Robert recently featured in the Marketing Institute of Ireland ‘Day In The Life’ series, in which the MII asked Robert to share what it is like to be in his shoes. See what Robert had to say about his role as Director, Strategic Planning, key career moves, daily challenges and aspirations. Read Robert’s interview below or at:

What does a director of strategic planning at V360° do?

Figuring out clients’ specific business challenges and creating a solution that fits their needs, is what keeps me occupied most of the time. But to do that it is so important to keep up to date on market dynamics and consumer trends, globally, regionally and of course here in ireland. Part of my role is to lead the consumer, shopper and retailer understanding of the agency. This allows me to have an informed independent voice and constructively shape our response to client briefs. Working in an agency with a varied number of clients, both retailers and brand owners, means that each project brings its own set of challenges and opportunities.

What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

My career path prior to joining  the Visualise group to help set up v360°, is incredibly relevant to the role that I now have. With roles in market research agencies, client side at Renault, Nissan and Diageo in sales, marketing and planning as well as strategic planner at advertising agency BBDO,  all help on the day-to-day deliverables to clients.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Building a new agency offering presents a unique set of challenges, with ongoing change as a  constant. Flexibility is key in order to balance deliverables for ongoing projects, keeping an ear to the ground on evolving trends in retail, while proactively developing business.

What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

As a strategic planner a healthy curiosity is a must, which thankfully comes naturally to me – yes I was the child that always asked “why?”. So understanding what makes people from different cohorts, backgrounds and cultures tick is fascinating. In our agency environment it’s so important to actively listen to others’ perspective, strive to provide a clear direction or plan, while always aspiring to the best outcome for our team and clients. Learning to trust your judgement in the absence of perfect data is key. As a previous boss of mine used to say “don’t let perfect get in the way of better”.

Describe a typical working day.

The typical day doesn’t exist, which is one of the reasons that I enjoy working here so much. My day can be a combination of business development meetings, preparing for an upcoming workshop, creative briefing session for a new campaign, developing a category innovation strategy, debrief to client, liaising with retailers to activate a new campaign, attending or presenting at industry events. The evening time can see me lecturing (Technical University Dublin – advertising and digital communications) or coaching Cuala GAA U13 hurling squad.

What do you love most about your role?

I love the sheer diversity of the range of projects and challenges that I work on, from developing a new campaign idea for a product launch, to in-depth shopper research to understand what drives people’s behaviour, from developing a new strategy that helps overcome a business challenge to seeing a campaign come to life.

The great thing about working at V360° is the team spirit – we all actively help out with each other’s project – as a small, rapidly growing agency it’s so important that we work with each other rather than handing off tasks.

Working with a range of retailers and brand owners, helping to find solutions to business challenges through insight, creative thinking, ideas and brilliant execution… it’s a role where I am constantly learning.

To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

I’ve always been a fan of Malcolm Gladwell and his uncanny ability to get behind the headlines, critically evaluate the evidence and to really understand what’s going on.

Mark Ritson is provocative, informed and has an often entertaining view of the world of marketing. While I don’t always agree with his perspective, he is always thought-provoking.

Tom Fishbourne ‘The Marketoonist’ has an uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to the marketing trends and point out the Emperor’s New Clothes.

The work that Daniel Kahneman, Byron Sharp, and Binet & Field have done in terms of understanding how we think and behave as well as how marketing actually works is invaluable.