The next chapter

Hello plannersphere. I have an announcement to make. StrawberryFrog Amsterdam has decided to bring me on as their [regional] head of planning.  And then before I even have a chance to finish the post I’m leaving, they go and win Emirates Airlines in an epic pitch. How is a girl supposed to sleep with excitement like this?

But I didn’t open up the “new post” window in WordPress simply to brag. I learned today that I need to hire four people.

Now I’ve been doing this planning thing for a while now. I’ve been lucky enough to work for and with some of the best planners. But I’ve been taking notes and there are a few things I will do differently. They mainly fall into the category of development and nurturing. For starters, just getting our work done isn’t going to be enough. I’m going to start “novelty hour” where every week we go and do something new together whether it’s making a StrawberryFrog themed craft and putting it up for sale on Etsy or attending a session of meditative chanting. My planners are going to have to take turns coming up with stuff to try. And we’ll work together to figure out more ways to broaden their individual skills and build on their unique talents.

I digress. Did I mention I need to find FOUR planners? As soon as possible. Here are the criteria if you think you might be just what I need:

Senior candidates. I’m looking for a minimum of 8 years experience. This is necessary to be able to import people without EU passports. I can get you a work permit.

I’m looking for people who want to take on adland and change the world. People who are global citizens, marinate in culture, travel as much as you can, maybe speak a few languages.

I’m also looking for digital astuteness. What personal projects have you taken on just because it seemed like something cool to do?

I need you to love this stuff as much as I do.

If this sounds like the challenge for you and you’re ready to move to Amsterdam, let’s talk. Ping me on twitter @hklefevre and we’ll take it from there.

Hey Romania, what’s the deal?

I think you all know I’m up to my elbows in planner survey data. And as I look through this stuff, some of it makes its way into the report and some is just semi-interesting and gets edited out.

But one thing struck me today because I was recently in Romania presenting at a conference and conducting a workshop. In some ways the workshop was a therapy session talking about how different things are based on my experience between the US/Europe and their experiences working in Romania. They talked about how client budgets are smaller, digital is nothing more than banners and very little of that even. Plus most of the planners there are in the 24-30 age range. It just seems like it’s growing and becoming established. But that’s not how they think of themselves. See here:

Not a single person sees planning as struggling. And that is in stark contrast to the rest of the world (USA, London and Brazil all hold true to this total chart):

Romania, I’m curious, why do you think your answers were so different?

Our precious planner titles

Every once in a while I receive emails about planner levels and how I measure them on the survey. We’re not exactly on a totem pole with each level reporting to the next.

Borrowed from @ZEDZAP on flickr

And in terms of bodies, we’re not a pyramid either. The best analogy I can think of is the Christmas Tree Topper:

Found for sale on amazon

It’s not an exact science, but I’d like to let you know what these titles mean to me.

Assistant planners – this is your first job out of school

Planner – maybe you went to a special school or had enough internships to start here, but generally you have at least 2 years of work experience.

Senior Planner – you can now manage smaller accounts with less/little supervision or you are part of a larger team and your autonomy is growing. Wide range of years. Lots of people are happy staying here. In many countries this level may actually be called planning director on their business card.

Group Planning Director – this level doesn’t exist in many countries. A GPD could be a head of planning in a smaller agency, but when an agency is large enough, the GPD manages a few accounts and the planners working on each of those accounts but still has a planning boss above.

Planning Director – this is the top. This level is ultimately responsible for all of the accounts and all of the planners. They craft the agency’s vision on strategy. They are responsible for growing and developing planners, though much of the day to day may be delegated to the other levels.

Global Planning Director – Also called Chief Strategy Officer or Executive Strategy Director, this person is responsible for the overall strategy for several offices or even an entire agency network. There are very few of these jobs.

CEO/President – You came from a planner background and went and started your own thing. Or were promoted to the top of an agency or company. You’re responsible for the whole mess.

Anyone disagree?