Monday, April 30, 2007

random touchpoints a brand can have

  • business cards
  • coasters
  • flyers
  • beer sleeves
  • bumper stickers
  • bathroom media
  • menus (rest. biz)
  • public spaces/properties - state & regional govts are looking for money from somewhere
  • blogs
  • craigslist
  • product packaging

What is media? I read today on whistle through your comb blogspot that EVEN people can be media. Makes you question what media really are and what their job really is.

Media is about communicating information. ok, prepare for a rant:
My friend Adelle today said that art is about a methodology. I think some art is about a method, say if it's about illustrating a period of time or a cultural movement, then there's certain information that goes into a piece like that. Well...if we think about smart advertising; it should take into account a lot of the information of the time period as well, to be effective in reaching the right people. ANYWAY, advertising is art is information is media. and account planning is the method by which advertising can make sense in the world. dar...maybe this is just a rant.

what type of planner are you?

GO HERE to learn more about connections planning and interactive strategy. Account planning is spreading its wings to encompass more than the ol adage definition.

I am trying to network with planners via their websites/blogs. Blogs are the best. Granted I have a lot of free time to donate to this relationship because I'm jobless. ;P

PLAN OF ACTION: find a blog, read it, comment on it, start a dialogue, call them to talk on the phone/in person, and see what happens.

Animated Creator

Took this personality test today, pretty cool.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


start a conversation...

might be easier over coffee, wine, or beer.

check it out.

Friday, April 27, 2007

find your voice

Think of it as building YOUR BRAND. What are your thoughts? What are you interested in? What image do you want to have? Do you have a mission?

At this junior stage, I encourage you to establish who you are (like in a relationship) before launching headfirst into an agency that might not be right for you. The environment and experience of an agency plays a key role in the work that will be produced. If you don't fit then most likely the work you create will suffer from a lack of synergy.

Think of the agency as a product and you are the consumer. You want the right product for you. You'd rather not waste time with a product that doesn't have all the features you think you need. Same thing with an agency: what are you looking for? Remember you need to be able to play.

But (isn't there always a but) we can't be picky at this stage....we are looking for that "in" and when it presents itself, we can't hesitate. Build your brand, look for the agency that loves it: if you build it, they will come.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Jonathan Schwartz has deemed this era The Participation Age ~ "an open and competitive network fuels growing opportunities for everyone to create value and independence. If the Information Age was passive, the Participation Age is active."

Be Active. PWOW (planning words of wisdom): find a group to brainstorm with, invite marketing/advertising/business profs to join you...

I was invited by the fabulous Lynette Xanders - a contact I have from an informational interview years ago - to attend a CRANK session at the Doug Fir Lounge yesterday. Nine marketing professionals & one junior (that'd be me) had the task of creating new tagline ideas for two clients Lynette was working on. It was an exercise for us all to discuss new ideas and be vulnerable with our own creativity.

It was great to make new connections and have a chance to play over some beers with real-world advertising people.

"It's a playpen for the industry's finest creative thinkers. A venue to let your talent run amok and divine ideas that make your toes curl. It's about ideation. And having fun with it. And drinking cheap beer with like minded souls who want to drive faster. Or even fly. In the land of the elusive right answer - and creative people - more is always better>>>>"

impressive resume guy

Weiden & Kennedy ~ supreme being and creative entity both rolled into one big bomb diggity agency in Portland, Or. I'm here. I'm in advertising. Shouldn't I want to work with this awesomeness? It's a question I hadn't honestly come to terms with until yesterday when I spoke with Steve Barry at WK.

Steve has Crispin, Goodby, and now Weiden on his resume. He gave me some great advice on planning and connections I should be making. He said I should think of ideas for clients and email them to head planners at the agencies.

He said it would be worth it to talk to a jr. planner at an agency like Goodby (one I'm interested in) to find out what they're used for/what it's like. He also advised me (in my spare time) to learn about the recruiting process for focus groups and research. *share ideas* COOL!

Planning "is the hardest thing to get into," he said. (yeah, especially at WK) For me, I'm just not there yet. I make too many sweeping generalizations about "cool kids" to actually be one myself. As a planner, I need to grow up a bit more. And that's Ok. Good luck!

Monday, April 23, 2007

advice from Steve Le Neveu, Publicis - West

How did you get to where you are?
  • I started our on the client-side. It's a fairly common way to do it ~ move on up by way of account management.
What is planning to you?
  • Creating is a process. Planning is responsible for creating the environment where that idea can bubble up. Planning is a catalyst process.
Awesome quote:
  • We're not so much ad agencies anymore as we are idea agencies. (yes!) ...ways of connecting people to a brand, how you can create a more interesting brand experience, and how you can draw consumers into the development of that experience.
What a personality characteristic you look for in a junior planner?
  • I look for people who are smart and interesting in non-generic ways. Planners need to know how to ask a smart question.
Do you have any warnings for newcomers?
  • Don't be a smarty pants (yup, he said it). You want to be smart but you don't have to tell people you're smart.
Advice for breaking in?
  • It's not easy (I KNOW!!!). Getting in through account management is a legitimate way to go because you've learned something about how advertising works and you get to be connected to strategy. Media is a little tougher, but still ok. Just make sure people see you have a planning brain.
Tips for my resume?
  • References are always good, maybe attached to the resume; just a couple people saying this person is X, Y, and Z.

qual/quant experience

We've all heard it before: do you have any experience with research? And the answer from now on, should be YES!

I got a call last week from a recruiter in NYC and she asked me the question. I hesitated and sputtered out "yes, well, I know what qualitative and quantitative are as methods and blah blah blah." Next time, I will be more sure of my experience.

So, for the record: you do have experience.

Qualitative ~ have you ever had a 1 on 1 interview with someone? A conversation where you learned something about the other person/party? Have you ever talked to an expert about their certain area of expertise? THEN PUT IT ON YOUR RESUME!

Quantitative ~ ever passed out a survey to more than 1 person? ever done a survey online and gotten back results in percentages? sound familiar? PUT IT ON YOUR RESUME!

Also, if you're in the interim period between jobs or looking for that ONE (i'm there with you), find a research group you can work for on a project basis. Learn how to write a questionnaire; learn how to recruit these consumers; get exposed to this process.

good luck. *share ideas*

Sunday, April 22, 2007

a plug for blogs

I hope not to get addicted to just copying and pasting cool stuff I find on the net, but that Romanian AP group has some great interviews on their site.

This question was answered by Mark Hancock, Planning Director of Proximity in London.

Why do you think so many planners have started to blog? Is blogging helpful in any way for a planner?
  • Blogging has been a godsend for many planners because it means you can test out original thinking and collaborate with like minds from other disciplines before applying it to a clients business. It also means that you have to synthesize and condense your thinking initially, then express complexity in an interesting way - which is the essence of great planning.
COOL! do it. blog. *share ideas*

Saturday, April 21, 2007

advice to juniors

From the Account Planning Group of Romania : an interview with Russell Davies.

what is the role of a planner?
  • being a non-threatening person for the creatives to talk to. Lots of people just need to talk to someone in order to get their ideas in order. They don't really need help, just conversation.
what do you think is special about being a planner?
  • It makes you free to think about the right stuff, and gives you the time to consider stuff. Everyone else in the agency actually has to get stuff done and often doesn't have the time to think. You do. So you should.
do you think all planners should have blogs?
  • I think good planners are able to express themselves succinctly and persuasively; and blogs are good for practicing that. I think all planners should have blogs. As long as they all link to mine.
A planner must have years of experience in research before working as a planner. Do you agree with this view of junior planners?
  • Being a junior planner is difficult. So much of the job is down to experience, pattern recognition and gravitas. I have a lot of respect for junior planners, it's a tough job, but if you can make yourself valuable in that job then you're going to be really good with a few years under your belt.
End of interview. And for the record: gravitas is a serious manner of behavior causing feelings of respect and trust in others. Go get some! COOL!

marketing vs advertising

I tend to use marketing in cases that are product-centric: events, promotions, packaging, in-store, distribution, etc. Advertising seems to be in the mental realm: images, logos, messaging, emotions, feelings, etc.

Marketing seems to be more about getting the product in your hands, while advertising seems to be about getting you to the product.

Marketing encompasses all of the other "p" components: price, promotion, placement.

Advertising gets clumped in with promotion. Yes, we make publicity for and try to sell products, but advertising is also about an attitude/bond/tie with a product. Clearly, so much more. :P

use the term "courting"

At entry-level, think about what we're doing (really).

We are courting Senior Planners/Group Heads/Planning Directors, in hope for their attention.

To attempt to gain the favor of by attention or flattery.

We want to give these people attention AND flattery. How can we do that?

Court them with compliments, useful information, my attention and maybe a gift (what?) (jk). Don't forget the power of 3. Repetition will get your message through. Hit 'em up 3 times but use different tactics (email - call - email -postcard). go on and use it. *share ideas*

Experience Planning

Ultimately, we would like to have a conversation with consumers.
We engage and try to illicit a response--this could be in direct dialogue, emotion or a change in behavior. This, my friends, is considered experience planning. COOL!

My inspiration for this post came from Chaos Scenario. The author says that Information Architects are becoming experience planners. I'm not a tech-girl, but I think an info architect is one who engineers code and plans for online information: blogs, chatrooms, page layout, feeds, etc. The desired response of this is consumer created content -- a conversation piece/dialogue.

Consumer created content gets put into context in this article: CEO's Stress Creativity, Personnel.

"Publicis USA chairman and CEO Susan Gianinno, in an address titled "Are We There Yet?" simultaneously lauded the creative contributions of consumers over the past year while scolding the industry for ceding ground to amateurs."

Consumers are engaged to a different degree in this new generation of advertising and that's pretty cool. Because engagement is really what we're after anyway, right? Now we just need to make this engagement sustainable. (this is a plug for Portland: gotta love this city!) ~ site dedicated to tools for exp. planning

ps. the image is courtesy of the Planning Eye group on flickr.

Friday, April 20, 2007

planners who play together, stay together

Take time to play.

"It's crucial to our mental creativity, health and happiness. Play lifts stress from us. It refreshes us and recharges us. It restores our optimism. It changes our perspective, stimulating creativity. It renews our ability to accomplish the work of the world.

And it may be that playfulness is a force woven through our search for mates. Certainly, playful people are the most fun to be around. But the ability to play may be a strong and appealing signal of something more.

Like art, play is that quintessential experience that is almost impossible to define--because it encompasses infinite variability--but which we all recognize when we see, or experience." Psychology Today

I like that. I think that's what we should aim to achieve when planning brand interactions. If a brand can play well with a consumer then loyalty and love is a given.

Think play. Do play. Be play.

planners need an outlet

I don't have to list all of the planning blogs out there to get the point across that we need an outlet for our mental debris.

i have a journal, in which I scribble thoughts and accounts of the day's happenings as I see them. But then there's the online world--so complex and wonderful and diverse and creative.

A blog serves the purpose of collecting all the inspiration we find daily on the www. And as we're trained to do, we share ideas via blogs, hoping for comments to structure them and make them stronger.

We are in the business of ideas. Blogs are a journal for them online. ya?

it's all about luck

Finding a job isn't about timing. "It's all about luck," says Andrew Campbell, a planner at Carmichael Lynch. He was a graduate of the SF Miami Ad program and says "I was lucky."


USAToday says it's got nothing to do with the 4-letter word:

"It's all about perseverance, not luck. Every once and a while I come into contact with someone who has come to understand that your thoughts, feelings, and actions — not luck — create your reality. And when these things are understood and put into practice, magic happens.
The magic in life occurs when we put action behind thoughts and feeling and believing in ourselves."

I'm looking for magic.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

new media, baby boomers and design

Ok, no lies, but one year ago I wrote down some trends I thought were interesting and cool:

  • non-traditional media
  • a focus on baby boomers in advertising/messaging
  • more emphasis on the experience of design
  • more brands taken through to the consumer level via customer-service
And what do we see happening NOW?
  • New media: postcard flyers, cellphone texts, craigslist, etc.
  • Cadillac's new campaign targeting the second wind the BB generation experiences
  • Agencies like Anomaly, understanding a brand experience holistically through design.
  • customer-service is the tortoise....looking forward to upcoming enhancements HERE.
and one more trend that is developing: latino marketing. I love this quote from the Director of MarComm at the Hartman Group: "Anyone can sell product - people are looking for an authentic shopping experience." (think design again, yeah!!!)

design matters

The WaMu Center in Seattle was designed with purpose. This info comes from the The Seattle Times (3.10.06)

"The idea was, if we could have most of the employees in one location, I could drive the culture I wanted — a common culture,"
said chief executive Kerry Killinger.

The building is grouped into clusters, with every three floors tied together by large staircases, a common color scheme and a shared eating area with more space, nicer furniture and better views than many employees now have in their break rooms.

For an even more inviting lunch experience, the 16th and 17th floors will have a buffet-style dining room and a lounge with indoor and outdoor fireplaces. A 20,000-square-foot rooftop patio is large enough for people to take short walks along footpaths.

Callison Architecture designed WaMu Center's interior, and its partners said the building's mix of open and closed spaces has become popular with companies looking to improve employees' productivity.

Executive spaces are dubbed "villas." Pink noise airs in the halls and are short bursts tuned to a frequency that fills in the gaps around the human voice. Three-story clusters where groups work together are "neighborhoods."

sounds pretty cool to me. :)

you need to be a salesperson

We need to sell our strategy. As clever as it may be, it needs to make sense to the client as a solution to his business problem. We cannot get lost in creativity. Some wise advice...

When I was a salesperson for Smooth Jazz radio (gag me), I didn't so much get the sales-part as I understood how businesses discriminate between media. Radio is cheap compared to Outdoor, but Outdoor is SO BIG. And come to find out, the size (literally) of a message can deliver real results more than we'd like to admit.

As I'm pitching MY new business (myself as a junior planner) to ad agencies and planning directors now, I need to keep this in mind: I am a salesperson; remember the Power of 3; and repetiton does work. My plan of action should be email-phone call-email.

Oh entry-level planning positions, where are you?

Miami Ad School

The Account Planning Bootcamp was fast-paced. We had a project each week for which we had to incorporate each week's learnings to come up with an awesome creative solution to a business problem. Each teacher emphasized a different aspect of planning in order to give us a holistic understanding of what we need to do.

Jen Urich - pay attention to a mindset/lifestyle
Jamie Webb - be innovative with your creative solutions
Kerry Stranman - you've got to be a people's person
James Fox -put your strategy in context for a new business pitch
Marta LaRock - dig deep, listen and ask good questions to find your Gold Nuggest insight
Domenico Vitale - think about the experience of a brand; how will it change behavior?
Eric Bruno - you need to have a toolbag to tap into your creative-side
Christopher Owens - Play with the creatives; get excited about the process


new face of advertising

"Monk-e-mail" campaign for poised as one of the most successful viral campaigns. The campaign successfully tapped into the collective conscious of working Americans and has created a memorable experience for consumers. Innovative ways to tie consumers to the brand is the new face of advertising.

Betsy Brown, soon-to-be new manager of c-k, taps younger staff because it's no longer old media winning in the new market: "it's not a formula anymore."

book advice

Junior planner/entry-level ~ things to think about when creating your portfolio:
  • entertain and inform: don't make it a chore to read
  • focus in on what's really important to planning
  • bring the tools you use to life
  • focus on one insight that really led the creative
  • the creative should not overpower: choose one piece that represents work best
  • don't explain everything, it should be a conversation piece
  • have a trackable thinking process
  • don't talk too much

Fred Fannon

  • show new inventive ways to do things: Be innovative
  • study as much as you can: Learn
  • there is a huge emotional part of this business: Tap into them
  • always acknowledge other people's opinions: share ideas

Top 10 Interview Questions

My Top Ten
1. Brief autobiography: how did you get to where you are?
2. What personal characteristics have contributed to your success?
3. Describe the personality of your agency.
4. What is the role of planning here?
5. What agencies/brands do you admire for their culture and ideas?
6. Wise words you’ve heard about advertising/planning.
7. What is the difference between advertising and marketing?
8. What websites do you check out every day?
9. What advice would you give someone trying to break-in to the industry?
10. Who would you recommend that I talk to about planning?

Anomaly - Enviga

cool packaging AGAIN - and it tastes pretty good.

ink from ABCnews:
  • Enviga gets its calorie-burning power from the combination of caffeine and EGCG, an antioxidant naturally found in green tea.
  • It would be great if the product was inspirational, but it's not a weight loss product.
The product wants to inspire you. Isn't that nice? I think so.

Check out more from the agency responsible for this awesome product - Anomaly. They are doing some incredible things with products/services.
  • Instead of just ad campaigns, Anomaly is selling an all-in-one package of services for advertising, product design, strategic consulting, and technology licensing.
  • Forget lines (above and below). To truly move forward, models will have to be torn down and rebuilt.
  • The agency is "executionally agnostic" and is very conscientious of hjow the visual language plays into it. Creative and media are inseparable. (think design)
  • Traditional solutions are becoming less and less effective.

Case Study - Camel No. 9

Some of you know that I'm fascinated with product/packaging design. And some of you have also heard me lobby for the new Camel No. 9 packaging. I am not a smoker BUT this packaging says "cool" without words.

My hypothesis is that design affects purchase as much as messaging does. If the two work together you've got a shoe-in for increasing consumption.

I could be wrong, but I think the new packaging is going to tip the scale in favor of at least having a pack of cigarettes on your person. It's like a designer label (hmmm, wonder why they call it that)--it's just cool to have.

Camel got some ink in the NYTimes (2.15.07):
  • The introduction of Camel No. 9 is part of plans to “focus on products that are ‘wow,’ ” she added, “that add fun and excitement to the category.”
  • “very good at innovation” — bringing out variations of existing brands with new packages, flavors, styles and other twists on familiar offerings.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Cold-emails are just like cold-calls: stressful, awkward, to the point, and not much fun to send or to read. Ugh.

I want to get inside a person's day.
I'm a junior planner and I just want a response. This is my current format: who I am; just graduated; i've got tools; i'm ready to work; are you hiring; some cheezy "you inspired me" line; and hope to hear from you.

and nothing.....

so, what should my format be? what would I want to respond to?
ADDED VALUE FORMAT: hi, this is how I know you; so cool ________ (idea or campaign); intriguing question; who could I send my portfolio/resume to and their contact information?; great; enjoy this _______ picture or cool link

not sure, it's changing as we speak...