Dan Hill, Head of Planning at Karmarama, discusses the breadth of skills and knowledge required in a modern day planning department.
It seems that every six months the discipline of strategic planning gains a new prefix.
Content strategy, real-time strategy and influencer strategy are just a few of the more recent additions, sitting perkily alongside stalwarts such as brand strategy and communications strategy.
In many ways these prefixes are increasingly meaningless, as good strategy always bleeds one into another.
Nevertheless their steady stream is revealing.
It tells us that despite some of our agencies being over a century old, and despite an increasing body of best practice and received wisdom, advertising as an industry is in its adolescence.
We’re an industry rapidly changing shape, in the midst of an identity crisis (we’re storytellers, right?), but also developing new strengths that seemed unlikely even a year ago.
For planning, which has always been an ill-defined discipline, it means we’re becoming an increasingly broad church.
Today a progressive planning department will include a raft of skills and interests; from anthropology to UX, from business analysis to creative inspiration, from brand management to service design.
Whilst one person cannot hope to master all these skills, this new reality of a more plural definition of planning has implications for individual planners.
Firstly, planners - so often cast as experts - must ensure they remain students.
Secondly, more than ever, we must collaborate not just with our usual accomplices in the creative or tech departments, but also with each other.
Whilst a strategist’s ability to bring focus will always be essential, tomorrow’s great planners will also have brilliant peripheral vision. They’ll be able to understand when to collaborate and who with.
With this in mind, the IPA’s Strategic Planning course is designed to expose planners to different aspects of strategy and highlight the eclectic mix of skills and styles leading the industry today.
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.
Dan Hill is Head of Planning at Karmarama.
To book onto the IPA’s Strategic Planning course, please click here.
Last updated 21/01/2015