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Planning for the Best: Ora Randle on Finding That Human Connection

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Cheil Australia's director of strategy on connecting with what’s going on beyond marketing and drawing on pop culture, trends and human truths

Planning for the Best: Ora Randle on Finding That Human Connection

Ora Randle is passionate about strategy, data, and finding creative customer focused solutions to business problems. As an experienced global professional, with over 15 years of experience, Ora combines her engineering and business background to bring both creativity and progressive thinking to the heart of Cheil’s strategic and data insights, as the director of strategy for the agency.

Prior to Cheil, Ora was a customer experience associate director at KPMG, and a global strategy consultant at Samsung in Korea and USA. Her education background is in engineering and business, where she obtained an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.


LBB> What do you think is the difference between a strategist and a planner? Is there one?

Ora> How much time do we have? I feel a strategist is big picture thinker, where as a planner is into the tactics of mapping out the details. Really, the roles are interchangeable and I feel like both are semantics these days, but I’ve always considered myself a strategist.


LBB> And which description do you think suits the way you work best?

Ora> Studying business at NYU, I specialised in strategy. So I consider myself a strategist through and though from the way I approach a brief to how I develop creative solutions to tough challenges.


LBB> We’re used to hearing about the best creative advertising campaigns, but what’s your favourite historic campaign from a strategic perspective? One that you feel demonstrates great strategy?

Ora> Recently, a campaign that to me is the gift that keeps on giving is McDonald’s Famous Orders. I love how it originated with connecting with fan truths – how people have a go to order and their unique McDonald rituals (like how my husband dips his fries in their soft serve!). Moving from that to collaborating with relevant cultural celebrities and letting their go-to orders be known as another way to connect to the masses.

They weren’t afraid to collaborate with diverse stars like Travis Scott, BTS and Saweetie - by promoting exclusive meal deals sure to promote FOMO and ultimately increase sales. I truly look forward to seeing who McDonald’s selects as their next celebrity collaboration and how they will continue to build out this campaign.


LBB> When you’re turning a business brief into something that can inform an inspiring creative campaign, do you find the most useful resource to draw on?

Ora> Part of our mantra at Cheil Australia is 'Inspired by Data, Driven by Culture', so data and research are always my foundation but nothing beats stepping away from the computer and getting down to what’s happening culturally IRL. Connecting with what’s going on beyond marketing and drawing on pop culture, trends – both local and globally, human truths and anything else that might spark inspiration. 


LBB> What part of your job/the strategic process do you enjoy the most?

Ora> There’s a lot of enjoyment in the different parts of the strategic processes, but what I love the most is working with my team and finding that insight or that human connection that is a bit off the beaten path but fully delivers making a strategy truly unique.


LBB> What strategic maxims, frameworks or principles do you find yourself going back to over and over again? Why are they so useful?

Ora> I was taught to think about strategy with rigorous qualitative and quantitative tools—assessing the 4Ps, customer journey mapping, interviews, just to name a few. These tools can be essential but to develop game-changing strategies, you have to take the tools and add creative thinking, an unexpected insight, and no matter how complex it all is, it has to be presented as a simple plan that delivers results.


LBB> What sort of creatives do you like to work with? As a strategist, what do you want them to do with the information you give them?

Ora> I like creatives that are open to being partners with strategy and considered us a viable part of the process. I love it when I develop a strategy with relevant, new thinking and seeing the creatives take that and create something that makes me smile because they answered the problem in a way I hadn’t anticipated.


LBB> There’s a negative stereotype about strategy being used to validate creative ideas, rather than as a resource to inform them and make sure they’re effective. How do you make sure the agency gets this the right way round?

Ora> I understand that often creatives can come up with their own amazing ideas and really need strategy to find a way to back it up. What we like to do within our agency, is make sure strategy is at the table for the initial client briefing, and able to craft the strategy around the relevant data and trends, then sharing our insights with the creative team, so that they can go forth, craft and conquer. 


LBB> In recent years it seems like effectiveness awards have grown in prestige and agencies have paid more attention to them. How do you think this has impacted on how strategists work and the way they are perceived?

Ora> I like that there is recognition of effectiveness because it really allows strategy and creative to really be a strong partnership and deliver amazing results to our client that can be recognised beyond the boardroom.


LBB> Do you have any frustrations with planning/strategy as a discipline?

Ora> My only frustration is when someone overlooks the strategy and just focuses on the creative. To paraphrase a quote from Lainie Kazan in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding – “Creative may be the head of the house, but Strategy is the neck and they can turn the head any way they want”.


LBB> What advice would you give to anyone considering a career as a strategist/planner?

Ora> I’d say just go for it. It’s great to have a seat at the table by developing big picture thinking, insights, and viable plans to work into some amazing creative work for the world to see. I’d also encourage those new to creative agencies from different industries or backgrounds, to try something new. You never know how your unique background can bring a new perspective into the process.

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Cheil Australia, Thu, 23 Sep 2021 06:54:00 GMT