Planning-ness 2012. We’re in LA trick.
First off: huge, massive thanks, hugs and slobbery kisses to all who were able to join us.. Speakers, we’re nothing without you. Participants, we’re truly non-existent without you.
Usually, I try to do a full synopsis of the event, but unfortunately playing hostess doesn’t afford the opportunity to participate as richly as I’d have liked. I missed a few AMAZING talks – complexity, social data and many others. Hopefully we will be getting these stellar presentations up on the website soon.
My humble little overview:
Be nice. Be open. Be human.
One of my favorite quotes that floated the twittersphere is from my friend Gautum Ramdurai (whose talk I woefully missed):
“The more digital we get, the more human we have to be.”
This was a theme that came up in different iterations. I strongly believe planners are at planners best are when they are in the practice of deep empathy and listening. Sharon Ann Lee shared her thoughts on empathetic listening (in her usual hilarious, smart and provocative way) – a skill that can all but be lost on planners today (guilty as charged).
I never went to an ad school, so I don’t really know what’s taught there, but I did go to b- school and I can attest that much of what we learned was how to be the “smart person” in the room with heavy handed opinions. Bunch of BS. That is simply not what our jobs are all about. It’s a bit of an epidemic in our industry (can’t help it, we have an industry built on ego) but philosophically, it was nice that a few sessions alluded to this slightly more introspective quality. Perhaps next year we’ll have a session on “quiet planning.”
A lovely parallel was drawn between ‘hunting a trend’ and listening without judgment. Those two things have much more in common than we think. And it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Her ENC technique to listening: Enthusiastic, Non-judgmental Curiosity is something we should have in our “planning” lives as well as translate to our everyday lives. <ahem>
When you reserve judgment, true insight thrives. (Planner 101)
Also, if you’re interested, Sharon did a great talk at the LA Creative Mornings awhile back on shaping your personal creative vision + path. http://vimeo.com/30717796
Broadening the creative sandbox.
One metaphor I quite appreciate is this idea of creating fertile territories in which ideas can grow versus messaging structures and hierarchies in briefings. It’s a liberating idea for a planner brought on in Rob Perkin’s talk on ’scratching an itch’ or AKA inventing creative solutions. It was a talk that left me thinking I don’t do near enough “down and dirty qualitative work” -probably a fair issue for many of us who have worked on big accounts in big shops.
The session served as an important reminder that research is not a giant, copious undertaking. It’s the root of innovative ideas, and is too often overlooked as merely a “research page” in a deck. Instead of desktop research for a brief (something we can spend hours doing), if we engage in this practical, real-world activity, it can change the output significantly. While the “R” word can shake terror in the hearts of creative teams, THIS kind of research (unearthing unmet desires) is the kind of thing that can TRULY feed and nurture the creative process (rather than kill an idea). Research creatives can dig? Yeah, it’s a good thing.
Second part of this extremely practical talk came down to creation of that guided missile of an idea video, because well, slides die. How many awesome ideas die because there isn’t a way to champion the idea through? More than most of us would like to admit. There were tons of awesome resources that we can take home on “how to” on this – most importantly being sure you can talk an idea using jargon-free, real-people language.
We really like each other. Like for reals like.
The Creative-Planner “Collaborationship.” Yes, I’m a little biased on this one – I’m very lucky and get to work alongside these two lovely gentlemen everyday, Fran Hazeldine and Pelle Sjoenell. Bringing bits of insight from our wholly-unscientific survey of creatives + planners, some simple truths emerged: we all want to be more collaborative, but we’re not entirely sure HOW yet. Secondly, what we (planners) do is important: 71% of creatives say quality of a planner’s brief determines the creative output. To that point, creatives want planners to be more creative. And to prove that further, more creatives believe that planners can come up with the big idea (65%) than planners themselves (46%). We just better have the goods to live up to it. <smile>
When you see the day-to-day interaction of how this particular collaborationship works, you’ll find the TRUE trick to a wonderful duo is trust. It’s not all kumbaya, holding hands and love-fests– but we do listen. Moreover, we HEAR. We grow together. Good, bad or otherwise, we’re in it together.
We’re also encouraged to be ourselves. Our weirdest, most wonderful selves. I (personally) have never felt more myself in a place before. It makes us relaxed. It makes us comfortable with each other. I believe it ultimately gets us to better work. Talking to a few groups about this, it came up in different iterations in successful relationships – being comfortable in your own skin.
Pelle often talks about the “why” and the “why not”. Strategy often is the “why” but there are many times where the roles flip in our world. It’s all about keeping this wicked little homeostasis. We are not preachy types, and we certainly DON’T have all the answers, but we seem to have a good little groove that works pretty nicely for us.
…a funny wee peek into our world of collaborationships (and because I love this picture for its many hilarious quirks)
Justin Bieber is a social media monster that cannot be stopped.
I mean. Seriously. Watch the documentary on Netflix (it’s streaming). This kid is pretty inspiring. And won’t lie. I listen to Boyfriend at least a couple times a day.
A laptop. A cellphone. A dream. Not saying that it works every time, but in this very special case, the stars aligned and THIS happened. A few (very) wise words from Brad Haugen: be damn likeable. Be positive. Social media works with the same mechanics of life. Part of my hypothesis of why people love to hate Klout. It feels contrived and robotic- data telling you how to make friends. It’s not organic. We want social media to be real.
And a nice final rally call (that works for Biebs, but why not think about this for yourself?):
What a way to end a conference.
Thanks again loves.
Strategist. Mad about the interwebs, design, fashion, food, chubby dogs and music. And I'm Canadian 'eh.