Here be the axioms/principia/prejudices that are driving this site
Above and beyond Advertising Planning
Advertising planning represents less than a third of what planners need to know. To parody the APG strapline in recent years: account planning > great advertising: there’s a lot more to account planning than producing ads. The body of knowledge accrued around account planning is dominated by advertising thinking and brand management within the constraints of advertising. Even advertising planning would be enriched if planners took into account the other areas currently being opened up by planners working in new media, design, direct marketing, sales promotion, sponsorship and PR. This site aims to promote account planning in the round and to provoke debate and development of planning skills and planning thinking.
Above and beyond tired models of branding
Brands are collaborative entities created by their audiences. Mythologise all you like, spend the marketing budget. But if the audience don’t buy it, it isn’t going anywhere. Brands do not belong to marketers, nor planners, nor (I’m sorry to say this given recent IPA trendiness – to shareholders or financial directors). It’s the punters whose imagination and participation makes the whole enterprise possible. Within 10 years brand owners will be far more like media owners than today. And they will live or die not by their products but their audiences. This site is riddled with media references because we can’t spend our professional lives borrowing other people’s media. Every brand is a medium in its own right.
Above and beyond conventional research techniques
Limitations of research. Research can no longer be considered to be the planner’s only tool for generating knowledge of consumer attitudes and behaviour. Its strength is objectivity. But this can become a liability considering so much of a planner’s insight comes from subjectivity: personal experience or insights derived from individuals rather than a finding generalised to a target group using the research process. Don’t get me wrong a planner who only works subjectively is a disaster waiting to happen. But a planner who hides behind a cloak of “the research shows” will almost never find the seam of gold that makes great communication concepts possible. And I do speak as a paid up full member of the Market Research Society so I remain fully committed to research quant and qual.
Above and beyond the current planning paradigm
Planning is getting more mobile. There is a sea change in progress in the work environment to make work more mobile. Account planning came about when departmental process driven ways of producing advertising were supplanted by workgroup patterns. Increasingly this workgroup structure is becoming extended and virtual. This site will endeavour to keep pace with those changes, to look at new ways of working and deliver content to planners wherever they are.
Usage and abusage of email and other address details. To make the site work and to maintain traffic I need to do some promoting. I have built up a database of email addresses, direct phones numbers, PA names which as you can imagine is a considerable asset. Please be assured that I will NOT sell or trade this with anyone. At present I email planning heads of department every 1-2 months to keep them up to date on site news – I and I will always give them the opportunity to opt out. I want heads of department to feel confident to forward these emails to the planners in their departments. To receive an email themselves, planners will have to opt in to receive a letter and subsequently they can always opt out. It is my intention to publish league tables (!) of the top agencies in advertising, direct mail, sales promotion, design, new media. PR and media independents with the names of planning directors and their addresses and switchboard telephone numbers. I don’t regard this as unsporting. Any directory of agencies has this stuff in it anyway. I just don’t see why planners should have to go rooting around in directories when they could go onto the web and find all the published data in one place. And if it becomes easier for planners to approach agencies about job opportunities it might even save you money!
The webmaster has a living to earn! It is my hope that if this site proves of genuine value to planners and planning directors it might even get me some planning projects. If you want to take my thinking further, or even if you want to shoot me down. Call me in for a chat..we’ll take it from there!