Working as a planner feels like driving at 20 in fifth gear. The brain grates against the imposition of working full time but under capacity. It is held down with asks and tasks that require time, thought and concentration, but are largely inconsequential, often trivial and almost always misguided. (Inconsequential in cognizance of what is possible as against what is being done. Trivial in terms of how the role of brands has evolved and what role the agencies have now in it. misguided because as CXOs involvement with branding comms reduces or changes in nature, often client briefs are not in sync with client leadership’s priorities and objectives.)
We commence the tasks knowing fully well how useless often the work is going to be. But the ritual demands the rigor. After all, at many agencies, planners have become ritual performers – the song and dance before the creative reveal, the counter balance of knowledge & authority at the table against jargon & self-importance of client, the salvager of creative team’s mediocrity.
To switch gears requires agencies to rethink their business model, finding ways to build new things/ services with planner’s abilities. In an absence of such a strategy, planners are like the band that played out the sinking Titanic.
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