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Get Advertising Smart - How do you plan?

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The first APG event of the year went back to basics, asking three highly successful planners to talk us through their very different approaches to planning.

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Get Advertising Smart - How do you plan?

  1. 1. GET PLANNING SMART WITH APG How do you plan?
  2. 2. GET PLANNING SMART WITH APG How do you plan? The first APG event of the year went back to basics, asking three highly successful planners to talk us through their very different approaches to planning. The evening was a clear reminder that there is no right way to approach planning, and that planners need to be able to do it all – digging into fascinating combinations of data, culture and emotion when working on each and every brief. This could have been a very overwhelming reminder of how complex the role of planning has become, but instead the speakers managed to imbue an inspiring sense of optimism, offering helpful tips and prompts for planners of all levels. WHY NUMBERS ARE THE BEST PLACE TO START AMV BBDO’s Joint CSO Craig Mawdsley opened the session with a talk on why numbers should be the first thing to look at. Particularly when it comes to diagnosing the business challenge, data can help ensure you are solving the right problem: “We’re in the business of business… so start with numbers or end up in the wrong place.” - Craig Mawdsley “We live in a world of opinions” and while it is our role as planners to have an opinion, “numbers can help you to understand what is definitely true.” From there a planner can build a stronger judgement. Craig took the audience through the data analysis behind the thinking on the National Lottery pitch. He started by clarifying that all used data was freely available in the public domain – an important reminder to be creative with the data that is easily accessible and to think outside of the box. By using this data, analysing and re-analysing it, AMV BBDO was able to articulate the business challenge in a way that even the client hadn’t seen it before. Changes to the lottery over time, including increases in the price and the number of balls, meant that the odds of winning the jackpot had fallen through the floor. This brought a very different dynamic to the game that needed to be reflected in communication: rather than talking about the lottery as something you might win, it was now more appropriate to focus on the audience as players, life’s optimists. The insight would never have come to light had it not been for AMV diving into the data to articulate the challenge in a new way.
  3. 3. GET PLANNING SMART WITH APG How do you plan? METHOD PLANNING Adam&eveDDB’s Milla McPhee spoke next, describing her approach to planning as ‘Method planning’ (like method acting) or getting into “the complete emotional experience of the consumer”. In planning, understanding how consumers feel about a topic is critical: “Empathy is our superpower… that’s the strength and the role of planners.” – Milla McPhee She talked the audience through a brief for Highways England. The data in the brief showed that tailgating was a bigger factor in serious accidents that speeding. But talking to people lead her to understand that drivers were “quite proud of their close following behaviour”, they happily owned up to doing it. The issue needed a complete change in attitudes to become socially unacceptable like drink driving before it. To answer the brief, Milla chose to experience close following herself, and went out in a patrol car. The learning? She discovered that it felt like close followers were in your personal space. The creative brief was then formulated as ‘Don’t be a creep’, resulting in Space Invader-inspired creative. For another brief which required an understanding of cat owners, Milla bought a cat. Method planning can have extreme consequences! But the experience is invaluable for building conviction in the idea, as it allows a planner to “genuinely believe in an idea because you’ve experienced it.” Field days are crucial to planning, and we all need to be better at demanding them. PLANNERSNATCH Raquel Chicourel, CSO at M&C Saatchi, explained that she believed that “style is as importance as substance” – how we wrap an argument “can be the difference between good and great, it can create magic.” So she wrapped her session into an interactive presentation, inspired by the recent Black Mirror phenomenon Bandersnatch. One of Raquel’s key pieces of advice was to embrace culture. “The truth and tensions that are out there are what make our work brilliant”. – Raquel Chicourel
  4. 4. GET PLANNING SMART WITH APG How do you plan? Sometimes, planners must dig below the obvious to uncover an insight. For instance, the sharing economy normalises oversharing – but people don’t always want to share, especially when it comes to their precious holidays. This was the insight that led to the repositioning of Home and Away, a challenger brand that offers only whole villas, cabins and houses for rent, differentiating its proposition from AIrBNB. She also advised the audience to never disengage from the creative process – this is the “only way to dodge the planning twilight zone,” or the period after the strategy is sold in to the client. Raquel believes this is the time you are at most risk of losing control over your idea, and planners should demand to be involved in meetings throughout the process. WHAT WE TOOK AWAY Planning is complex, and planners can’t become too wedded to one style of planning. As Raquel Chicourel pointed out, you need to be able to be a ‘Creative strategist’, a ‘Byron- Les Aficionado”, a Culture-Ninja’ and a “data wizard’ – depending on the brief and the client. But working out which of these approaches is best for solving a brief may not always be obvious, especially during the pitch process when time is tight. Craig Mawdsley explained that working under time pressure is something we all have to learn. He compared it to football where “you train yourself to be great in 90 minutes”; in planning, we need to do the same thing, to train ourselves to be great in the period of time allotted by the brief. And if you are getting close to your deadline and are still not sure if you have the right idea, confidence can make a decisive difference. “Having utter conviction in something is the hallmark of a badly trained mind… but there comes a point when you just have to back it,” explained Craig. Matt Tanter, APG Chair and CSO at Grey London, agreed – “the ‘con’ in con artist is short for ‘confidence’”. So dig into the numbers, culture and people’s minds, and back your idea confidently to get to the winning strategy.
  5. 5. GET PLANNING SMART WITH APG How do you plan? If you are interested in learning more about the subject of this article, please contact Sarah Emmerson, Insights Planner, emmersons@bbdoknows.com. ABOUT BBDO KNOWS BBDO KNOWS is a planning resource for the BBDO network. BBDO KNOWS offers thinking, strategy, insights and inspiration on key categories, key themes and consumer segments. If you are interested in learning more about the way BBDO thinks please contact Melanie Norris, Global Planning Director, norrism@bbdoknows.com. DISCLAIMER The information and materials in this article are for general information purposes only. Whilst we try to ensure that all information and data in this article is accurate, complete and up to date, this article should not be relied upon and you should seek advice if you intend to use or rely upon any of the insights or data contained in this article. This article must not be shared, downloaded, copied or distributed for commercial purposes without the prior approval of BBDO. © BBDO 2019 All rights reserved.