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Training page

Page history last edited by Kevin Sugrue 14 years ago

From this post asking what specific training people have found most useful:


It's hard to describe but when it comes to research the best 'tool' I have is a particular perspective when analysing focus groups. To know what will translate into effective and interesting communications.


Also, an understanding (dare I say love) of the creative output.




I'm tempted to say, get whatever you can where you can. As a flake who stumbles through most days not knowing what I'm really doing, I wish I'd got more "proper" training.


For what it's worth, here's my tuppeny worth.


Paid for training has - coincidentally - all been IPA schemes: when I first started out I did the one on evaluating advertising (have no way of checking if it still exists as they hide the training pages of the website behind a members' paywall). It was really good for the quant side of things from tracking studies through to econometrics.

Much later I did IPA 5 with the much missed Peter Doyle. Very good for the business side of things.

In between I did a presentation course. Which we all need to varying degrees, I guess.


Otherwise it was all on the job which, despite my comment earlier, is the best way. No doubt there'll be some dissenters but I think you can do worse than doing/learning loads of TGI (including correspondence maps and cluster analyses . And learn how to cook them. But don't quote me on that.)

Watch some good qual moderators and moderate/interview as much as you can yourself. Learn how to shut up: people tend to fill conversational vacuums and it's best that that person is not the moderator.


Umm, read lots and read off the subject. But I guess you're already there.

Learn about all the other silos: how media works, how sales promotion works, how online works, etc etc etc.

Oh, and if you get a sniff of a negotiating skills course grab it. Not sure if it's useful for planning purposes but it sure comes in handy when dealing with builders/girlfriends/pay negotiations etc.




My top tip has to be the MRS Moderating Skills course, which I did very early on.

Not because it instantly made me a quallie or anything, but in terms of learning how to better extract information from people, it was invaluable. gemma



Every creative director I ever worked for was a bad manager. First thing i did when i became a CD was get myself sent on a 5 day management training course. Changed my life. Well work life anyway.


I'd always been a 'difficult' creative. The course taught me about personality types and how to compromise without capitulating. Priceless. Also taught me how being a manager is about managing people, not a business. A key point.

Stan Lee



Jon Steel's Truth, Lies and Advertising and Jeremy Bullmore's More Bull More have been invaluable.




1. [Even though I hated it at the time] spending 6 weeks trying to sell plastic bags to small business owners throughout the Midlands. It helped me understand 'real people' and was actually part of my agency training.

2. Working with a criminal profiler - helping me understand the subliminal signs of people.

3. Dependent on the current news focus, we'd invite people with opposing views to come and tell us what was going on from their perspective.

4. ALWAYS read the for and against books on your client. [ie: When it was Macca's, we read 'Golden Arches' and 'Fast Food Nation']

5. Spend a day a week talking to strangers - old / young / family / single / nerd / academic / everyone

6. Read a totally different magazine [from a totally different category] every week.

7. Go and meet entrepeneurs.

8. Have empathy. Listen. Understand.

9. Talk to a Barrister or Policeman to tell you the art of 'asking questions'.

10. Do stuff. Try stuff. Don't take life too seriously. Enjoy and learn.


There you go ... sorry if it came across as patronising, it wasn't meant to be, but that's what helped/helps me.

Rob @ Cynic



The APG Creative Role Reversal course is the only training a planner needs. Ostensibly about stepping into the shoes of a creative, it teaches you the real difference between a good and bad brief, the link between good briefs and good ads, the importance of relevant information and insight, how bloody hard it is to write good ads. Plus there are good pubs nearby.

Dylan Trees



The single most useful thing for helping improve my moderation was getting the opportunity to be a group respondent. This was at a MRS workshop like the one gemma mentions many, many moons ago.


In terms of helping to get a more instinctive understanding of the people I'm interested in, I would advocate doing less thinking about them and more trying to become them. Take acting classes, role-play, read what they do, go to the places they go, watch what they do - just generally try to live life in their skin.

I also tend to think about how the different characters in fiction I read would respond to my research issues.




Apart from learning by doing, The APG Creative briefing course was great - not because it taught you how to write better briefs (though it did), rather it helped you to think harder and better about all the elements that go in -which is what planning's about really, isn't it? Russel led the course, best tip was showing a picture of the audience in briefings.

As for toolkits, a scrapbook full of stuff that has nothing to with advertising. Even better, a blog. I think is planning is about connections, a place full of things that will come in handy is invaluable.

Northern Planner


Build your own toolbox.  Create a file full of every type of chart, graph, methodology and great idea that you come across.  Then flick through when inspiration fails or a deadline nears.


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