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Salmon Theory

Micro wisdom for modern marketers.

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🍣 Is synthetic research a real sweet deal?

Hey friend – Rob here. The other week, i asked this to the Friends of Salmon Theory private group: "Hello! What are our thoughts on synthetic research? I feel like writing a little thing on them so collecting hot takes 💣 (pleasantly warm takes also accepted)" By synthetic research, i mean the likes of Synthetic Users, Evidenza, and others. (By the way, you can hear good and thoughtful interviews with the respective founders here and here.) And reader, yet again the group did not disappoint....
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🍣 What's the biggest question in strategy?

Hey friend – Rob here. Sometimes writing this newsletter just feels... fun. And that, for me, is a greater marker of success than it ever feeling perfect. Optimise for smiles, not secret hacks. Today is the usual medley of micro things, free for all. Later this week i'm dropping a Salmon Theory+ exclusive on synthetic research. Enough intro, let's get into it! Get sight of your team's performance. I've teamed up with seasoned team lead (and friend of Salmon Theory) Arthur Perez to create...
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🍣 How to turn Claude AI into a strategy buddy

Hey friend – Rob here. Here's something counter-intuitive i've been realising since starting Salmon Labs. Running your own business means you finally take your own strategic recommendations seriously. It's easy to say "do brand building before sales" without having felt the struggle of balancing the two. It's far more powerful to advise based on what you've experienced yourself. Without false modesty, i can honestly say this newsletter has been my brand building channel for years. The...
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🍔 How McDonald's won hearts without hamburgers

Hey friend – Rob here. Last week i wrote about how Heinz's red hot work is working. Based on new Salmon Theory+ subscribers, that seems to have struck a chord! So, let's continue with our journey into the comforting world of effectiveness. (That magical place where all the uncertainty of our contributions as strategists gets... er, less uncertain.) And today, we're talking about McDonald's. Specifically, some of their wonderfully entertaining and eyebrow raising work from last year. So what's...

🍣 How Heinz's red hot work is working

Hey friend – Rob here. I keep going back and forth between how much i pack into this newsletter. And then i realise, i fucking hate long newsletters, so who am i to produce one? Especially when i get feedback like this: "Thank you, Rob... for likely the most authentic advertising newsletter out there." No, thank you Brian, this truly does mean a lot. So yeah, remember kids: always write the things you'd want to read. 💌 This week on Salmon Theory: The problem with urging positivity Reduce...
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🍅 How Heinz's red hot work is working

Hey friend – Rob here. Cannes Lions, yay! But did any of the work actually, er, work? Well, this is why my favourite section of their entire affair is the Creative Effectiveness Lions. So, i spent some time dissecting the winners and bring to you les super petit summaries over the next few weeks. Let's start with Heinz. Love the Heinz body of work from the past few years. And love to see the results now starting to be attributed to it. 🚨 What was the problem? Heinz brand relevance (and...

🍣 Ten (more) strategy studio lessons

Hey friend – Rob here. One thing i recently realised about my grief. I cry for my mum almost every day, but i rarely wipe the tears. I don't want them to leave me, because they are a part of me. They dry up, i absorb them, and grow through them. No shame in accepting that suffering is: The sacrifice you take for having loved and been loved A powerful fuel to create new meaningful things On which note, enjoy this week's edition. Ps. People have said nice things about our neurodivergence piece,...
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📝 Ten (more) strategy studio lessons

Hey friend – Rob here. I've been slowing down (work, life, grief), but for a while i was having a lot of chats with smart people. People to whom i brought a very simple set of questions that gravitated around this: "What do most people overlook about consulting?" This is a collection of micro thoughts based on those conversations. 📝 Ten (more) strategy studio lessons 1. "What would you want to build?" is a phenomenally underrated question Maybe even before "what is the brief". It makes it...

🍣 How do you integrate minus the insanity?

Hey friend – Rob here. You may notice some, er, aesthetic changes around here. That's because i am rebranding Salmon Labs and Salmon Theory! (Massive shoutout to Nicole Tan for being excellent to work with.) I'm super happy with where we got to, and still forever tinkering with new brand applications. What else is going on? Oh yes: Week 4 of consulting at Droga5 London. Working on one of their biggest clients as global brand strategy lead. Absolutely loving it. Smart team. Smart clients. Nice...

🍣 Is Cannes Lions good for our mental health? (revisited)

Hey friend – Rob here. I had a whole newsletter prepared for you. And then i remembered... d'oh, it's Cannes Lions season! So i wanted to be a biiiiiit more topical instead. Looking at the archives, it made sense to re-publish (and mildly adapt) something i wrote last year. About Cannes Lions, mental health, and... well, just read it below. The usual weekly newsletter is coming later in the week. But in the meantime, come reflect with me... 🤔 Is Cannes Lions good for our mental health? I’ve...

Micro wisdom for modern marketers.