Over at numerous blogs, I read a lot of posts about following titles : digi planner, connection planner, digital strategist...
My friend Noah, who's head of strategy at The Barbarian Group, concluded : 'The split between digital strategy and traditional strategy (or whatever you want to call it), is not based on the medium but based on the product. It’s about advertising strategists versus experience strategists, and I definitely think there is a place for that distinction. Here at TBG Justin (head of UX) and myself have had many conversations about the overlap between our departments. Our goals as a department are the same and reflect the goals of the company as a whole: Build awesome things that people will use and enjoy. Though our deliverables may be distinct, how we approach that problem is similar: We dig in with whatever we can get our hands on (users, the brand, content) and look for insights that will drive how the brand behaves. Anyway, I would argue (and am right now) that understanding the messages that resonates with people (advertising) is far different than understanding the experience (digital). (I’m generalizing here a bit, obviously digital can include advertising, but I am speaking from my own experience at The Barbarian Group, a company that mostly focuses on building experiences)'
As a planner, I have one's say...
Back to basis
When Guy Murphy (Head of Planning at JWT) launched the new JWT Planning Model, he realized how this new model was 'true to his instincts'.
What are you talking about? I'm talking about our job description which is always the same in spite of the media landscape explosion and the surabundance of the digital media.
So what is it? We take a part in the creative process by helping creative people to invent advertising ideas (these would be tv, prints or interactive experiences). It's a 3 beats piece of music : Set the brief, get the ideas and develop them.
How do we do that? To my mind, the best method is quite similar to the way you plan a trip : where are we today, where do you want go? (sometimes smart planners will say : where is it possible to go? Of course, it depends on who you are...) and the last question, how to get there?
Open the pandora box
What happens next is going to take you by surprise... At JWT (of course in other agencies too), we work with a very special and confidential document called 'creative brief'. Brilliant isn't it?
For those who read it for the very first time, the creative brief gives away loads of secret parts : brand idea, problem, audience, task, stimulus, response, discoveries and a very strange part called 'channel thinking'.
About the best way to engage your audience
The fantastic thing about channel thinking is that digital specialists, connection planners and other digi strategists can express all their best if according to the problem, the audience, the task if the digital media is the best way to do it.
Despite of targeting an alien, it's difficult to ignore it. But as a good planner, you must be agnostic. We're consumer-centric, not media-centric.
A re you trying to say there is no need of strategist specialized in Digital?
Of course not. We live in a digital world. Faster, simpler, more useable and more accessible to all than ever before. Digital evangelists get a kick out of anticipating and embracing change, decoding new digital landscapes and seeking out insights into brand ideas. We need them. Definitly.
What I'm trying to say is that a good digital planner is a good planner first.
I know that all the advertising and marketing market try to be in vogue. But sometimes, it's not about a revolution but only a evolution.