Crosscuts: Role Model x Media & Publishing
Backstory: Account Planning is still misunderstood and scrutinized 30 years later in the United States. Its ambiguity has created a myriad of perceptions and misconceptions; creative accountability has traditionally rested with the creative department, where Planning becomes its effective means to an end. But the discipline is more valuable than that - Planning is a through-the-line, entrepreneurial way of developing and proving business ideas. When the Agency model and Planning are off beat what are the implications?
Culture Cut: Planners are always looking for new problems to solve and apply ideas. It is an innate behavioral trait of all good Planners, like designers, engineers and music producers. The big difference between Planners and non-Planners are how Planners perceive and contextualize risk. Risk does not exist if one is constantly refining the solution. A Planner cannot fail unless s/he stops thinking and producing ideas as beats. There is a rhythm, cadence, melody, syncopation, tenor, and harmony to the art and science of Account Planning. It is alpha and omega of consumer thinking.
Music got more creative because artists took more risk. Finding a partner to help shape this risk was left to the producer; big recording companies averse to risk created a cottage industry of self-produced artists by musically inclined producers. Add in technology and who needs ‘em. Biggest mistake they ever made. Producers now shape, influence, and manage the brand and market risk of new product releases - songs. And songs are ideas.
Today, artist and producer organically and collaboratively work together, almost to the point where the two are indistinguishable from each other. Respect and trust between these two creative and strategic entities creates magic.
Commerce Cut: “Since January 1, 29 sizeable accounts that last year collectively spent nearly $3.6B in major measured media shifted advertising agencies without reviews,” according to Adweek. What does that say about the traditional big advertising agency model, and Planning’s dependency on it to create consumer, brand and cultural beats?
Crosscutting: Producers see music in ways others cannot. Their unique ability to design audible experiences that anticipate where the next beat in Culture is sourced, created or sample from makes them planners in their own right. Planners search for ideas and insights no differently than producers, creating consumer, cultural and brand beats.
The greatest producers in popular culture are outside the box problem solvers - Quincy Jones, Dr. Dre, Rick Rubin, David Foster, Timbaland, Premier, etc. In a way they have been offbeat, as in ‘on another new beat’ while you where still on the old beat. They lead Culture by working in this manner - in investing its referred to as contrarian.
Brand Opportunity: The Offbeat Theory suggest Planners are on a different Culture beat than big Agency models, and as the creative product continues to be siphoned off by niche consultancies and agencies, planners are requiring new producers and environments to produce their ideas beyond advertising.
Market Risk: Traditional big agencies lost media as a core offering in the ’90s, lampooned dot com business plans at the turn of the century, was late to mobile marketing in the ’00s, and is still debating social media and networks. Agencies are in jeopardy of losing significant talent as Planners continue to leave ‘big agency advertising’ for more entrepreneurial avenues where they have more control over ideas.
Why can’t the Consumer become de facto Planner, self diagnosis brands as easily as they created Super Bowl spots? Opinions and Twitter are making this more likely.