There is an Account Planning group on Facebook and Sytse Kooistra, a member, asked for points of view on what the role of planning is within an agency.  Every planner answers this question differently, although common themes are apparent.  The question and my response are below.

Planning Question

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Be obsessive about understanding the client’s business, the consumer, how media channels work and inspiring great ideas.

 

– Inform conversations with relevant information and argument.

 

– Understand what the objectives are (help set them) and what drives comms success (Are the team clear on what measurably improves brand and sales performance?).

 

– Guide the team to create more effective work.

 

– Allow time to think, reflect and refine; as well as for origination.

 

– Be clear and confident in saying “no”, when it’s the right answer, as well as “and” when you need to build or refine thinking further.

 

– Write succinct and compelling creative briefs (rewrite the briefs of account handlers if this helps team engagement).

 

– Guide creative development (don’t become a binary pass/fail test for ideas).

 

– Develop a coherent and robust plan for each client that everyone can understand – refining it should be rarely necessary.

 

– Speak and present with clarity, simplicity and passion.

 

– Continue to learn and challenge. Budget for learning.

 

– Make the process fun and engaging for the team.

 

– Be committed and still a pleasure to work with.

 

– Make everyone feel smarter; your job isn’t to own intelligence within the team, it’s to raise the intelligence and effect of the work and team around you.

 

– Be recognised for the effectiveness of your work and the work you inspire by winning awards.

 

– Provide and inspire thought leadership.

 

– Work collaboratively. Train others and share knowledge.

 

– Promote what’s interesting, different, engaging and substantial in the work of others as well as your own.

 

– Don’t expect the answers to come from sitting behind a desk. Get your hands dirty.


According to LinkedIn data, below are the top 50 companies people searched for jobs at, in the UK, during 2014.  Click the image to enlarge on your screen:

Top 50 Employers Sort After In The UK

Link to the original list from LinkedIn: HERE


An excellent piece written by Dave Trott appeared in Campaign today.

The article asks the question “what do you use for fuel; what motivates you to perform in your career?”   The example was taken from Peter Mead, of AMV fame in UK advertising.

Dave Trott: What do you use for fuel?
In his biography Peter Mead talks about his first job.

He was sixteen, he’d just left school with two ‘O’ level GCSEs.

He was applying for a job as a dispatch boy.

What Americans call a ‘gofer’: “Go fer this”, “Go fer that”.

Peter had two interviews: one was at the massive agency, J Walter Thompson.

“Peter didn’t like being treated as a member of the lower classes, so he didn’t take the job at JWT.”

It was incredibly snooty, only the poshest people were employed there.

Peter was interviewed by a secretary in the ‘personnel dept’.

Like JWT, she was posh: elegant high heels, two piece oufit, pearls.

Her accent was cut glass.

As she talked, it became apparent there was a huge gap between the people who worked ‘above stairs’  who would be seen by clients.

And the lower orders, the ‘below stairs’ people who handled the daily running of the building.

Cleaners, doormen, van drivers, tea ladies, and dispatch boys.

She informed Peter that he would be starting at three pounds ten shillings a week (£3.50).

But what burned into Peter’s memory was when he asked where he would eat.

She said “There is a staff canteen of course, but you won’t be able to eat there on your wages. However, you can take your sandwiches into Berkeley Square and eat them there”.

Peter didn’t like being treated as a member of the lower classes, so he didn’t take the job at JWT.

He took the job at the other agency instead.

He worked his way from the dispatch department to a job in account handling, and gradually worked his way up from there.

Eventually he opened his own advertising agency.

Eventually he persuaded David Abbott to join him.

Eventually Abbott Mead Vickers became one of London’s best agencies.

Finally, becoming the biggest agency in the country, bigger than everyone, including JWT.

Peter says that on that day he got his wife to make him sandwiches.

He popped them into a Tupperware box.

Then he went to Berkeley Square and sat on his own, on a bench overlooking J Walter Thompson.

And he ate his sandwiches.

Exactly where that posh secretary had told him all those years ago that he’d have to eat his sandwiches.

Because people like him couldn’t afford to eat in the JWT staff canteen.

It reminded me of something Gary Neville said.

Gary Neville had an incredible record as a defender for Manchester United and England.

He won the Premiership eight times, the FA Cup three times, the League Cup twice, the Community Shield twice, The Champions League twice, the Intercontinental Cup, and the Club World Cup.

An interviewer asked him where he found the energy and desire to perform consistently at that level.

Gary Neville said “Indignation is a great source of energy”.

That was his fuel.

He knew he needed to locate that before every game.

Find something that courses through your veins.

A source of energy you can turn on when everyone else says it’s time to quit.

Something that gives you an unfair advantage.

A bench where one day you’re going to sit and eat your sandwiches.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk


Many countries have experienced continuing recovery in their advertising media spend during 2014.  The forecast from Carat continues to show positive growth, although at a slightly lower level, during 2015.

carat-ad-spend

Carat publish updates on their website: Here


Global Apple iPhone sales, by quarter, since launch of the original iPhone.

Global Apple iPhone Sales Q3 2007 to Q3 2014

Data: Apple iPhone Sales Q3 2007 to Q3 2014

iPhone Announcement / Launch Dates

Original iPhone announced January 9, 2007 in USA (UK, France & Germany launch Nov 2007, plus Ireland & Austria in Spring 2008)

iPhone 3G released on July 11  2008 in 22 countries

iPhone 3GS announced on June 8 2009.

iPhone 4 announced June 7 2010 (white version not launched until April 2011)

From 2007 to 2011, Apple spent $647 million on advertising for the iPhone in the US alone.

iPhone 4S announced October 4 2011.  1 million sold in the first 24 hours and Apple later became the largest mobile manufacturer in 2011 by volume, with unit sales surpassing Nokia.

iPhone 5 announced September 12 2012.

iPhone 5C and 5S models announced September 10 2013.

iPhone 6 and 6 plus models announced September 9 2014.

Apple quarterly reporting periods

Q1 = Jan – Mar

Q2 = Apr – Jun

Q3  = Jul – Sept

Q4 – Oct – Dec

Data Source: Apple


LIDL poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I still firmly believe that when businesses fight solely on price they embark on a competitive race to the bottom.  Providing simplicity in how good value is accessed by your customers may be a great differentiator that augments a value message.  And this can divert some pressure from having to be the absolute cheapest competitor in order to claim difference or prowess in being a customer champion.

Providing simplicity to the customer can be difficult for the business.  It forces you to think about how to remove operational barriers and pressures on the customer to make them qualify in a way the business feels in control.

I first became aware of the change in approach at LIDL in 2013.  Thier activity in supplying a pop-up restaurant in Stockholm with LIDL produce showed more confidence over the quality of the food, extending relevance beyond their traditional the low price value.

This was followed in the UK by a recent TV campaign championing the surprising quality LIDL offer.

The UK ad reinterpreted the same idea for the British consumer and had middle class tonal appeal. The product quality established in a farmer’s market scene, then using the reveal to show the way consumers were pleasantly surprised when the LIDL brand was revealed.

As both mid-price and value price competitors scrabble to demonstrate their worth and difference selling often similar commodities.  A new press ad from LIDL has now emphasised how at least one competitor makes it difficult for customers to access value similar to that offered by LIDL; because they don’t make access to value simple and straightforward.

LIDL Ad

Having worked with Waitrose on their customer communications and services, I’ve come to appreciate the amount of training, dedication and focus required in order to provide a consistent quality of retail service. Particularly one that customers appreciate is truly centred around helping them gain better food. While providing cheap food in itself is easier.  Making your brand appreciated requires brand difference and service quality people respect and prefer.

If Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s in the UK place barriers in front of service and make it difficult for the customer to identify if they are indeed truly gaining competitive value on price; they will continue to find the approach demonstrated by LIDL difficult to challenge.

There is an interesting article exploring these points further at Contagious: HERE

Sainsbury’s have also made it less simple for customer’s to gain value by halving the rewards available automatically through Nectar points collected for every £1 spent.  Sainsbury’s intend to tactically deploy additional point bonuses that hope to target customer shopping benefits more closely, by incentivising specific purchase bevaviour.  But this adds a barrier to simplicity and the clarity of reward available on a regular basis for the customer.

Marketing Week discuss Sainsbury’s change of Nectar Points: HERE

 




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