WHAT 3 SKILLS SHOULD EVERY GOOD PLANNER POSSESS?
1. Be agile.
Before I became a strategist I had this perception of planning as a long, thoughtful journey, where weeks would be spent conducting focus groups, dissecting ethnographic research and writing up briefs.
However, starting out in the fast-paced digital agency world, time is often a precious commodity, which means the ability to be agile in the ways you work has become increasingly important.
2. Be in a constant state of learning.
Go beyond the laptop and beyond the office if you want to understand your client’s consumers. Watch people, observe what goes on around you, keep an eye on even the smallest shifts in culture.
3. The ability to communicate ideas.
Another thing that I always notice with successful strategists is an innate ability to be storytellers.
It goes beyond creating pretty powerpoint slides, it’s the ability to present your thinking in a way that excites creatives and gets every client in the room furiously nodding their heads.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PERFECT AGENCY?
(if you could create it from scratch)
Location: Ideally by a beach in Montauk or Melbourne, but London or New York will suffice.
Amenities: Barista, office cat
Import some of that flat hierarchy from Scandinavia.
Keep a few desks free and invite startups to come work from the office, so you’re not always surrounded by ad people.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR?
Working on new business pitches that turn into wins has been very exhilarating.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work on the kind of campaigns that have, in one way or another, shaped culture rather than just respond to it, where we’ve made stuff that people really like and want, and that’s when this job gets really rewarding.
WHO OR WHAT IS THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER AND WHY?
Sounds a bit stupid now, but I watched Mad Men religiously as a teenager, and that’s what first made me consider applying for an internship at a creative shop when I was 17. Don Draper essentially got me to where I am today.
Then, of course, I would have to say the great minds of the WAS strategy team. They’ve taught me basically everything I know about strategy, and made it ridiculously fun as well.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR CULTURE? ON OR OFF-LINE? WITH OR WITHOUT SUGAR?
I’m an avid consumer of films, TV shows and Instagram and also subscribe to too many newsletters. On the weekend I try to minimise screen time, so an ideal Sunday involves buying a stack of magazines and weekend editions to sift through.
YOU FAVOURITE CAMPAIGN?
The Guinness Surfer ad. A relic from a golden time when ads would stir the emotions of an entire nation and become admired as icons of culture. As an industry I think we can still achieve this, we just have to work harder for it.
Check out more from our Planners Unmasked series