Strat-Talking.com http://strat-talking.com To Know. To Act. Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:20:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Strategist vs. Planner – the great debate http://strat-talking.com/strategist-vs-planner/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=strategist-vs-planner http://strat-talking.com/strategist-vs-planner/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 10:20:16 +0000 http://strat-talking.com/?p=550 There is often conflicting definitions of which terminology is appropriate in the strategist vs. planner debate. Here I am going to try and clarify the definition of each and why they can sometimes be interchangeable. Here’s how I define the two: Strategist We set the higher level brand strategy and direction, we work out the ...

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Strategist vs. Planner

There is often conflicting definitions of which terminology is appropriate in the strategist vs. planner debate.

Here I am going to try and clarify the definition of each and why they can sometimes be interchangeable.

Here’s how I define the two:

Strategist

We set the higher level brand strategy and direction, we work out the deep-rooted consumer behaviours and needs and build brands with our clients that can answer and respond to these needs through the business competences of the brand. Essentially creating rational reasons and emotional stores to buy products and connect with a brand then building a brand framework to take this to market.

Typical job titles: strategist | creative strategist | brand strategist | strategy consultant | design strategist

 

Planner

Ultimately the term ‘planner’ is a legacy term born out of the Mad Men era of advertising. We help ratify the strategy then define the tactical route to market and where to place brand communications along the shopper/customer/consumer journey (a post to follow on defining those!) as well as copywriting the brand messaging from tagline generation to reasons to believe and point of sale communication.

Typical job titles: planner | visual planner | brand planner | ad planners | shopper planner

See, they are not too different from each other and in both cases I wrote in the first person, why?

Because I am both a strategist and a planner, a strategic planner if you will, although I never use this term as it is confusing to both the client and the agency as it does not really define what you do but says you do everything.

How?

Because the evolution and nuancing of agency life and thinking around brands and how consumers interact with them has, for want of a better term, become polluted over the years.

When in a permanent role you will be either a planner or a strategist, as a freelancer and consultant you can change your modus operandi to for the project needs a lot more.

Strategists think and define, planners adapt and enact.

By keeping your definition of self open enough to be able to nuance your own story and what exactly you do, you can open up your prospective client base without changing your approach to how you deliver project.

I prefer the term strategist though.

Which one are you? How would you define each a strategist vs. planner?

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Design agency insight series 2 of 6 http://strat-talking.com/design-agency-insight-series-2-of-6/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=design-agency-insight-series-2-of-6 http://strat-talking.com/design-agency-insight-series-2-of-6/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:56:56 +0000 http://strat-talking.com/?p=2341 Welcome to part two in a six-part design agency insight series about the different types of design agencies that are out there, how they operate and what that means for freelancers and best practice agency management. Type Two: The not sure how but we are rapidly expanding agency These guys are great, they are usually in ...

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design agency insight

Welcome to part two in a six-part design agency insight series about the different types of design agencies that are out there, how they operate and what that means for freelancers and best practice agency management.

Type Two: The not sure how but we are rapidly expanding agency

These guys are great, they are usually in a state of dishevelment between meetings in nice clothes with a pad of Post-Its and Sharpie at the ready to capture their next great idea.

A sense of energy and excitement typically surrounds them, although they are not entirely sure how their client base is expanding so rapidly or what exactly to do about it but they are enjoying the ride and loving that their crazy idea of starting a design agency eighteen months ago has taken off and they are not only making tonnes of cash but they are changing brands, changing mindsets and changing the world.

Eternal optimists, for now.

They started the agency in earnest after they got tired of lining someone else’s pockets and saw an opportunity for something new and knew they could do things differently.

Major kudos to them.

Working with agencies like this is great, especially for freelancers, as they are open to ideas, enjoy hearing your opinions and they have not gotten into that process-driven routine yet so anything is possible and all creative work is sublime and ground-breaking.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work at a couple of agencies like this and one thing always stands out: these are the places to learn lots, fast, and freelancers have the unique opportunity to make major impact in a relatively short amount of time. The entrepreneurial spirit is a strong part of their business model.

These are the ones where you go from being a junior or mid-weight to a senior in a couple of weeks or months if you are full time or as a freelance associate you are instantly the expert so have to up your game, let go of the apron strings and forget that safety net.

As great as they are, they will live or die on the work you do with them, and so will your next invoice.

Wow it’s exciting.

But here’s some new career advice for working with these types of agencies: be aware that things move so quickly you could blink and they no longer offer strategy services or they may shift all focus from those high profile sporting brands you love working on to something completely random but ultimately more lucrative such as hardware stores or catalogue companies.

Get in with one of these and your dreams of staying freelance may be turned to the bright lights of managing partner or strategy director, but just make sure you stay true to yourself.

Oh, and watch out for volatile founders, it’s their cash on the line so they may flip or have tantrums when things are not completely in their favour but they will apologise and are more likely to buy you a beer than stay annoyed about anything.

Part 3 of design agency insight will follow next week.

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Do’s and Don’ts for being a freelancer http://strat-talking.com/dos-and-donts-for-being-a-freelancer/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dos-and-donts-for-being-a-freelancer http://strat-talking.com/dos-and-donts-for-being-a-freelancer/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:16:18 +0000 http://strat-talking.com/?p=7176 According to the Tower Lane study, 60% of companies in America plan to increase their freelance hiring this year. Due to flexibility and the option to work from home, the freelance world has expanded drastically and has become more competitive. In order to stand out from the crowd here are some Do’s and Don’ts you ...

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being a freelancerAccording to the Tower Lane study, 60% of companies in America plan to increase their freelance hiring this year.

Due to flexibility and the option to work from home, the freelance world has expanded drastically and has become more competitive. In order to stand out from the crowd here are some Do’s and Don’ts you should know.

Do

Have a clear vision of what you want to do.

Before starting any project, you should plan out the steps you need to take in order to complete it. This is the same when you start off your career as a freelancer, figure out your audience and how you are going to target them first and then move up from there.

Know your clients.

Communication is key. When starting a new project make sure you and your clients have a clear understanding of what is expected from you. Make sure to communicate with them along the way so you are always on the same page.

Have discipline.

With freelancing comes the flexibility of creating your own schedule, but unless you stay on top of things it is easy for you to fall behind. Follow a tight schedule, work in an area free from any distraction, and make sure you do not procrastinate.

Have the right tools.

As a freelancer, you should know which technology platforms are the most beneficial for you. For instance every freelancer should have their names listed on the freelance websites such as Elance.com or Freelance.com.

This makes it easier for people to find you and your work. For writers, know which writing programs work best for your work purposes; is it Microsoft Word, Google Doc or others? If you are a designer, make sure to have the basic designing tools in the Adobe Suite series such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

Don’t

Limit yourself.

Although you have a clear vision in mind about your goals, don’t be afraid to try out something different that is still relevant to your skills. As a writer or designer, get out of your comfort zone and you might find out it suits you better.

Forget about offline connection.

Even though you get the opportunity to work from anywhere you want through the internet, don’t forget local connections. Take care of your personal branding. Go to “offline” meetings and conventions to meet prospective clients and bring professional business cards to make a lasting impression

Give up too early.

Freelancing is a world with fierce competition. You will get pitches that will be rejected. You will sometimes get difficult clients. Some days, you are going to have a lot of work in a short period; sometimes you won’t get any. But don’t give up too early because it will all be worth it.

Now you know the basic do’s and don’ts, so go out and explore your opportunities in freelancing!

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