Friday, October 21, 2011

Jon Steel on what makes good strategic planning

I found this excellent post on Thank you!!

"7 Points On Planning by Jon Steel of WPP

  1. Be useful. The real value of a planner is problem solving and coming up with simple solutions. Cleverness is simply a means to an end.
  2. Bring out the best in other people. Act as a catalyst for others by providing the conditions for informed creative thought.
  3. Be a linchpin, not only between people but also between brands and the audience they connect with.
  4. Have a deep understanding of human motivations and instincts.
  5. Have an experience of real life. Get out of the office to experience the real world and understand the people you want to experience.
  6. Create a working timetable both within and outside the office to best generate ideas and insights.
  7. Whether analogue or digital, the main task of any planner is understanding basic human communication.
I love this and wish more agencies here in Australia dared to work this way. Like in any industry - or church, political party or sports team - people in a group tend to stick together, copy each other and fit in. They will create their own language and dress style, and they will do their best to protect their territory. Unfortunately this leads to lack of true insights about the real world, something that will weaken the work. Adland plays hard at the same bars. They read each others tweets and laugh at each others jokes.  They work hard at the same office until they can´t keep their eyes open, and definitely not go out and meet other people, outside the industry.

Yeah, I´m not much better. I do it too. If I don´t I´ll be cut out. Strangers, foreigners or people with the wrong kind of sneakers - you´re Fired!

To make it personal, I´ve got 14 years of experience (7 in agencies) in media and communication in Sweden, which one would think is useful (at least I get hunted for kick-ass jobs back home). But recruiters here in Australia look at me and say "but have you worked in Australia?" and I bring up my year of freelancing here and they nod - "yeah, now we´re talking... perhaps I can get an internship? You are after all a risk" (!)

Don´t take it as harsh critique. I love you all, and I´m the same, but I will always aim to improve and grow: Step out, take a breathe of fresh air, be daring. Say hello to the world, read something unexpected, spook myself out of the little comfort zone. Smile when others frown, ask myself itchy questions, get surprised. I´m not perfect, but I´d wish to be the best I can be.

Are you with me? :)

- seek insights in the real world (no focus groups with people from the Pyrmont office)
- hang out with people who work with other things (a different type of agency doesn´t count)
- read a magazine you´ve never read before
- step out of the office early and look at people around you, chat with the wait staff and someone who is 20 years younger or 20 years older than you

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