Four Planning Tips from Non-Planners: Marine Colonel, Erotic Filmmaker, Indian Wedding Planner and Greenpeace Activist
It’s easy to get stuck in the communications planning rut – get the research, stress about the brief, stress about the insight, finalize the brief. Worry some more about the brief. Weiden + Kennedy hosted a workshop featuring four stellar leaders – from far outside the traditional world of communications “planning” – to inspire more imaginative, rigorous and creative planning.
Some key tips from the experts:
• Lieutenant Colonel Chris Patton, Royal Marines: How to plan military operations in Afghanistan
Tip: At every phase of the planning process, send plans down the chain of command immediately so the whole team knows where you’re headed. That way the people who actually execute campaigns are fully engaged from the beginning – and can alert you immediately if there’s a flaw in approach. Plus, if something goes wrong, you have a large network of people engaged ready to offer fast ideas and solutions.
• Kat Clark, Head of Campaign Communications, Greenpeace: How to plan non-violent intervention
Tip: At Greenpeace, every climbing team that scales boats, mountains and buildings to unfurl the iconic Greenpeace banner uses the same equipment and processes around the world. That way, even people who have never met before can instantly work as a team to accomplish a goal quickly. At agencies, having teams follow the same processes, use the same language and rely on the same tools allows teams to shift without slowing down plans and innovations.
• Jennifer Lyon Bell, Erotic Filmmaker: How to plan for real chemistry
Tip: Whether it’s casting an erotic film or putting together a great agency team, cultivating the right chemistry on a project matters. Look for colleagues who are charming (at agencies, that means creative, engaged and supportive of others) and open to new opportunities. When you develop a team that has true chemistry – they enjoy their work together and deliver for clients – protect the team and give them space and time to flourish.
• Gurleen M. Puri, Event and Wedding Planner: How to plan an Indian royal wedding
Tip: Focus on understanding your clients’ personal dreams, not their corporate ambitions. Spend personal time talking and meeting with them, to understand their personal motivations and fears. Relying too much on email distances you from those the insights you need to help them achieve those dreams. Put down the blackberry and pick up the phone.