A Day in the Life of a Planner
30th April 2015
What's your official job title?
Creative Brand Strategist (freelance) in Amsterdam
How would you describe to your parents/grand parents what you do?
I help brands to discover what they essentially have to offer to their clients and I help the creative folk within ad agencies to translate this essence into advertising. I do this by writing a really concise document in which all the relevant information about the brand, its market, its clients and its competitors is summarized. This a is both informative and inspirational and thus allows the creatives to start being creative straight away - rather than first having to do the extensive research and the funneling down of all the information gathered.
How would you actually describe what you do?
See above - only more concisely and with more jargon. What I haven't described above is that I also am the chief editor of an advertising blog (Amsterdam Ad Blog) and that I've written a book about creativity (Defining Creativity) since I am a freelancer.
Please could you write a sentence or two on what you were doing at the following times today/yesterday?
Check News/Facebook/Twitter, answer heaps of emails, write a blogpost, swim for half an hour.
Exploratory brainstorm at ad agency about a possible positioning/proposition for a brand they've recently landed. Try to ditch a very persistent sales lady that wants to sell me a masterclass in New York. Lunch with former colleague.
Prepare a workshop for a brand that wants to re-position itself (gather market/consumer insights, make competitive analysis, etc.)
Meeting with someone that wants to co-organise an event with Amsterdam Ad Blog. Have a beer with agency for possible freelance job.
Answer emails, summarize the talk I had with someone that wants to collaborate with the APG Netherlands to introduce a new strategy course, call and mail a bookshop in New York and ask if they want to buy a box of my books - that unfortunately arrived to late when I was doing lectures at NYU and Columbia a few weeks ago.
7pm (or whatever time your work day generally ends)
Pooped. Dinner. Watch House of Cards.
If you left your job right now, what wouldn't happen as a result?
The world wouldn't end. Seriously; I think it actually would be a wise decision. I've been freelancing for 7 years now and am ready for something new. Something that is more scalable. I might start a brand positioning agency.
What's the most interesting thing you've done in the last month?
I spoke at TEDxBostonUniversity - about the paradox of the creative insight in creative collaborations. Strategy-wise; re-position a mobile provider.
What's the worst thing you've done in the past month?
Be my own book agent. Strategy-wise; answer a really wide question for a brand; "Can you tell us something about the Dutch health insurance market"
What are you wearing today?
Jeans (Levis), simple Topman sweater and Nike Airmax.
What's the one piece of advice you'd give someone trying to get your job?
Don't do it! (unless you have unlimited amounts of energy, are very disciplined and don't mind networking/selling yourself)
What's the one thing you wish you'd known before you started?
There's nothing, really. Being a freelance strategist has been better than expected because it brought me so much more than just being a strategist. I've done entrepreneurial things that I would have never been able to do when working fulltime for a 'boss'.