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This is my colleague Rodi.
Yes, I know his legs are the sort of white that Persil Automatic Washing Powder aspires to delivering … but if you can get past that horrific sight [and I recommend you do because he's a Russian/Australian martial arts ninja bastard] I’ll explain one of the reasons why he is so good.
Planning – and planners – love to make a big deal out of being curious.
To be honest, this has always made me feel a bit sick because we act like they’re the only people in the World with this attitude.
Let’s be honest, curiosity is a basic human trait and even if planners execute this more than the majority [which I'd say is open to debate] they’re no where near as curious as people in the finance, technology, R&D or criminal investigation industries, to name a few.
Seriously, what does a planner class as being curious.
Going through a client research report?
Reading some blogs?
Doing the odd ‘home visit’?
Give me a break …
And this leads to my other issue with so many planners, they forget our job is two fold:
1. To understand & represent our clients audience.
2. To help liberate our clients business.
That’s not optional.
They’re not mutually exclusive.
They are interdependent and should be treated as such.
And this is what makes Rodi so good.
He understands that to help liberate our clients business, he has to understand our clients business.
Not just in terms of marketing or usage or whatever ‘objective’ has been put down on the brief by the client – but the inner workings of what goes on behind the scenes … from what it takes to make & distribute their products and brands to the factors that influence senior managements decisions and actions.
Now you might think we all do that … and without doubt, we should … but if you were to spend a week with Rodi and compare his approach to what most people class as ‘business curiosity’, the gulf in methodology and result would be as obvious as the breast implants on 90% of Hollywood’s Z-grade female ‘stars’.
His approach doesn’t involve getting on to some subscribed research site or do a Google search [though he does that too] he goes and see’s a whole range of people … both within the company and, for a more objective point-of-view, outside it.
I’ve never seen a person consume annual reports with the sort of relish he does.
And he really looks into the numbers.
He looks where the money has been coming and going.
He compares it to where it was coming and going a year ago.
He analyses that with what their competitors say in their annual reports.
He cross references everything against economic data to understand whether they are acting independently or reacting to wider economic issues.
And that’s before he even takes into account the attitudes, needs, wants & fears of society – which he knows well because he makes it his business to know it well. Plus he has an amazing team around him to fill in blanks and questions.
[Yes, that's you Charinee & Leon!]
Not only does all this result in him knowing our clients business at least as well as many of them do, he is also able to develop business solutions to problems that go way beyond just ‘making an ad’.
There’s nothing I like more than watching him in full flow as he carefully explains how a particular issue can be solved by [eg] changing their distribution approach or relinquishing their current consumers in favour of a more emerging audience or creating infrastructure to allow people to get involved … especially when he uses the clients – and independent – data to prove his point to any doubters.
Don’t get me wrong, Rodi is not – and doesn’t want to be – a management consultant.
Nor a branding consultant.
He simply understands that to get the right solution you have to have the right questions and his view is that if you follow the money, you end up identifying the problems or opportunities that can be the most powerful, interesting and rewarding for our clients, their audience and our agency.
That is someone who is curious.
Not because he wants to look cool or justify his title, but because he wants to be known for helping deliver business results in the most creatively imaginative, memorable and meaningful ways possible.
So next time you say you’re curious, make sure you mean it more in terms of how Rodi does it than some average person on the street … or I’ll send him round to snow-blind you with his legs.
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