Opening Confession and Mission Statement.
At the place I work... planning is still quite an unexplored territory and undefined undertaking - and now it's already declared dead. I don't even "know" planning - like most people around don't - and now what I don't know is already wrong... Confusing this is, indeed.
There are more or less thought through explanations why planning as we know it is dead. These are summarised briefly & slightly satirically below:
1) The mediascape has changed so the consumer has changed so we have to change. This is the most common and - as you will admit (in private)- most meaningless mantra we have to nod to all the time. Bascially, what is suggested here is "Audiences can not be reached through old channels (=TV). We have to master new touchpoints to stay relevant." Given the fact that account planning never has been about message placement but about the message itself, this is not very relevant, yet...
2) The search of a short positioning message (the Big Essential Idea) has been an adpatation to an ancient media landscape - some say wisely. We had to target an unscattered audience via expensive "airing" of a message. The simpler and more repetitive this was the cheaper and memorable it got. This is said not to be the case today. Some have proposed lots of small ideas instead of one Big Idea. & that sounds interesting, actually. The term "Long Tail" has been borrowed for that - and then forgotten ...mostly because of its phallic associations. The "Integration" discussion became less about uniformity but about complexity management & diversity.
3) The need to plan for Interactions instead of Messaging requires a different aproach to planning. Yes, obviously. Lots of Big Ideas like e.g. "Think Small" or "Keep Walking" are of limited use for the development of apps, social network activations, mobile promotions & "experience platforms".
4) There are more message senders and content providers out there than ever. Everybody is sending and recieving messsages! This is called the Conversation Age. So audiences either will stop being "audiences" at all or at least it will be difficult for brands to get heard because there's just so much private chatter going on.
5) Since budgets are being shifted away from "classical", "non-classical" thinking is the thing to be into. Well that's remarkably honest. We do have to adapt to that, don't we.
Scary shit if you really think about it! People who don't get scared at this point are either...
a) not really responsible for coming up with strategic ideas
b) or work in disciplines that benefit from the budget shifts (That's luck not virtue by the way)
c) or are wise enough to know that propaganda always sounds like this and tries to scare you (it's oversimplified, biased & in denial of the present day in favour of a new world to come)
Now, as we are a bit scared and have heard partially good arguments why planning as we know it must die ... soon at least. What shall we do? How shall we change our input and output now? Well, here we are left on our own by the prophets of the new world. There is hardly ANY advise on that out there despite the proclaimed spirit of "open source" and sharing. And let's be honest, why advise someone who's already dead? We simply don't need that old planning any more! It's time for something new. In most cases this rhetorically means "it's time for someONE new". Now you're scared, aren't you.
In this blog I will try to transcend the duality of "Old" and "New" planning without ignoring the changes of media landscape & agencies' output. I will not pretend to "know" planning - I don't. I will try to write for planners who need and want to do planning not those who dream of being somewhere else (with google & apple mostly). I will write for planners who have their permanent problems with performing the planning task - because it's a bloody tricky thing to do. ...& I will change my opinion & style whenever I want to or you convince me to change it.
Happy to have you here.