Day Two of FUSE was a marathon of dense lectures. Tons of case studies, anecdotes, motivational quips, and “yes we can” moments were driven home by every speaker. But we in the audience were simply listening, being talked at.

The third day is for discussion. Not simply the evolution of the Q&A following a talk, we’re here talking about the big issues in our industry and how it will affect our day-to-day in the future.

Issues to discuss? Spec work, of course. The ongoing need to defend our profession from the snipers and tire-kickers looking to get free work. Do they not understand what we do as a professional service? Or are they just cheap?

Also on the agenda, partnering with clients rather than being hired for projects at a time. Over the long term, only a partnership between clients and agencies will yield work that is on-brand, and aligned with whatever strategies have been devised.

Brand value is also on the mind. Not only in terms of dollars, but in that hard-to-quantify mystique and trust that brands build over time. Agencies and clients alike must invest in their work to build brand value over time. This isn’t an overnight process (we’ll leave that for the advertising folks).

Today, we’ve already heard one panel discussion, and will hear at least one other interview-style “conversations with”, which I look forward to. More is often revealed when not standing behind a podium, with rehearsed presentation. And in the spirit of openness and honesty, isn’t that what we’re really after?

So, let’s get talking.

I need coffee first.