An eight-part observational documentary series following planning applications and the contentious processes behind them.
Runtime: 60 minutes
The Planners - Account planning - Netflix
Account planning brings the consumer into the process of developing advertising. Planning is a job function relating to the application of strategy and planning techniques to direct brands unique direction across communications across advertising and marketing channels. The Account Planner, or simply Planner, has a role to identify and empathise with the target market and unlock insight that creates value between the consumer, the brand and the category of Product (business) or service. The thoughts and observations are construed into a value proposition and make up a document called a Creative Brief that is used to create and inspire advertising campaigns and other marketing communications. Account planning is an advertising agency department and works alongside client facing managers (account management), buying advertising (media), and creating advertising (creative). Around the 1980s US ad agencies introduced a new discipline from the UK called account planning which became a primary function in most US ad agencies in the 90s. 'Account planners have often been called 'the left side of a creative brain'. Their primary function is to find consumer truth and insight that helps the creative teams create work that is not only entertaining and highly memorable but also relevant to the consumer and effective in the marketplace. Creative ideas that drive business are more typically the result of a strong collaboration between creative teams and account planners. Account planners (sometimes also called brand planners and strategic planners) use primary and secondary research to inform their strategic thinking and are ultimately responsible for the work that informs, and the penning of, the creative brief. If the creatives are closest to the idea, and the account manager is closest to the client, the account planner is closest to the consumer. The account planner is the person on an advertising team who is most likely to have spent time with consumers (for B to C) or customers (B to B), observing the consumer's path to purchase, by using research such as ethnographies, focus groups or quantitative/social studies, asking consumers how they think about and use the product or service. And in an era in which the brand is at least as important as a specific product (for instance, Nike as a brand has a place in the culture that far exceeds the particular performance characteristics of their shoes), the account planner is responsible for understanding the place of the brand in the consumer's mind. This is not just a simple research function - planning truly begins when research ends - and account planners stay engaged in the campaign process from the initial client briefing and throughout the advertising cycle. Rather than offering research insights to others at a single point in time, they use research to continue to provide insights into the campaign process and most importantly these days, help track advertising effectiveness. Whereas previously, account planners focused on the use of traditional primary research tools, digital/social networks have given them the ability to listen to and interact with consumers in new ways and to work more closely with channel or media planners throughout the process closely also, to not only help plan effective advertising but also engage with consumers in the most effective ways.
The Planners - Account planners, strategic planners, planners - Netflix
“The account planner is that member of the agency's team who is the expert, through background, training, experience, and attitudes, at working with information and getting it used - not just marketing research but all the information available to help solve a client's advertising problems.” - Stanley Pollitt “Planners are involved and integrated in the creation of marketing strategy and ads. Their responsibility is to bring the consumer to the forefront of the process and to inspire the team to work with the consumer in mind. The planner has a point of view about the consumer and is not shy about expressing it.” - Fortini-Campbell The ultimate goal of the planner is to work with consumers as partners in the process of developing advertising. This relationship with the consumer allows planners to involve their input at every stage of the process and to inform and inspire creative ideas that guide and validate the resulting campaign in the consumers interests. Planners are the “consumer’s representative” of the account team. According to Jon Steel advertising can exist without account planning, but planners add an element of creativity to the advertising mix. They are typically people who are interested in meeting people and talking to the consumers. Planners want to find out what makes people tick and use that market information and research data to guide the campaign process. It is the planner’s job to take all this information and funnel it down into a short idea that helps inspire and directionalize the creative department. Planners have the ability to bridge together their understanding of the consumer and the awareness of how this knowledge will be used within their own business. It is the account planners' job to understand and draw insightful conclusions not only from the consumer, but also the brand. Because communication channels have presently multiplied, it is even harder, and more crucial, for communication to break through this clutter and reach the target audience. The planner must provide “the edge” that will ensure that a client's message will do just this According to Fortini-Campbell, there are five main roles that an account planner must fulfill; First, they must discover and define the advertising task. They have the job of organizing information about the consumer and the marketplace from every possible source, including the client and agency data and secondary research. Second, they prepare the creative brief. The creative brief is the tool that the creative department uses to conceptualize ads. Another main purpose of the brief is to define the proper positioning of a brand. Third, they are involved in creative development. During creative conceptualization, it is the account planner's duty to represent the consumer. They may also interact with the creative department through the sharing of initial consumer responses to ad ideas or advertising approaches. Fourth, they must present the advertising to the client. The planner informs the client of “how and why a consumer will react to [specific] advertising.” Finally, they track the advertising's performance. Through their follow-up research, account planners track reactions to the ads in the actual marketplace and provide Creatives with additional information. There are numerous characteristics that make for a good account planner. Fortini-Campbell state that a person must possess intelligence, experience, strong observational skills, and judgment. The account planning group adds that account planners must have the skills to "conceptualize and think strategically. They must also be able to argue their viewpoint coherently. Being a team player and having a strong personality are also positive attributes. Ideally, an account planner candidate will have some experience in market research, brands, advertising and communications, and people management. The account planner is the bridge between the business side to the creative side of a marketing campaign. On the business side, the planner works with the account manager to understand what the client is looking for and then relate that to what the consumer wants. On the creative side, the planner helps to create an expressive snapshot or a single-minded directional creative brief to lead the way to the drawing board. A good account planner is inspiring by nature, passionate for advertising and has respect for creativity. They are intuitive and curious about consumers and relationships. Planners must be educated in marketing and research techniques. Secretly planners must be little detectives looking for truth and understanding. They must also be numerate, imaginative, and creditable when it comes to translating and presenting research.