January 18, 2012 5 Comments
At one point or another in their career, every account planner/strategist will write a blog post about how get into planning. I’ve “written” two and I put written in quotes because they’re really just re-blogs of other people’s posts on the subject. If you want my opinion on how to break into the field, see my earlier post “How to become a Planner.“
The latest in this series comes from my good friend Mitch Polatin who was a great help in my getting into planning. He was the first planner I worked with when I started out and he was more than eager to let me follow him around and do all sorts of planner-y things. Come to think of it, he may have just tricked me into doing his work for him in a very Huck Finn-ish way. But seriously, I owe Mitch quite a bit for helping me become the planner that I am today. So without further adieu, here’s Mitch’s take on how to become a planner, with come help from Rob Campbell:
You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?
I’m constantly getting questions about how to break into Strategic Planning, and honestly answering this is more difficult than responding to my 3-year-old son when he asks ‘Where does hair come from?’ The point being, there is no clear rhyme or reason, which is a beautiful thing. But we can sometimes get caught up in this mystery. A recent blog post by Rob Campbell, Asia regional head of planning for Wieden + Kennedy, caught my attention. Rob writes: ‘planners – love to make a big deal out of being curious…Let’s be honest, curiosity is a basic human trait and even if planners execute this more than the majority [which I'd say is open to debate] they’re no where near as curious as people in the finance, technology, R&D or criminal investigation industries, to name a few.” Rob is spot on. All too often we set up Planning as some form of creative Black Magic. Something that can’t be described or discussed –The first rule of Planning is: You do not talk about Planning. The second rule of Planning is: You do not talk about Planning. We Planners have no magic powers (other than being loquacious and absurdly profound at times). In fact, quite the opposite, we are ‘liberators’ as Rob succinctly writes. It is our role to help liberate our client business. Now, rather than being seen as the mysterious agency people who lurk in the background, Planners are the ones who release the hounds! There is something tangible here. But alas, how does this help us in regards to breaking into Planning. Well, we don’t need to frame it up as a special club only for the curious few — but we can introduce it as a club for those who truly want ‘to understand and represent our client audience.’
So, my advice?…Go to your cave and find your power animal.
For more from Mitch you can follow his blog Elevator “Door Close” Button’s Do Not Work.