One the main faults of planning blogs is the habit of portraying the world as perfect. You see it in APG case studies too. If your only experience of life as a planner originated from these sources, you would get a very wromg opinion of the what it's like to do the job.
This stuff tends to propagate the myth that all a planner's job is startling original thinking, stuff that constantly shifts the paradigm. Work hard at examining the problem and all the stuff around, think brilliantly and everything will into the place.
As if everyday was an episode from the A-Team and a Hannibal is loving it when a plan comes together.
It doesn't. For a start, there's lots of very dull stuff to do also. Planners don't spend most of their days composing grand strategy, they're swimming against the tide of pointless meetings, writing decks for clients, Neilsen data and god knows what else.
It doesn't happen at the 'cool' agencies all the time either. Not at WK, not at Mother, not at Crispin Porter. They might megaphone their trophy work, but look at their entire reel and you'll see all sorts of pedestrian stuff and other bits that are just plain wrong. Getting it bang on is bloody hard. These organisations constantly look to do it better, but it's not just about specific departmental excellence.
Planning needs to gel with creative and account handling. More often than not, you need great research relationships and to be able to get on with the media people. Any dissonance here can be catastrophic. The research agency might ask the wrong question if they're pre-testing, or fail to see how the work builds on their original findings for example.
And then there is the client. You need to be able to inspire the client and persuade them. Make no mistake though, buying the best work is always a leap of faith for a client no matter how wonderfully you present it. Few get fired for following the category rules, which means not cutting through, as opposed to taking risks that don't come off. Or LINK testing until it's beating heart is completely ripped out
Then there is the culture of the region you work in. If you work in London, New York or some other 'creative hub' it's more expected to push things than regional outposts like, erm, Sheffield, where I work.
If it's not often it comes to together in Madison Avenue, it's a hundred times harder in Birmingham.
But if you're at a place where 'doing it right' is that much harder, should you give up? No way. If you can't constantly push things to get better, to open the eyes of those around you, I don't see how you do the job. Planning needs to add value or it shouldn't be in the room.
So I don't care where you work, or what client you work on. It's not acceptable to say the client, suits or even the creatives don't 'get it', are too conservative, don't care or whatever. There is always something you can do the make a difference and make things better than they would have been otherwise.You're job is not be right, it is to inspire, persuade and bring change.
For myself, I made a decisions that I wanted my kids to grow up happy, near family and fields. I wanted to be able to get home for bathtime and stuff. That means my work circumstances are such that it's that much harder to do the kind of work we all want to do. But not impossible. There's satisfaction every day in knowing you made a difference, and the quest to get into that place when everything comes together.
Just once, to do it really right. If you don't believe you can make that happen, even worse, if you don't care, you're in the wrong job.