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Planning: an old fashioned job in a new fashioned industry?

Planning: an old fashioned job in a new fashioned industry?
Dan Hill, Head of Planning at Karmarama and Leo Rayman, Head of Planning at Grey discuss the ever-changing role of a planner.

In our industry right now we're living between worlds. An old world and a new world in coexistence. You see it in the increasing diversity of people we work with. You see it in the increased competition for a piece of the budget pie. You see it in the increasing numbers of options on offer to clients.

Big interruptive TV campaigns can still deliver results, while tiny crafted moments that feel as if they belong in culture seem to be working too. Sometimes you win a pitch on the back of a new-fangled service innovation idea and the next one will be won through the grind of an old-fashioned research process. 

Our clients want proper set-piece campaigns and they want always-on, feed-worthy and thumb-friendly content. We love long-reads and we love Buzzfeed. We love being always-on and we love switching-off.

It's relatively easy for planners to be either experts in what's worked, or evangelists for future solutions whose time will surely come.  To become a master-planner you've got to be familiar with both worlds. As well-versed in the old as the new. You need to be sceptical enough to spot the emperor's new clothes and you need to be open-minded enough to take a risk. An experimental scientist but also a historian with a vast cultural hinterland. Forget T-Shaped people, today we need to be Square-shaped: knowing a lot about a lot and fluent in many marketing languages.

As if that wasn't enough, we also need to do it at speed. Project timelines have collapsed in our real-time world. We all struggle to balance the need for rigour and substance in our strategy development whilst just getting something out there to see how it works in practice. More than ever you have to be a theorist and a practitioner. Learn by doing. But do the right thing in the first place.

That's why more than ever the IPA's Strategic Planning course is a welcome opportunity to wrestle these two worlds for a few days away from the pressures of an ever updating twitter feed / inbox. The course features inspirational speakers from the widest range of disciplines sharing their perspective, some punchy discussions and, being an Institute of Practitioners, a hands-on task applying all this new thinking to a real world brief.

In a fast-moving world, it's a brilliant time to be a strategic planner.  More than ever we need smart, thoughtful strategic leaders to help navigate this complexity and help us make the right choices.  The key to mastering a world in transition is to forever remain a student.

For more details and to book places on the IPA’s Strategic Planning Course (26th – 28th Feb 2014 inclusive), chaired by Leo Rayman and Dan Hill please follow this link, click here.


Last updated 21/01/2014

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