Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Really. Seriously. Honestly, what do planners do?

When people ask me what I do in advertising, everyone gets it if I were to say 'Client Servicing' or 'Copywriter' or 'Art Director' or 'Media' or 'Production'.  Most often than not, I just get a blank look when I say 'Planner'.  No one knows what we do.  Heck, even some within our own office don't know what we do.  While some people bitch about Servicing as being the 'high-class' messenger, we are infamously known as the 'expert' Powerpoint writer.

It's total bullshit.

What I do is I PLAN.  I solve problems.  Any problems.  Period.  Full stop.  You have a problem?  You come to me.  I give you a solution.  And that solution has a plan.  It consists of an idea that has a concise strategy to help you get out of your rut hole (Point A) and into dreamland (Point B).  Wherever your Point A is, wherever your Point B is.  It doesn't matter.  Sometimes, we can give you an even bigger plan and suggest the third point.  Point A to Point B to Point C to Point Whatever.  Till you say stop.  Small planners, small journey.  Big planners, big journey.  Simple as that.

There's no job in planning.  Planning is living.  If you're a good problem solver in life, you're a good problem solver at work.  Problems are problems, big or small.  What a planner lives on, he or she feeds back into their work.  So, there's no 9 to 5 job, it's a round-the-clock work because a planner is perpetually living, breathing and most importantly learning.  What a planner learns is oxygen (amazingly well put by fellow planner, Heidi Heckemer) to the agency.  The oxygen that's needed for the ultimate first spark of light (yes, pun intended).  Without that oxygen, there's nothing.

I'm not a workaholic.  I might seem like I'm thinking all the time.  That's because I enjoy learning.  You can't learn if you're not thinking, no? (that's why our education system failed so terribly).  So people may mistaken me as a workaholic.  Well, yea.  Whatever.

In reality, there's no such thing as a 'junior' planner.  Or planning manager, or director, or chief planner.  A planner is a planner.  You're either a planner or you're not.  A good planner or you're not.  Levels don't define how good you are, it just defines how old you are (defers maybe only in some exceptional cases).  But I guess, it's a way for management to safeguard the planning lineage in agencies.  Therefore, they need to photocopy the planning director into many little planners so that they can make more money.  Makes perfect economic sense and I'm not complaining.  But I think planning directors are just highly misunderstood.  That's all I'm saying.  I'm not interested in intellectual masturbation with C-executives.  I'm here to solve problems.  Directorship sets a diplomatic restrain on you, that's all (say that, don't say that, say that, don't say that).  It's no biggie.  Don't like?  Leave.  Be a planning nomad :) (that's my dream job actually.  And now that I've mentioned it, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOU READ THAT TERM HERE FIRST.  TQVM).

I have a confession.  I have trouble following rules or systems to be specific.  I can't work in a cookie cutter.  I can't live in a pigeon-hole.  That makes me unstable and that always gets me into trouble.

BIG SMILE.  Sorry, can't help it.  Learning is a dotted-life (credit Steve Jobs).  Hold that thought!  Did you just imagine some black dots on a straight line?  Whether horizontal or vertical?  Hmm.  You know what dalmatians are?  Well, that's what I'm talking about.  Sporadic dots (who says it must always be a line!).  I get suffocated, unhappy, bordering depression if I'm locked within 4-walls.  Not 4 physical walls (I don't really care about physicality) but my light gets dimmer if I'm tied down by systems.  Linear methods.  You must do this and this and this because it's this and this and this.  You must be in by 9am.  I don't really care what time I come to work but to sit in the jam for 2 hours simply don't make any common sense to me.  I defy inefficient systems.  So.  I don't come in to work at 9.  As long as I'm in when I'm needed then problem solved.  You get me now?  Yea, planning nomad.

I get suffocated if I can't travel.  If I can't go and see the world, talk to people and consume their culture, I shrink.  Some people don't.  They retain their original size.  But I will shrink.  I don't why it happens, but it happens.  I'm not sure if it's gonna work as well if you tell me to 'grow up', cause trust me, I told myself that gazillion times before.  But it doesn't work.  On the contrary.  Every time I travel, my mind grows.  It stretches itself so much to carry the excitement back to my team.  My excitement literally bursts out from me.  I wanted to share with them what I saw, who I met, what I did because I have all these great ideas that would make for great problem-solutions.  Without getting out there, my sight dims.  And I will lose the love for my work.  The love for solving problems.  The love for learning.  The love for living.

That's what I do.

That's what a planner does.

And now, I'm gonna share with you a really simple but profound slideshow from Heidi, another planning nomad.  And right after this.  I'm gonna share the link with my bosses.  It feels like these are the words which I've always wanted to tell them but never knew how.  Well, now that a planner has expertly put it into a Powerpoint, I should just click 'send'.  PTL for Slideshare.  Enjoice :)

planning, creativity & planning for creative campaigns

View more presentations from Heidi Hackemer


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  2. The comment has been deleted before I got to it... bummer... (sorry, I just had to!)