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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Planning Primer

(for the uninitiated)

Baby in the pram

Account Planning is a role that has been a central part of UK advertising agencies since the late 60s when it was created to replace the ponderous advertising research departments which had grown up.

The advertising planner is a trained researcher who is responsible for bringing a whole consumer perspective to the communications process.   This means that the planner is responsible for taking a brief from the client, developing a communications strategy expressed in the form of a creative brief.  The planner supports the creative team throughout the creative process and evaluates the creative concept using research (conventionally qualitative discussion groups though quant pretesting is also a possibility).  The planner is also responsible for the evaluation of the whole campaign.

While this role has become a key part of most major UK ad agencies, the role has expanded into ad agencies overseas.  And planners have begun to work throughout communications. You can find planners in direct marketing, sales promotion, PR and design agencies, even within client companies.

The job covers a whole blend of skills.  It is a rare planner who excels in all.  Some are much closer to marketing or brand consultants within an agency, some function much more like researchers, and some are very focused on the creative process rather than the strategic.

I believe that in migrating to other communication disciplines we need to consider the broader roles that planning must fulfill.  For which see my introduction to the new playing field one click away!

Planning is a great and fascinating job.  I’ve been doing it nearly 20 years and I’m still not bored.  If you’re interested in finding out more, then mail m e or better still get in touch with the Account Planning Group (APG).





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