Reflections of a Strategist
By Gary J. Nix | Reading Time: 3 Min
Living inside one’s own head is a trip. It feels as if the combination of thinking, rethinking and overthinking would serve great purpose as a superpower. Luckily for me, finding my calling earlier on in life makes the sentiment in the previous sentence ring true. Yet and still, a week full of reflection, connecting with new people, and adopting a bit of new terminology has brought a new light to a career that already results in a fascinating existence.
The day-to-day of a strategist is unusual enough as is. Imagine working in an atmosphere comprised undulating parts planning, research, data gathering, insight composition, implementation design, creative output, reputation management, and convincing people that they need all of this information from you because too many people don’t care how the proverbial sausage is made — they just want the damn sausage. Furthermore, this continuous stream of intellectual activity is taking place all while you’re also in a perpetual state of learning the newest trends due to the fact the only constant is change.
Nevertheless, before the petitions for #NationalHugAStrategistDay are drafted, I realized that there is a strange comfort in the fluidity of being needed everywhere without the permanence of ever knowing where that place is going to be. In an ever-changing world, the flexibility necessary to be successful serves as a boon to every business in every industry. Strategy, in and of itself, is made of such elasticity that if you stretch it far enough, specialization can become a result. Kinda enigmatic, ain’t it?
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Self, where is he going with all of this?” and the answer is both simpler and more complex than anyone may expect.
As I go through the exercise of (re)defining my career value and purpose as a brand-first strategist, all of the constantly moving pieces and experiences over the past 20+ years are beginning to form into something that has provided me with more clarity — clarity in articulating how I approach what I do and why said approach is important.
I can now feel better writing the declaration that explains how I view brands, branding and brand architecture (I see you looking at me, Kate O’Neill). I am now able to point people to the aspects of design thinking and thick description methodologies that have helped create the platform known as BRANDarchy. I can now understand why people called me a creative for so many years now that I realize the creativity within me is found in how I think about things as opposed to any kind of artistic output.
Ultimately, I find power in just sharing these thoughts for everyone who needs to hear them although I may not have specific knowledge of who they are right now. Like so many things in this world, I am positive that others in the strategic community can relate to much of what I speak about in this post. I’m also certain that someone reading this may have just learned there is a way for them to leverage the way they think about things into a career. In other words, I may have just helped others while helping myself.
Hot damn! What a great way to end a week.