A day in the life of a Planner

So its day two of our 'day in the life' interviews, and today's interview is with Lucy, a Planner here at Code.

You may be reading this wondering what the role of a Planner entails, or you could be a Strategist intrigued to find out what it's like to be part of our team. If it's the latter we want to hear from you as we are currently looking for another awesome thinker to join Code -- find the information you need at the end of the interview.

Can you begin by telling us a bit about yourself, and your role in the agency?

My role in the agency has changed quite a lot in the last six months; I started off as a Producer, working on the Oxfam and NUS accounts., Before that I worked as an Account Manager at another agency.

I came here as I really wanted to work for Code, and I knew as soon as I got here that it was the place I wanted to be. But I realised pretty quickly that I actually didn't want to be a Project Manager as it wasn't really for me. I became involved with the Strategy team through some research tasks I was working on. I'd always found account planning interesting -- though it wasn't an area I had a great deal of experience in, I soon found I was really enjoying the work, so I kept on asking for more! After a while, I sat down with the Strategy team and it was decided that I would move across permanently.

I have been in my Planner role for around five months now and I absolutely love it. I feel like I have one of the best roles in the agency, as I get to work with all current as well as potential clients, which provide me with plenty of variety.

Could you describe a typical day in the office?

It's really hard to describe what I do on a day-to-day basis as it can be so different. Today, I am focusing on developing a presentation for a client meeting next week, where we will be presenting the findings of our research. I am condensing the key themes and findings, whilst also filtering down their audiences into user groups; from there, we identify opportunities within those groups to form recommendations.

Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day talking through research with Heg, our Planning Director, to identify the key findings. The rest of the week will be spent making sense of what we discovered and thinking of ways to present our findings to the client.

Another day, I could have a workshop where a client comes in and we ask them lots of questions about their business. Or I could be working with internal teams, such as the User Experience or Creative team, to ensure that we are following through on what we recommended at the start of the project. Me and Heg almost have to be 'bad cops' sometimes as we're responsible for making sure the work is delivered how it was intended. Client Services look after the client interests, whereas our focus in the Strategy team is to keep the end user or customer happy.

What key skills do you think are most important in a Planner?

You need to be a really big thinker, and be fine with not knowing exactly what the solution is when you are first involved at the start of the project. Each project is different and needs a different structure to get to the end solution. You never really know what the answer is until you arrive at it so you have to be quite patient and relaxed.

Listening and filtering is really important. You need to be able to extract the key information; it's the ability to get hold of those nuggets that is most important. Working well with other people in the agency is essential, too, so you need to be friendly and fun to work with!

Another thing is you need to be able to get information out of people -- I don't know everything, so I often need to draw on other peoples' experiences within the agency.

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Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I graduated four years ago from Manchester Uni. My degree is in Management and Marketing of Textiles, which suited me as it was half-creative and half-business. I then got a role at Amaze as an Account Executive, moved to Studio North as an Account Manager and then came to Code; I've been here over a year (and will hopefully be here for many years more!).

Do you have a favourite part of your job?

All of it. I know it sounds cheesy, but I do love my job. When I first started working at Code, I knew I had found the right agency. The people are great and the environment is really vibrant; it's just a really nice place to be. We went to Amsterdam for our Christmas party last year and we are going to Berlin this year -- the 'work hard, play hard' culture was a massive tick for me in terms of the type of place I wanted to work. And working here also allowed me to find my perfect role -- one I didn't even know I wanted to do before!

I know I will be here for years. I enjoy that I don't know what I am going to do every day, as I don't particularly like structure, I like not knowing what's going to happen next, and I don't mind not having the answers straight away. This job is also great as you really get to find out lots of interesting in-depth information about clients across a broad range of topics; for example, in the last couple of weeks I've learnt a lot about office partitioning and contemporary art!

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What do you find the most challenging?

For me it's presenting, because I haven't done it a lot in the past. It's getting up in front of people to tell them what I found that I find the most challenging. I do get nervous but know that it's something I will get better at with experience, but it's sometimes hard because I want to be great at it now.

Is there a campaign or piece of work that you are particularly proud of and why?

I'm really proud of the projects I am working on at the moment; I can't share them with you just yet as the work isn't going to be live for a few months.

How would you describe working for Code Computerlove?

It's not just a job; it's a place to build a career, and you find your mates for life here. It's one of those places where you just feel at home. I have always been quite ambitious, I've only been working for four years, but in that time I've moved when I haven't been happy; I knew the other places weren't quite right, but got some great experience along the way.

I have never worked anywhere before where I have felt this confident that it's the right place for me to be. I think it's the development culture here -- you know that you are going to continue to learn and improve. I love this role now but it wouldn't surprise me if in five years' time I end up doing something slightly different. Code is that adaptable -- you never really know what is going to be around the corner but you know that you are in a good place. The culture all stems from the directors who are three really nice, hardworking guys that are really passionate about what they do; I think that's why Code works.

What attributes are you looking for in a new team member?

We are looking for an experienced strategist that will fit in with the team. They should be confident talking to anyone, understand people, business and brands, tell a great story and make a good brew :).

Interested in becoming a Computerlover? Check out ourjobs page to view our current vacancies.


A day in the life of a Project Manager