What is the role of planning and how do you get the most out of planners?


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.


One Response to “What is the role of planning and how do you get the most out of planners?”

  1. Thanks Kevin! Some great pointers :-)

    A while ago I wrote ‘A Planner’s Playbook’ with some similar points – http://www.slideshare.net/sytse/a-planners-playbook-everything-i-learned-about-planning-at-miami-ad-school-new-york

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