The heart of my argument at the Brazilian APG centered on the 3 big fundamental problems I believe we face as planners, and, by extension, as an ad industry.
First, we tend more often than not to operate in the wrong 'business' (as we often tell our clients in workshops and pitches). We think of ourselves in the business of the consumer, the brand or the business when really we need to be in the culture business. Culture is what we compete with for people's time, and as I've banged on about a lot before (as have man others), ads are rather flat and boring compared to the depth, nuance and richness of culture. So, we need to think about what is it that we can do to help solve a business challenge in a way that contributes positively to culture.
This links to the second challenge, that we've been doing a bad job of translation. Dan Ariely points out in Predictably Irrational (as Faris has pointed out) that we live in two worlds, one made up of social exchanges and the other of market exchanges. We've tended to try and translate commercial grammar into social grammar, and done a pretty bad job. Perhaps, we should instead be looking at translating social grammar back into the world of business; start with social grammar and work back from that rather than try to awkwardly co-exist. Looking back, this is what we did at M! with Napster - the social grammar of music helped us understand the real business problem Napster faced.
The final challenge I've talked about before is the pursuit of the wrong objectives. You tend to fail when you are heading in the wrong direction, and that is I believe what we have been doing with our desire to chase goals of awareness, persuasion, image, etc. A much better goal is the goal of energy or momentum (as all the data in 'The Brand Bubble' points out).
I then went into what this means for the type of stuff we create and what planning can do to help this. I've said a lot of that stuff before but one thing that seemed to spread on the live stream on Monday was the thought that it's not about social media, it's about social ideas. Much bigger than a channel of delivery, and I believe a different way of thinking about brands and their communication.