Ahead of the AdSchool Advanced Strategic Planning course this September we caught up with some of our presenters to tell us a little about themselves and get their perspective on the course

Haven’t booked your spot yet? There’s still time – limited spaces available. Enrol now.

Presenter: Melanie Wiese – Chief Strategy Officer, Meerkats

TCC: From your perspective what’s the best thing about working in our industry?

Melanie: Being in constant contact with other creative minds keeps me fresh. I like high pressure, high flexibility as a way to work, and the constant flow of new industries, business models, minds and clients I come in contact with means I’m always learning. I have no idea how people work in a single product category for years at a time.

TCC: How did you get into advertising?

Melanie: I was working as a photographer and was looking for something that could combine my business acumen and desire for structure and quantifiable results with my creative side. I completed the MA(Advertising) course at RMIT, got my first internship, and realised strategy was my spiritual home.

TCC: Did you always want to be a planner or did it happen by chance?

Melanie: It was a centre of gravity I couldn’t escape, given the way my brain worked. I didn’t know it existed until I did my masters.

TCC: Is there a particular campaign you’ve worked on that stands out from the rest in terms of the strategic planning that went into it?

Melanie: The Young Men’s Project for Youth Focus is work I’m proud of. It was a process that turned into a product that actually helps people. It used my experience in design thinking in the United States, harnessed it to behavioural change communications that I’d in which I’d gained expertise in Melbourne and the purpose led mission and customer experience excellence of Meerkats. It continues to be successful.

TCC: Can you tell us some of the key learnings you’re hoping students in your AdSchool course will take away with them?

Melanie: I hope they gain an appreciation of strategy beyond finding a human insight and writing a good brief. Those are kind of communications basics. I want students to think about broader organisational purpose and strategy, employee alignment and culture, the importance of research methodology in getting closer to consumers, architecting authentic brands and effectiveness. We will cover some coms planning, but you won’t be learning how to write a brief.

TCC: What in your opinion are the most important qualities a good planner should possess (or work towards acquiring/learning)?

Melanie: Proactivity. An ability to read just enough of other people’s ideas and models to want to push their practice further, and use the rest of the time having original thoughts. Innate interest in frameworks, systems and the human implications behind and within them. Empathy.

About AdSchool Advanced Strategic Planning
This course is aimed at more experienced planners/ professionals (3+ years) who want to expand their skill set and their horizons and make an impact as a strategist at a senior level. It will stretch the delegates, and offers inspiration, provocation and practical application. Endorsed by the APG.