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A Day in the Life of a Planner

Julian Saunders

Girl Behind a Sheet
12th February 2015
What's your official job title?

Strategist in The Zoo at Google

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

Help brands make effective and innovative use of digital platforms in general and especially Google platforms. This work is normally a collaboration with the Brands agencies

How would you actually describe what you do?

I apply human and cultural insights in a creative way to communications and branding challenges, to help clients build better businesses.

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

Cycle from Dulwich Village to Central St Giles - where The Zoo is based. Then read emails, follow links to interesting stuff other Zooglers have uncovered. This is normally both instructive and entertaining.


Review the output from a workshop I have just run for a brand and its creative and media agencies. Write up how I see the definition of the role for digital platforms and share with agencies for comment. Team meeting with fellow Zoo strategists to review a new data analysis tool that one of our data analysts has created. Work out how we can use it.


Quick brainstorm on content ideas for a brand using the Hero/Hub/Hygiene format - which appears to be getting traction in agencies. Then lunch in the Google Canteen. Sea Bass and veg. It’s free restaurant standard food at Google so I am showing restraint for fear of putting on the Google Stone.


Go for a walk - I normally have an idea or two on a walk. Work on content and structure for an internal training workshop for brand planning that we are running across Northern Europe. This is a team effort with Jani and Laz on the strategy team.


Conference call with an agency with which we are collaborating to review the slides for presentation to brand senior management. Strategy team meeting-we are developing an internal knowledge sharing tool. Read loads of emails, send some and work out what I have to do tomorrow. Review some presentations shared by other Zooglers- lots of stimulation.

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

Sortee out into Soho to meet my son for a drink. Then cycle back to Dulwich in the dark, bike lit up like a fairy tree.

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

There are loads of bright and brainy types wanting to join Google so I don't think the company would struggle to replace me.

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

Went to the Rembrandt exhibition at The National Gallery.

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

Deal with my late fathers effects.

What are you wearing today?

Cords and jumper.

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

Observe and be interested in human behaviour in all its forms and work out how it can be the basis for an idea. (I am making the assumption that you already live and breathe digital - and are excited by its potential for innovation).

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

My data analysis skills need brushing up.

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