Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Skills of the Rockstar Planner

Those of you who are looking into planning probably know that one of the most widely known resources for information about the discipline is from PSFK. (If you didn't know, please take the time to add it to your list of bookmarks and/or RSS feeds to read.) In addition to being a top-notch trends research firm, they produce valuable and relevant content available online to those of us not only in advertising and marketing, but across many other industries as well.

Recently, PSFK, in conjunction with strategic planner recruiting firm Alpert Search, created a series of short videos that outline the basic skills necessary to be a successful planner or strategist. By conducting interviews with some of the top minds in the planning world, PSFK has come up with an insightful guide for all aspiring planners to what a good planner does and how they work. Click on the graphic above to view the entire series.

I cannot recommend this series enough. Tons of great information bundled in a nice, tiny package. What more could you ask for?

~ Mike M.

Social Media 101

I love love love this presentation on social media.

Whether you consider yourself an expert or a newbie on social networking, Paul Adams put together this awesome slide deck on how it is translating into our daily lives. It also outlines the history and psychology of human relationships, which I'm now obsessed with. Ignore the length, you'll speed right through it.

~ alicia

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Things Not to Do in a Job Interview

So far, I’ve noticed a lot of great commentary on this blog about what the industry is looking for in potential planners/employees. Since those topics have been well covered, I’m going to try something a bit different for my first post here.

Something I’ve been mulling over lately is how there is no such thing as common information. It’s been said that because of Google/the interwebz, people know more about individual subjects that interest them than what used to be considered “general knowledge”. That being said, I’m going to use it as an excuse for some crazy stories I’ve heard. I’m a recent addition to the advertising community, but here are some things I’m (almost) positive you’re not supposed to do in an interview.

1. Bring someone.

A senior planner once told me that one of the girls he interviewed insisted on bringing her boyfriend into the interview to negotiate her salary and answer tough questions for her. Yeah, I know.

2. Show excessive amounts of cleavage/skin.

As my heroine Kelly Cutrone says in her book “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside” (which I highly recommend), cleavage is not for the office. I want to edit it for the dudes out there as well: no excessive skin either. Think of it this way: Do you notice when someone is showing a lot of skin when you’re passing them on the street? If so, your potential new boss will notice the same thing if you’re sitting in right in front of them. A friend of mine was recently flashed in an interview. She did not work at Hooters.

3. Fall for the trick question.

Your employer may ask if you really want to be doing the job that is entry-level/not paid well/practically janitorial. Or what you think of the company’s current work. Or what your favorite ad or current trend is. All of these questions are actually asking, “How much do you want this?” If you say, “Welllll…. It’s not EXACTLY what I WANT to do…” or have no idea what who their clients are/what they do, your potential boss is going to assume you’re not passionate enough for the job. Know your basic stuff! All it takes is a quick trip to Google. Research takes about 5 seconds and is incredibly worthwhile.

4. Misunderstand your place.

If you’re a recent graduate like me, you’re probably not THAT experienced. However many internships you’ve had in the last couple of years does not make you brilliant. But that's okay because it does make you look eager to learn a new job and what it entails. And that’s what employers want – an employee who has an can take on new projects with ease because of their enthusiasm to learn. As a previous poster mentioned – you are a brand. Be confident, but not over-confident. And if anything, understand your place in the workforce because I’m tired of reading posts/New York Times articles about my generation thinking they’re going to be CEOs at age 24 and then getting told (rightfully) that that probably isn’t going to happen. You rock, Millenials! But you’re (and I am) still young. Know that and use it to your advantage.

In conclusion: getting the interview means you are halfway there. So if you prepare for it, you can relax when you get in the room. Just make sure your boyfriend isn’t next to you.

~ alicia

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Hi there!

It's not a line from Star Trek (although, i must admit I was a Trekkie in my youth). I think it's the most important step a young and/ or aspiring planner can make towards joining the industry by researching and gathering knowledge from the planning community.

This is how I see things.

You are a brand. You've got it all: core values, history, visual identity, a communication strategy, communication channels and targets you want to reach. Planning is the completely new consumer target you want to reach and, pardon my expression, sell yourself to. You start researching the market, its history, context, insights and values and come to the conclusion that indeed this is your target and the next step in your development. But which strategy will you use to convince an agency that you are the best choice / investment in your over-crowded cathegory?

Start simple.

Engage the online planning community, become a part of it, find out how it feels and how it thinks, learn from it (be it case studies or just opinionated rants), bring all your experimental thinking to it and... don't be afraid to join in the conversation because, as Richard Huntington puts it, "blogging isn’t killing planning it’s the best thing that has happened since the death of the overhead projector"


See you soon.
~ def

Monday, July 5, 2010

What they're looking for

7 things:

- curiosity. Of the world around and of something specific. No butterflies allowed
- empathy. To be able to see the world from different perspectives
- the ability (?) to worry about a problem until it has been properly sorted
- questioning & listening. The ability to ask searching questions and hear the answers
- imagination. To make stuff out of your empathy
- reality. Everything has to be doable.

Craig Elston, the author of the original post is looking for at least 7 of these.

Good luck!