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The Uber Planner

What do you get when you put an account planner, marketing intelligence person, strategic analyst, connections planner, and a digital strategist into a room together…

A nerd fest? A strategic stew of over thinking? A creative person’s worst nightmare? Or how about a migraine, as a result of all those big brains coming together?

Well, maybe.

But then again, it’s just possible that the dynamic interaction between planners, data analysts, media and connections strategists and digital thinkers – and beyond, can result in something really amazing.

Based on my own personal experiences from the last 24 months at Mullen, I strongly believe that the strategic collaboration between these types of great minds working together can glean some highly powerful and really potent strategic insight. And here’s why.

Imagine for a moment, when the insight-mining factions within an agency structure are orchestrated in a way to collectively work together to yield new and different ways to connect the dots – think about what could that lead to:

  1. An understanding of how a brand’s highest potential consumer engages with media, technology and content
  2. A perspective of how to link a consumer perception with a behavior to yield an accelerated rate of success
  3. The potential to mine insights in a new way from studying the business, brand, competition, consumer, culture, and connections possibilities
  4. A way to unlock the secrets of how to drive enhanced brand relevance and consumer receptivity
  5. The means to more precisely target consumers and build participative communities
  6. A compelling idea that’s born out of the intersection between a consumer experience and a brand purpose

For me, what’s really exciting is that this intertwined process involving the best strategic minds can help to take the definition of planning to another level.

For a more traditionally-structured agency, it means there’s huge untapped potential to harness intra-disciplinary collaboration to enhance strategic output.

For the classically-trained planner, this signals an opportunity to enhance their role and to reinvent how they think, in a way that encapsulates a more progressive view of “strategic planning.”

For Planning Directors and Chief Strategy Officers, it’s the dawn of a new era – and the time to develop a more integrated, dynamic and contemporary planning philosophy.

But now imagine, what if one person could do all that?

Think of the type of planner who could expand their minds to more broadly and deeply garner insights. Apply intuition and research rigor. Fuse lateral with linear sequential thinking. Switch from left-brain to right-brand problem solving. Be as comfortable with writing an allegory as they would an algorithm. And be naturally ambidextrous in how they operate.

I call them the Uber Planner.

And what’s already exciting is that many of them are already working amongst us at agencies across the country.  Just go to the Planningness conference this fall, South By South West, Future M or even the Boulder Digital Works, and you’ll probably bump into a few of them.

The Uber Planner: they can do it all – by operating as a purveyor of insight across multiple disciplines. They know how to conduct focus groups, do quant studies, use social media as a listening tool, apply ethnographic observation, think connections planning, mine data, and get digi- with-the-best of them; all before they switch gears to thinking about neuroscience or semiotics right after lunch.

For what planning can be and needs to be, the Uber Planner is the 21st century definition of what it will take to succeed, And so, if you’re one of them, that’s awesome, never stop learning and keep expanding your mind.

If you’re not amongst them, then perhaps it’s time to wise-up and shape-up.

If you’re looking to get into the planning-side of the agency business, then becoming an Uber Planner should be your goal.

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  1. Dara Schoenwald
    February 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Any word on planningness 2011?

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