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The 4 Types of Planners

I love all the responses we’re getting from our What Kind of Planner Are You? post


Since I was puzzling over all the confusing planner mixed breeds that have emerged, a brilliant planner that I know and love suggested 4 major archetypes:

Planners leaning towards Creative, towards Consulting (a lot of former account people turned planners), towards Research, or towards Culture (the anthropologists and media mavens).

She went on to describe what she really enjoys about Planning, which sounds closest to a business strategy/consulting orientation in a creative agency environment.

I see myself as one of those planners who is really good at creating a through line from the business objective all the way to the creative concept.  I enjoy every piece of that puzzle.  Figuring out first how best to make money through a core business strategy… to linking that to an objective for marketing… to a communications objective… to execution.  Even before I was officially a planner, these questions always excited me.

I remember once figuring out for an online access provider that their profit issues weren’t about acquisition but extraordinarily high customer service costs (much higher than rest of industry), then solving that problem through a simple communications vehicle.

And for a current client, figuring out that retail vs. physician was a much more lucrative way to drive growth and share. Then creating a strategy to position the brand to a particular consumer subset that’s much more likely to be in retail and building an amazing, innovative tactical programs to activate it all.   Not to mention developing beautiful, intrusive ads to both healthcare professionals and consumers for the product through a simple, insight-led brief that has real tension in it.

I think our jobs lately as planners are expanding a bit more into the execution from pure positioning work, brief-writing and guiding creative.  With more long-format copy, and more ways than ever to reach audiences – the pull-through f brand personality and positioning has many more opportunities to go wrong. We have to embed ourselves more and more into the daily work. We can’t indulge anymore in walking away once the “concept” is done.  The difficulty is that many of us still work in relatively small planning departments and have many brands to curate and tend.  Still a struggle to find the right entry and exit point.

Hopefully, with the proliferation of planners, each account or client group will have an embedded planner and the type – whether digital, channel, creative-leaning, business analysis-leaning, etc. – will come from the needs of the brand in a given year.

The part I’d never give up:  the creative brief through concept.  I’d like to be embedded ideally all the way thru to implementation, but those are the essentials.

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