People are the Brand Planner’s Product.

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I had an exploratory meeting last week with a brand planner I really admire who heads up an agency I really admire. We discussed what it means to be a classically trained planner (I’m not, she is) and her take was “It’s over-rated.” Old school recruiters care, but it is not what makes a great planner.

Of course one’s personal story is important. Why a brand planner? How a brand planner? I used to think good planners had a special ear; hearing things others didn’t. I still believe that, yet the big difference-maker is in the heart. My planning friend made that clear. The heart allow for empathy, excitement and succor when it comes to listening, learning and understanding. When interviewing targets and segments, these qualities get people to open up.  It is the heart that asks keywords that uncover inner motivations. Big data can then follow, but it doesn’t start with data.

In the advertising world, creatives care about art, ads, ideas. Marketers care about sales, share, effectiveness and brand. Planners, 10 years after the fact, remember people, interviews and insights. People are the planner’s product. Peace.