What is an account planner and what is a brand consultant?
In the job I have now I have to be both. And these two roles do differ. It goes roughly like this:
Likes schemes and models (circles, process charts, 4quadrants, even 6!).
Wants projects to last and likes project phases on slides.
Believes brands are complex and need more than 50 words in geometrical forms to be described.
Uses words like "trust", "partnership", "future", "innovation" in writing without being ashamed.
Thinks advertising is not very important.
Claims to be able to manage every aspect of the brand.
Believes research can "identify" "drivers" and "triggers" (through asking consumers) to which a brand should be aligned to... And calls all this "consumer insights" (plural!)
Earns fees starting from € 20.000,- per project
Likes to have one idea based on one insight.
Prefers having an idea over idea generation processes.
The problem of planners is often the fact that their ideas have limited scope in 90% of the cases: they are not very realistic for the organizations to be implemented as a guideline for the whole brand experience and product development. But they do have ideas. Brand consultants don't. Ideas are not born in consensus - and consulting is about creating consent. Planning is about creating edge.
So here's a planners idea (project phase 0, working time: waiting for a beer):
ACCOUNT PLANNING. WHEN YOUR BRAND REALLY IS IN TROUBLE. Otherwise: get a consultant.