why is it effective)

Morning: Understanding and evaluating creative work

Create your own brand

Attendees draw their own logo and share with the rest of the group

And discuss the characteristics of effective branding including

  • Instantly recognisable visual assets
  • Sources of distinctiveness
  • Nature of strong brands

What is a creative idea? 

We review outstanding award-winning creative work from around the world

and discuss how

  • Creative ideas give you a great advantage over your competition
  • That there are different types of idea
  • How ideas are fertile and can be brought to life in different media and over time  


How to judge if the work is great or not

We review the work brought by attendees anddiscuss why it is motivating for its audience(s) and effective for the brand

We generate and capture judgement criteria for great work, which is shared back to the team after the session (creating a sense of ownership)


Afternoon: Creativity techniques that work

Laddering – the most generally useful thinking method

How facts can be interrogated to undercover the real issue and redefine the problem including brilliant thinking from the APOG awards

How facts can be turned into motivating propositions/ideas and the power of emotional benefits in communication

Moments that Matter- a google method

How “Starting with the user” stimulates ideas in all media and ideas beyond advertising including brilliant examples from around the world

How to spot when your customer is most receptive and how to use this to generate ideas

Wrap up discussion

What has been useful and why? What else might be useful?


Insights @

Insight has more in common with intuition and imagination that it does deliberate and conscious thinking based on information gathering and deductive reasoning -Wendy Gordon

What can we learn from award winning case histories about insight- those “aha” moments that help to crack problems and fuel creative thinking ? This new course, first run was co-designed with and run for Amazon.

It is highly practical and packed with examples, methods and tips about how to uncover insight

Analysis of APG case histories show that there are four types of insight in coms planning and creative development . Insights of:-

1.Definition: what the task is and the audience is (and is not)

2.Motivation: key consumer motivation and inspiration for activity

3.Execution: what makes executions “take off” (why some fail)

4.Effectiveness: how and why campaigns achieve change

The marketing effectiveness workout

This is a practical workshop, with a planning model, that can be used to generate answers to specific marketing a`nd communications challenges. It is therefore ideal as an in-house course for brand owners looking to develop a behaviour change plan or as part of annual planning for a specific brand.

At its heart this course is about the practical application of behaviour science– and full of instructive examples

Over the last decade I have been fortunate to meet and work with great individuals to develop learning on behaviour science – starting a decade ago with Richard Thaler (co-author of “Nudge”), the UK government ( at The Central Office for Information) and most recently with Phil Barden author of an excellent book called  “Decoded”( see below the course I co-run with him as part of the Essentials course for APG).

Each part of design has breakouts for attendees to develop ideas and solutions. This course is full day but can be adapted to a short day ( 9.30-3.30). Here is the outline:-

Brand building in the digital age. 

I first developed this half day seminar at whilst working in an innovation division at Google ( The Zoo) and have run it for (amongst others) Danone ,Pakistan Advertisers Society  (Karachi & Lahore), and as an open access seminar for ISBA members ( all the large advertisers in UK)

The topic, of course, is always under review – and I have just road tested a revised and updated half day course for ISBA. Feedbacks were very good. The core is “design thinking “applied to brand building but in also embraces ideas from behaviour science  and classic advertising thinking ( which remains relevant.) I identify 5 key principles and illustrate them with inspiring examples . As ever there is plenty of opportunity for discussion and debate to make it relevant to the challenges of attendees

More information about my training courses:

A great learning experience. All of my courses are highly interactive, include tools and techniques and have lots of examples, including the very latest work from awards. They are now all available on Zoom

I also co-design with academics and industry experts to ensure that they represent the best and latest thinking

Track record: I have been running courses since 2004, after I published a book about the digital revolution called The Communications Challenge (APG 2004)

I work both in the UK and internationally. In the past year I have run courses in Canada, USA, Qatar, Netherlands, Switzerland and Pakistan

How to book. You can book courses through trade associations listed below or directly. I also develop tailored training courses and adapt existing course to individual needs.

MAAG(for marketing agencies)- Contact Graham Kemp

ISBA ( for clients/brand owners )- Contact Mark Willock

APG (for agency strategists)- Contact Alison Trotter

– or get in direct contact for a bespoke session-

New course alert :_

Behavioural Economics and effectiveness A new half day/short day course in 2019 for APG, co-designed with Phil Barden, author of Decoded. We cover

  • Kahneman’s two system brain model
  • How this model helps you to understand what will be effective, especially in design thinking
  • Kahneman, Byron Sharp and the fundamentals of marketing effectiveness
  • How execution and executional details can be transformative in the creation of effective advertising and response.
  • How to avoid career limiting mistakes through the application of the right testing methods

Training Courses for Clients and Brand Owners

Creating ideas and getting the best out of your agency. Designed in partnership with Patrick Collister of Google. A two day course with three key elements that help marketers get clear on what they want their agency to deliver and inspire them to deliver it

How to define creative ideas. The different levels of creative idea and getting clear on what you are asking for from your agency. Great examples from around the world

The key elements of an agency brief. Clients have a lot of information they can share with agencies – but what are the really important questions ?

Role reversal– in this session teams write a brief and then answer a creative brief. Anyone can have an idea when they get a good clear brief

How to motivate agencies and give feedback on creative work  A one and a half day course specially designed for ISBA and SKY that helps clients brief and manage multi-disciplinary agency teams

The first part focuses on the key strategy questions that clients need to answer in order to give direction to agencies, how different agencies think differently and the leadership skills that are needed to get the best out of  agencies.

In the second part we develop skills in evaluating and giving feedback on creative work. It covers the psychology of perception as well as practical tools for giving feedback, including understanding the difference between idea and execution

This course has been popular for over 8 years which reflects a deep need among marketers to bring greater simplicity to a sometimes confusing challenge- the agency scene has become more complex as a result of technology and specialisation

How behavioural economics can change your life .A  course commissioned by ISBA for brand owners. This three hour seminar explores the key ideas behind BE and illustrates the practical implications of applying BE principles to achieving behaviour change. It “chunks” BE into three sections:

  1. Fast Thinking
  2. Design
  3. Small changes=Big Differences

It explains the thinking of key academics as well as drawing out the implications for how we need to think differently about effectiveness. In preparing this course i have drawn on the latest literature as well as my experience working on Government behaviour change for the Central Office of information

Training courses for marketing agencies (MAA)

Fast StrategyThis is a one day course specifically designed for busy account handlers who do not have the luxury of a large planning department and therefore have to do most of the brief writing and thinking themselves. I have run this for five years through MAA and adapted and evolved it over that time. In a sense this course “the best of Ogilvy”, where i was lucky to have trained as planner, and “the best of Google”, where in have immersed myself in digital marketing

It is built around four key questions that a brief has to address

1) What is the communications problem? (Clear definition is a key and involves understanding both the potential of the brand and the context in which the brand operates)

2) Who is this for? (Uncovering Insight into audiences using analytical, qualitative and data led techniques)

3) How is it going to work? (Interruption, Engagement and Integration. Effectiveness learning from IPA and behavioural psychology. Newer models of thinking with a focus on branded content)

4) What are we going to say? (Promises propositions and why simplicity matters more than ever)

MAA Diploma. I co-designed this eight part qualification in partnership with MAA- it sells out its 20 places every time it is run.

It is for people who have been working in agencies 1 or 2 years and gives a thorough grounding in the knowledge and strategic needed for someone starting out in agencies today. I teach three of the eight modules

The power of brands 

  • Why brands matter to our clients: economic value of brands
  • Brand evolution and brands in the interactive age
  • How to understand a brand.
  • Brands as the source of creativity and ideas
  • Roles of brand advertising and branded content

Consumer psychology, effectiveness and using media  

  • How do consumers choose and buy?
  • How this is the starting point for designing the use of different media and disciplines.
  • Latest insights from consumer psychology into how humans process information.
  • Building a picture of influence in a particular category.
  • Matching media and methods to your effectiveness model.

 How to be a strategic partner                                    

  • What it means earn the status of partner rather than supplier
  • Understanding the client business and the brief
  • How to interrogate a client brief: preparation and research.
  • The key elements of the agency brief- problem definition/audiences/propositions.
  • Examples of agency briefs.
  • How the key elements of the brief fit together.

 MAA Future Leaders Academy.

This eight part course is designed for agency people who have at least 10 years experience and are looking to step up to a management role. Like The Diploma it sells out every year and has just 20 places.

In 2016 I partnered with Creative Director David Harris to design the module on the importance of creativity to agencies.

Insight, agency magic dust

What do we mean by insight and how do you go about finding it? This two hour seminar covers shows that insight is as much a creative process as an analytical one. It delivers a set of insights tools and techniques that can be applied to campaign planning (2 hour seminar)

How to win new business pitches 

Insights from experienced new business directors (who were surveyed in the preparation for this course) about how to build client trust through the process leading up to the pitch  as well as how to ensure a great performance on the day- (2 hour seminar)

Training courses for agency strategists (APG)

How to run a really useful workshop. Workshops can be some of the most useful and productive time you spend at work. They can also end up unstructured, messy, and a waste of everyone’s time.

Nevertheless they remain a hugely popular way of trying to come up with new ideas, define a direction, or pull a team behind a strategy.  And if you are a Planner or Strategist it’s likely to be you in the hot seat, organising and leading it. 

A Really Useful Workshop is not rocket science but it does need a lot of thought, careful planning and an understanding of how to run it and how to get the best out of people 

Topics covered.

  • How to plan and set up your session
  • How to be confident running it and how to overcome problems and obstacles you may encounter
  • How to plan different kinds of workshop:  Workshops to give direction, and workshops that are about coming up with ideas
  • A series of model workshop designs for you to adapt your own purposes.

How brands grow. Understanding the theory and how to apply the best of the new thinking from Behavioural Economics, Byron Sharp and the IPA to your work 

Over the last few years there has been an explosion of highly rigorous and tested new thinking on marketing and brands.  You may have read some of the articles and books by Byron Sharp, Les Binet, Peter Field, Phil Barden and others. But how to pull it all together and understand the implications for your clients and your day job? 

I bring together the science of Behavioural Economics and the science of consumer marketing and draw out the implications and dilemmas that practitioners face.

I cover:

  • The key principles that you need to understand
  • How do people choose and buy? 
  • What really influences us to behave as we do ? 
  • And what is the role of brands in this? 

The theory is delivered in bite sized chunks with breakouts to debate implications for your work on your brands now.

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