Life as a Planner

Have you ever wondered what life as a Planner within an agency is really like here in the South West? What does one do? What does it take to become one and what to stay top of the game?

We caught up with Nicky Lloyd, Planner at Six to get the facts for you – if you are thinking of becoming one or adding one to your team – some first-hand insights for you right here:

ADLIB: In approx. 30 words and plain English, what do you do?
Nicky Lloyd: My role as a planner sees me work horizontally across the agency with clients who have strategic needs from brand development and marketing strategy to employee engagement. It’s all about creating relevance and distinctiveness and driving effectiveness.

Acting as the bridge between account management and the creative team I look to ensure that the voice of the customer is central to any creative strategy. Creating solutions that are human centred and engage with the hearts and minds of audiences whatever the channel or touchpoint.

ADLIB: In a nutshell, what has been your career journey so far?
Nicky Lloyd: In 1999 armed with a Masters in Marketing I took my first role in a technology advertising agency where I learnt the ropes from the ground up. Since then I have worked for the BBC, Specsavers, and agencies in London and the South West.

Nicky Lloyd

Particular highlights have included delivering award winning above the line campaigns and rich content for clients including BBC, Wessex Water and the Department for Education.

All of my experience has been brand and marketing strategy focused whether as part of a client or agency side role. I started in account management, worked my way up to account director, had a stint client side as a marketing manager and then moved back into account direction and planning and most recently into a pure planning role here at Six.

ADLIB: What do you like most about your job?
Nicky Lloyd: The best thing about my role is the variety of businesses and sectors I get to work with and the people that I meet on the journey. Whether that is as part of a stakeholder team or through my research with consumers. I’ve explored client side roles in the past and although they can be very rewarding I know that agency life suits my personality and veracious desire to learn and embrace new challenges.

ADLIB: What are the 3 key things you consider when choosing an employer?Nicky Lloyd:

  • The organisational culture and values
  • Fit of the role and the existing client base
  • Opportunity for me to add value to agency proposition

ADLIB: What 3 tips would you give someone to ensure that their skills and knowledge within ‘planning’ remain top notch?
Nicky Lloyd: Planning is such a varied discipline it fulfils so many roles from: Market researcher, data analyst, futurologist, NPD consultant, media/communications planner, strategy developer, think piece polemicist, insight miner and social anthropologist.

As such there are many different routes into planning whether you start your journey on the account management side or as part of the creative team, the main thing you need is a good grounding and understanding of the creative process, a passion for working with people and a thick skin. Some of the larger agencies offer internships and junior planning roles where you can shadow a senior executive and learn the ropes.

If you are interested in planning head to to find out about courses and hear from leading planners who are shaping our industry. They run great events and workshops.

If you haven’t read “A masterclass in brand planning. The timeless works of Stephen King” edited by Judie Lannon and Merry Baskin, I definitely suggest you grab a copy.

Thank you Nicky for sharing!

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