A creative network of the idea, by the idea, for the idea

Monday, March 23, 2009

Planners are the keymasters

If you follow my blog thinking alaud you know I have two blogging passions; Dave Trott and Seth Godin. They are both brilliant, at least to me, because they both offer a unique point of view that I happen to share. But mostly because they manage to say interesting things post after post after post.
Now, sometimes, just a few times, I find myself in a different place on the discussion spectrum.

In this case is regarding planners and creatives and this time is mostly with Dave Trott.

In a recent post at the Brand Republic blog Dave Trott describes planners this way:
Planning basically wants to protect the brand. Their job is strategy, to have a plan of where everything’s going. And consumer feedback, making sure what’s being done works with the people who’ll be parting with the cash.
and he goes on to describe creatives this way:
Creative basically wants to win awards. They want to do ads that get as much publicity as possible. Because 90% of advertising doesn’t get noticed and, if no one notices the ads, they can’t possibly work.
His main point is that creatives and planners are on the same side but with different priorities. And I disagree with him.

It just so happens that today Leon, a planner at Jung Von Matt in Stockholm had a post on his blog titled: Advice for the next generation Planner

Leon posts the advice of three brilliant planners that could be summarize in this points:
  • Be curious and learn as much as you can
  • Think about how you help and solve the brand problems. Beyond the TV ad and the billboard headline.
  • Learn to get organizations to do stuff.
  • Pay attention to what works and what doesn't.
Read the blog because it is really much more than those bullet points and the planners are icons of the industry.

The thing is, as good advise as this can be for a young planner. And as good as Dave's point of view could be based on his many years of experience. I think that planners play the most important role inside an agency. And this is why their role has become more and more relevant and important in the modern marketing world.

In my opinion planners are in charge of finding the magic. What makes this product unique? what can be said about it that could engage the target? what ammunition could the creatives use to deliver stand out creative?

I'm not saying is easy, because it isn't. But being curious and knowing how to make an organization tickle is not enough. Not today, not with the complexity of today's consumer and not with so many similar choices in the market.

Planners insights are the master key that opens the mystery door to every brief. Without them, the creative team is left to try every key on every door. Sometimes we get lucky. Most times we spend a lot of time opening doors to a brick wall.
  • Planners need to see beyond the matrix. Planners have to see the code that is the matrix and make sense of it.
  • Planners need to deliver hypothesis.
  • Planners need to play creative chess and think three plays ahead.
  • Planners need to speak consumer and translate it into opportunities.
  • Planners need to stand out against confusion. Creative have played the bad guys for too long.
  • Planners need to remind us of the purpose.
  • Planners need to be independent. But lean on the side of ideas.
And I guess that this is the point of disagreement with Dave. The priority of the planners and the creatives should be the same; the idea. Nothing more and nothing less.
If planners then want to learn and be curious and tickle me to follow them, I'm cool with that. But first give me the master keys.

1 comment:

  1. I want a key please! What a great annalogy, right in the keyhole :)