A Day in the Life of a Planner

Conor Barry

6th January 2015
What's your official job title?

Planner at Forever Beta

How would you describe to your parents/grand parents what you do?

I think about how a brand or product is perceived, and how we could change that perception to make the company more commercially successful.

How would you actually describe what you do?

I think about how a brand or product is perceived, and how we could change that perception to make the company more commercially successful. (I’m not funny enough to use those two questions together in a comical way.)

Please could you write a sentence or two on what you were doing at the following times today/yesterday?
9am

Monday morning, we’re away presenting to a client our first thoughts on a value proposition project. Finally learning not to rush through my bit.

11am

Catching up with creatives, primarily because they are all friendly and nice, partly to check if the creative on projects I’m involved with are still on strategy. I find approaching the process with the creatives as ‘helping and collaborating’, rather than ‘assessing and redirecting their work’, produces better work and relationships.

1pm

Scribbling in an A3 pad (I love paper), trying to figure out what is the problem we are trying to solve with the value prop project. What’s the audience’s mindset before they are exposed to our message, what will sway them, what do we have to play with brand or product wise, how could a future proposition work beyond just a headline on a business page.

3pm

Four A3 pages down, trying to group random thoughts together and build an insight that isn’t obvious nor abstract; Something that when you read you have to reflect on for 5 seconds, before completely agreeing with it. I find intellectual, theoretically sound but ultimately unreal insights are worse than having none at all. I used to think they were the sign of a smart planner and everyone else was too dumb to get it. I’ve learnt that a smart planner says something everyone can get.

5pm

Writing this

7pm (or whatever time your work day generally ends)

Being Monday, and more to the point, me being the oldest 24 year old you’ll ever meet, all I have planned is trying to read ‘Thinking fast and slow’ at a greater pace than 1 page every 10 minutes.

If you left your job right now, what wouldn't happen as a result?

Payment

What's the most interesting thing you've done in the last month?

Genuinely the APG Essential Planning Course. Great to have a time in the week when I will be surrounded by people enthusiastic about planning, both mentors and delegates.

What's the worst thing you've done in the past month?

Being bullied into having to admit out loud that I do in fact ‘love my girlfriend’, to three of the partners, on a crowded, quiet train. Really awful stuff.

What are you wearing today?

Doc Martin feet, uniqlo body.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give someone trying to get your job?

Think Tinder. Be bold and reach out to people online. Humbly ask for an informal meeting, like a lunchtime coffee. I found people are really open about meeting wide-eyed planners in the making. You’ll learn a lot from both the person you meet and in the prep of asking yourself questions, and it could turn into an internship or job.

What's the one thing you wish you'd known before you started?

What EDM stood for. I mean really, there are way too many acronyms for an industry glittered with dyslexic people.

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