Steve Jobs. Google. The former Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King. Game, the high street retailer for gamers and one of the ‘fastest’ companies in the UK to go from bankruptcy to being re-listed on the stock exchange. What is common between them? A big Organising Idea.
The evening session of Day 3 was led by 101 London and the agency client Game to discuss the concept of the organising idea and its potential to influence a business and its legacy.


Fred Prego, Marketing Director, Game
Laurence Green, Founding Partner, 101
Clare Hutchinson, Partner & Head of Strategy, 101
Mark Elwood, Founding Partner & Creative Director, 101

Every CEO, every business needs an organising idea, a direction and not just a brand idea that just decorates but organises, said Clare who kicked off the evening and called The Organising Idea the “champion’s league of briefing.”


Most agency briefs originate from marketing departments and then make their way to the agencies and communications departments. But with an organising idea, the brief is originated from the CEO or the company idea and vision. An idea that could be a brand’s time-honoured platform and one that serves not just as the consumer proposition but also as a driving force for both the business and the marketing activities.

Laurence stated that the organising idea delivers brutal clarity along with an uncompromising filter for ideas because it guides how a brand expresses itself and it articulates the company values. For the marketing department, an organising idea has the power to be its “north star.”

Laurence presented Game as the living breathing example of a company that appointed the agency and asked for a higher order of idea that needed to explore three of its key business aims:
Identity (Game’s reasons to exist)
Footfall (Customers’ reason to go to Game)
Purchase (Customer reasons to buy)

When Fred Prego first joined Game 2.5 years ago, his challenge was how to re-build the business into the most valuable community of gamers and more crucially how Game should behave as a retailer.

2 Does game still exist

Game sells other people’s products and its biggest asset is its staff – majority of whom are gamers, making Game, with 320 stores in the UK, the only specialists for the gaming community. 101’s organising idea was – ‘We are gamers, for gamers’. The idea – which has subsequently been included in Game’s annual report – had buy in from the marketing department, the CEO, and the staff. Fred added that the idea not only dictates the behaviour of the brand but has also informed the acquisition strategy for the business.

CEO 3What are the key tools required for a ‘great’ organising idea?

• The idea exists in the space that defines a brand’s purpose.
What are you best at in the world? What is your brand’s problem?

Find the right balance
The idea has to be not only memorable but also informative. If it sounds too clever, it probably isn’t.

Test it
Is it simple as an idea or too complex?
Does it drive creative across the business?
It is timeless?
Is it naturally discriminating?

Take it out for a spin
Agree core business needs the idea needs to address
Does it resonate with the staff? With the staff who are stacking shelves, for instance?
Is it generative and dies it give you lots of ideas?

Plant it somewhere fertile
Ask for feedback and ‘water’ your idea regularly

Get organised with an organising idea. You reputation might just depend on it.

A note of caution, however, from Laurence. An organising idea is borne out of a key point of change, and not every brief can be around an organising idea. Organising idea briefs are special.

For further reading: 101 – The CEO’s Best Friend
By Sonoo Singh on behalf of ISBA/IPA



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