Rose Warren is a Planner at communications agency GTB (formally Team Detroit and Blue Hive). Prior to this, Rose had worked at advertising agency Recipe for over three years learning her trade in the planning department. In 2015, Rose won the APG Young Planner Award for her insightful work on McDonald’s. We asked Rose a few questions about her career to date after studying Psychology at University of Southampton.
Describe to us your career path up to now:
I left uni with a degree in psychology and absolutely no clue what I wanted to do with it so took the first job I could get to earn some money and hoped the right thing would come along if I kept putting my CV out there. Eventually a graduate recruitment company called me and asked me to interview with Radio Centre working in their insight and research team. Having a background in research via my degree they felt I would be a good fit.
"I left uni with a degree in psychology and absolutely no clue what I wanted to do with it."
I hadn't really thought about advertising until I got the job and I found that I really enjoyed it. Once there, I met a lot of creative and media agencies to talk to them about the benefits of radio advertising and found that whilst I enjoyed my job I wanted to be on the more creative side of research. That is how I ended up deciding to become a planner. I got a job as a junior planner at a small independent agency called Recipe where I had a great mentor for two years teaching me one to one everything he knew and have now moved to a much larger agency to (hopefully) put those skills to use on a larger international client and learn even more.
Name a top skill you think every planner should have?
Being able to take a ridiculous amount of information and not only choose what is relevant for the task at hand, but to condense it down until it is concise, useful and inspiring for a creative team. In my experience, creatives don't want to know how much information you waded through to get to an insight, they just want to know what you can tell them that will help them get to a brilliant idea.
Which parts of your job are the most exciting and frustrating?
I love seeing what the creatives come up with, how they take your work and turn it into something you didn't expect. That is my favourite part of the job. My most frustrating part of the job has to be client's getting cold feet. Giving them an insight and an idea that they really agree with but then worrying too much and over thinking things to the point that the insight and the idea no longer has the impact it could have had.
You won the APG Young Planner Award in 2015. Can you tell us a bit more about the experience?
The brief was for the McDonald's Big Mac, asking us to suggest how we would increase sales amongst 16-24s. We were asked to write a submission of 1000 words max, so to me it felt they were after clear and concise thinking and a simple idea rather than loads and loads of information and data. The experience of working on it was really great, it gave me a chance to work on something on my own which really helped me to feel more confident in my abilities as a planner.
What preparations would you suggest to those who want to give these competitions a shot?
Don't let big agency names intimidate you. When I saw the shortlist for the award and there were applicants from some of the huge network agencies I was fairly sure I wasn't going to make it past that point.
"Competitions like this are interested in your raw potential."
Competitions like this are interested in your raw potential and the way you think rather than reams of experience and access to data you may not have. The main preparation I would say is to ensure your thinking always stays clear and simple - don't get side tracked by fads and trends, remember that your audience and what matters to them is always at the heart of everything you do.
Do you have any other tips for aspiring planners?
Don't take no for an answer. I was told several times that you can't be a planner until you have done account handling first. I knew I would be incredibly awful at that job and so I just kept pushing on until a more open minded agency were willing to give me a chance. Another tip I would say is to write a really great cover letter that explains why you as a person (your interests, your curiosities, your personality) makes you such a perfect fit for being a planner.
"Being able to write persuasively and creatively is a useful skill for a planner to have..."
Being able to write persuasively and creatively is a useful skill for a planner to have so showing that in a cover letter already ticks one box. Another skill is being able to find useful stuff in a sea of information so if you can write something brilliant and interesting you are going to stand out to the person hiring far more than those who send a standard CV or even worse (in my opinion) an applicant that has sent some kind of novelty pizza box/cookie jar/poster that shows their creative side but has no explanation about why they are a great fit for the job.
Tell us your best joke?
How do you get two elephants in a Safeways trolley?....You take the "S" out of safe and the "F" out of way.
I'll leave you to ponder on that one...before deciding it is a really bad joke.
And finally, if you could share a desk with anyone from the past, present or future, who would it be?
Cersei Lannister - the queen of long term strategy. Feel I could learn a lot from her....although would be a little exhausting/terrifying to sit at a desk with someone who might be be plotting your demise at any moment.
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