Before Christmas, I went along to an APG Noisy Thinking event, where young planners discussed the question: ‘What would you do if you were Chief Strategy Officer?’
Some great ideas on shaking up the planning world, and changing (or even braking) some of the rules were shared. Here are my main take outs:
1. Planning punch ups
Within the agency environment, creatives are often asked to pitch against each other to present the best idea for a specific brief.
It was suggested that a similar kind of system could be applied to how planners work, which I think would be really interesting. Time and budget pressures sometimes mean we aren’t able to think about and test numerous different strategies; by bringing in a competitive element and getting planners to fight for their strategy, you might well strengthen the ideas on the table even further.
2. Focus on selling
This was a really key point for me. One speaker presented a twist in the focus on our role, suggesting that we should, above all, be concerned with selling in work.
There’s no point coming up with a great strategy if you can’t sell in your idea and get clients to understand the importance of strategy as a whole. At Code, we work very closely with our new business team so we can understand the needs of our client to make sure we pitch exactly the right kind of work to them and that we’re 100% confident in our ideas.
3. Planning is special
One of the speakers talked about how much she loved what she does; how what her team does inspires work within the agency and she loves seeing this delivered. While I definitely agree, I think it’s important to remember how important a collaborative approach is. You come up with the best strategic solutions by working with other teams such as UX.
4. Stop trying to predict the future
Another speaker talked about how sometimes we become too focussed on all of the crazy things we might be able to do in the future, trying to predict what will happen in 2050. He highlighted that instead our focus should be on the changing consumer in the here and now.
The main takeout for me was to maintain focus on the consumer. Though this is nothing new, it’s important to be reminded of this, as sometimes all the background noise around latest trend, buzzword or technology sometimes threatens to get in the way.