Account Planning Concepts and Definitions
Account planners….. • Discover how to connect with consumers and inspire them to respond. • Identify behavior patterns and reasons behind them. • Determine creative approach for advertising messages
Conducting ‘why’ research • Qualitative methods provide subjective insight into consumer thinking about a brand. • Planners use focus groups and interviews to learn what motivates consumers to choose one brand over another brand. • Planners look for meanings from which to draw conclusions about purposes, aspirations, emotions, feelings and intentions.
Researching behavior • P&G visits people’s homes to record their product usage habits on video. • Nintendo pays teenagers to interpret the video game world. • Kowasaki uses an anthropologist to ‘hang out’ with motorcycle riders.
What is account planning? • Agency job function as consumer’s representative • Brings consumer perspective to strategy and creative development, pre-testing ads and tracking brand’s progress • Uses research to guide creative process • Interprets research to spot openings for development
Planning evolution • Invented in 1965 by Stanley Pollitt who wanted to use research for creative • 1968 J Walter Thompson established an ‘account planning’ department • 1985 Chiat Day hired an account planner as part of the creative team
Events favorable to planning • Change in client expectation from agency. Relevant data to ad decisions became crucial for results. • Change in consumer attitudes. Agencies must monitor social change. • Brand images are more important. Emotional and practical side to each. • Advertising environment has changed. Consumers want to be entertained.
Role of account planning • Works with account manager to direct the ad development process • Prepares directional creative brief • Uses diagnostic research to establish a dialog between creative team and consumer
Campaign planning cycle • Evaluate existing research on brand • Commission more research to define strategy • Conduct diagnostic research on initial creative ideas • Rationalize creative ideas to get client approval • Supervise ad pre-tests for recall • Track results of awareness and image
Planner’s job 1. Overall: Be concerned with relevance of advertising to target audience. Client says “My product/brand” AE says “My client” CD says “My ad” Planner says “My consumer”
2. Strategy development stage • Collects and synthesizes data to guide strategic development to gain insight on consumer’s relationship with the brand • Defines the positioning and relevant proposition to capture rational and emotional appeals of the brand.
3. Creative development stage • Commission diagnostic research on rough ads to measure responses • Collect feedback on how ad is working • Interpret responses to stimulate creative process further
4. Approval stage • Provide objective justification for creative • Provide reassurance on how and why ad execution will work for the brand
5. Post-campaign stage • Commission and use research to track the progress of the brand. • Answer questions: Is the strategy working? Are objectives being met? Do new ads need developing? How should they be developed?
What makes a good planner? • Passion for advertising creative process • Intuitive curiosity about consumers • Inspiring communication skills • Aptitude for research interpretation • Visionary mind for big idea • Desire for involvement in account team • Mediator between theory and practice