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Let's get real

It has struck me forcibly of late how easy it is for all sorts of people to have lots of opinions about planning and strategy; to voice them loudly and even create a career out of voicing them. And the loudest, most persistent voices prevail. 


But I would argue that loud opinions are one thing and the experience of doing the job really well is something quite other. Planning is the best job in the world but it can be tough too. Even the most thoughtful and experienced toil away like the rest of us, grappling knotty and complicated issues, balancing arguments and guiding strategy as it faces its toughest test; confrontation with messy reality. 


So we think it’s important that the APG champions the grafters. That we listen most carefully to the brilliant people who are doing the job every day, getting it right but also getting it wrong. The people who are generous enough to want to share their wisdom and experience, prepared to be open about the good and the less good, so that we can all learn. The ones who will tell their war stories about what is happening right now rather than anecdotes from 2014.


We’re interested in what happens when jobbing strategists encounter messy reality; how they think, what guides their thinking and the conclusions they draw. Their all too untidy and real experiences can help us all have a more instructive and nuanced view about how to do this wonderfully complex and messy job. 

Noisy Thinking is back, with a hard question and some eminent DOERS doing the talking. 


Is Pre-testing Helping or Hindering Creativity? 19th March from 6.30pm-7.30pm at adam&eveDDB


This first one is a live debate between Jon Evans of System 1 and host of everyone’s favourite Uncensored CMO podcast, Sarah Carter of adam&eveDDB and author of APG’s How Not to Plan, and Craig Inglis of The Marketing Society and the client who created the John Lewis Christmas campaign.


You might think that the battle lines are set and you could predict what they’re going to say. But they have some points of view about pre-testing that might surprise you. Which one would you guess is sceptical about research? Who sits in the middle? And why is one such a keen research advocate? 


Chairing it, Martin Beverley, CSO of adam&eveDDB and co-Chair of the APG. He’ll get everyone talking about the ways in which research can help and hinder creative development so we can all make more effective work. I hope their reflections and experiences will give you some helpful real life ammunition for your client conversations.


Inspiring Conversations with Doers 


It’s sort of blindingly obvious but I’m almost taken aback by the diverse and fascinating ways that planners are using their creative strategy skills. And the more I talk to people who are using them in different ways, the more encouraged and inspired I become about the future of the discipline and those who ‘do’. In recent weeks I’ve had conversations with Liz Baines, agency Head of Planning now running Planning for Specsavers; Stuart Donovan on moving from creative agency brand planning to sports and marketing specialist; James Whatley on embracing the world of video games marketing and Sandie Dilger on starting as a Cadbury Client progressing to agency CSO. They are bursting with enthusiasm for the cross pollination of skills and ready to draw on their experiences, so another event you can sign up to now.


What can you do with your planning skills? with James Whatley and Stuart Donovan is on 27th March from 5.30pm-6.30pm online. I will be in conversation with them as they ply their brand planning expertise in video gaming and sports and entertainment. They have some fascinating reflections to share. Get your ticket here

Sarah Newman

APG Director


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