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5 things I have learnt as a strategist (so far)

1 min, 24 sec read
9:45 AM | 22 January 2016
by Adam Oldfield
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Become an FR Writer

Guest post from Sahil Nathu a former Strategist at Sid Lee Amsterdam. Sahil explores five things that he's learnt so far from working in planning/strategy.


Don’t worry about the need to always have a point of view and speaking up. Only add to the conversation when you have something worthwhile, rather than for the sake of your strategist title. It’s unhelpful as it blocks the creative process and taints what people think of your future thoughts.


Practice your listening skills. Advertising is full of talkers, and more can come from listening to people’s tone than the words they sometimes say. Only add to the conversation when you have something worthwhile.


Creatives like things they can play with and visualise. That is a perfect breeding ground to experiment and actually build something. My mode of operation is to create video edits that can weaponise a written brief. Find yours.


Steal anything and everything that helps you become more interesting and better in your job. It’s an art form and one that you shouldn’t be ashamed of. Whether that is insights from the world of architecture, food or biology. Creativity requires knowing about subjects that aren’t in your natural interests.


Don't seek permission but forgiveness. A strategist should be entrepreneurial and when building risk adverse cases needs to go well beyond secondary data resources. So break the rules and turn your vision into an exciting reality.

And these potential principles aren’t just mutually exclusive to strategists, but to creatives as well.

Read an interview with Sahil Nathu as he talks about his time at Sid Lee Amsterdam in more detail.

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