My last post Where have all the Planners gone? about the lack of trained Junior and Midweight Planners round here (due to the lack of available training and opportunities for them) resonated with a few people Up North, particularly former Planner Chris McCash, now of Breadwinner. He offered to host a Planning get-together in Leeds to put our heads together and see if we could improve things.
So on a hot Wednesday evening three weeks ago in Leeds (life has got a bit hectic since then, hence the delay in writing anything about it) we all went to the pub for a chat. There were midweight Planners, newly anointed Planners, consulting Planners, prospective Planners, Planner-friendly researchers and other-side-of-the-Pennines Planners plus Chris and I.
It was a fascinating couple of hours. It seems my hunch that smaller or less traditionally focused agencies who want to have a Planner for the first time often don’t particularly want to pay for them to get better at Planning is very real. This is particularly worrying if someone has been promoted or moved sideways into the role, but have no-one to learn how to do it from. The aptitude to do the work and a passion for the work simply isn’t enough, there are skills that every planner needs like:
- How to sell work to clients
- How to choose a research agency and work with them
- How to write inspiring creative briefs
- Storytelling for pitch decks
- Working with data scientists and analysts
- How to lead and run a workshop
…and so on that you can’t really learn properly just from blogs and books.
So we’re going to do something about it. Starting in September, there will be roughly bi-monthly meetups where someone will give an informal talk or two covering a key Planning skill. Then we’ll have a drink, and a gossip, obviously. Chris has offered up ‘Planning for Shopper Marketing’, Trinity McQueen have proposed ‘Working with Your Research Agency’ and I think I’m going to do ‘Writing Great Creative Briefs’, which combined should see us through to Christmas.
Although several Leeds-based Heads of Planning couldn’t make it to the first one due to family or work commitments, at least three have said they’d like to come to future events. Which in itself should be enough to swell the numbers next time since they (and I) will be on the lookout for rising stars.
Image text taken from a quote apparently from HM The Queen – “It’s all to do with the training. You can do a lot when you’re properly trained”.