Written by Roger Jackson,
January 30th, 2023 | Category Management

Is the most important part of the category strategy team away day the lunch?


17th century master Baldassarre Francschini brings us insight with his masterpiece, “La sfida dell’obiettivitĂ ” – translates as “the objectivity challenge”.

As you can see, the team (I’d assume marketing and sales combined, marketing I’d guess in the red socks?) are now taking a break from their flip charts and Powerpoint for a light lunch. Very satisfied with their strategy thinking so far.

But this is the moment, captured so vividly, when the gnarly research manager (on the right) brings his challenge “but where’s the objective evidence?” You can tell he is the researcher because of the allegorical use of the jug representing “overflowing wisdom” and the knife representing “cutting to the truth”.

You can see the shocked reaction. Ranging from anger to laughter. They really don’t want to have to revisit their work, clearly.


The researchers’ point, I’d surmise, was simply this: we may ourselves feel this is the right way to create growth in the category, but to persuade our retail buyers to action our plan we will need more than a few flip charts and nice slides. We will need objective facts.

One can also get the message about why lunch matters. It’s a time to step back and make sure we are not disappearing down a rabbit hole of our own imaginings. Does the plan look as good after lunch as it did before? As important as a few pheasant legs or such like.


I enjoy understanding more about the long history of our profession (see our previous post about category management) and it’s always rewarding when I find it so well represented in museums in Florence.

Or at least, I think that’s what this is about? With art it’s sometimes hard to tell 🤔