Hard graft leads to good craft

Strategists occupy a tricky space in agency world, wedged between account service and creative. We’re under constant pressure to deliver brilliant strategic thinking that inspires our clients, while providing a fertile direction for the creatives to exploit. Oh, and it has to work its arse off.

The perfect stories we all read in case studies and award entries are often far from the reality of life as a strategist. And they should be. Their role is to persuade clients and judges, and to reflect the very best of our craft. To inspire the next generation of thinkers.

One thing I’ve always done, and which I recommend to everyone, is to avoid taking the advice of “experts” who spend more time focusing on building their reputations than doing the work they’re often preaching about. These “air guitarists” are in every industry, and in my experience, they don’t have the answers we’re all looking for. They don’t hold the key to delivering impactful strategic thinking for your next client.

My recommendation is to seek inspiration from someone who holds a hose. The kind of strategist who is on the tools, and makes things happen. Someone you can learn from and who has a responsibility to deliver an impact for a client.

I’m sorry to say, but there’s no silver bullet to making an impact with great strategic thinking. There’s no single book you can read to make up for years, and years of graft. It takes hard work, time, and experimentation. And fuck-ups. Lots of them. Without fuck-ups you don’t grow and you don’t learn.

Every brief and every proposition can be better. I know that mine can. So, keep crafting and pushing your strategic thinking and refining your briefs. It’s the best way you can make an impact as a planner.

Written by Fabio Buresti, Chief Strategy Officer / Partner – The Monkeys