WHAT 3 SKILLS SHOULD A GOOD PLANNER POSSESS?
1. Persistence – no matter the insight or strategy, you’re going to have to keep pushing. It’s exhausting sometimes but you will get to better work if you are stubborn enough to not let go.
2. Cynicism – I’ve got a healthy unhealthy relationship with advertising, which I’ve always felt helps me get to an answer that won’t feel disconnected from the real world.
3. Curiosity – I want to know everything about my clients and their industry. You need separate yourself from your world and jump into theirs to really dig out the best approach.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PERFECT AGENCY (IF YOU COULD CREATE IT FROM SCRATCH)?
People. It’s obvious but folks who are interesting, progressive and playful. As well as some wonderful suits who help keep us all in line.
Lots of wall space. I’ve really come to love our approach at 360i to getting data and insights up on the walls to review daily.
Open hiring policy. Some of my favourite teammates are people who don’t have the obvious background to flourish in advertising, but as my journalism course leader said at my university open day ‘you don’t need to do this course to get a job in journalism’.
Perks… glorious perks and good air conditioning.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT SO FAR?
I’ve had quite a range of interesting experiences. Managing a live launch of an LG phone in Seoul with five men in suits constantly watching over my shoulder. Working with 33 European markets for Toyota and helping them do the best possible social media. Whirlwind trips including the chaos and magnitude of shooting at European motor shows. Definitely not forgetting the two-year project that was Cravendale’s Epic Straws, an on-pack loyalty scheme that we created from scratch and managed relentlessly.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRINGE WHENEVER YOU THINK OF IT?
The launch event of Tidal music. Madonna straddling the table. Deadmau5 just standing there. Chris Martin via Skype. It should never, ever, be forgotten.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The rush towards individualized advertising. I believe tech and data can do wonders for creativity and make it even more relevant but I think as an industry there’s a danger we jump to use the information, formats and technology, but end up with lazy creative. A bus stop that tells consumers that because it’s a colder day a coffee would satisfy their commute is smart, but let’s not lose the human insight because we can dynamically adjust our output.
WHO OR WHAT IS THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER & WHY?
I’ve worked with some brilliant people but really Edinburgh has had the biggest impact. I studied there but also got my first job in PR straight after. The scene was and is confident and inspiring where people genuinely support each other. I can’t remember any competitiveness amongst agencies and the social side was 100% organic & delightful. I got to meet people not just from all walks of advertising, but technology, publishing and charity. We also used our weekly meetups to simply talk about things we found interesting, rather than trying to network. I’ve always thought that was a great starting block.
See more from our 'Planners Unmasked' series here