I was fortunate to stumble upon a great presentation from Heidi Hackemer (big thanks to Neil Perkin) on her experience as an ad planner. Â What certainly resonated most for me was the need for planners to bring a fresh perspective to a campaign. Planners by and large have access to the same reports, the same tools, and the same broad principles of what planning should be. But the real value of planning comes from divergent thinking. From taking those same reports and weaving a perspective that is unique to the planner and their view on the world.
This ability to connect the dots, to find coherence from a variety of seemingly unconnected sources, reminds me of Sir Ken RobinsonÂ on creativity and education. In it, he talks about the modern world’s obsession with a linear narrative – the belief that if you go to a good school you will get a good job etc. But here’s the thing what if every planner in London, went to a good school, went to good university, and went straight into planning? The chances are you would end up with consistently good advertising, but limiting the opportunity for great thinking that only comes from an outside perspective.
In an earlier post I described the 7 points on planning as described by Jon Steel. Point 5 was to have an experience of real life. Get out of the office to experience the real world and understand the people you want to experience.
By all means read every recommended guide to planning, but it’s the stuff outside of planning that makes great planners.