Thursday, September 28, 2006

Changing The Process: Jim Taylor of Mediaedge:cia

The following are on-the-fly notes from the Consumer Engagement conference: Jim Taylor, Panning Partner, Central Planning Group, Mediaedge:cia:

What is communications planning?

Communications industry is in a period of structural and cultural turmoil.

- Post full-service agency, things ad started to calm down.

- Then came communications channel planning…holistic planning.

- Communications planning became very disruptive.

So what is communications planning? The process of developing a holistic plan, across marketing and trade marketing functions, that defines how a brand will perform. Known as:

- Engagement planning

- Integrated marketing communications

- Connections planning

- Channel planning

- 360 planning

- Media-neutral planning

Structurally, it precedes execution. It involves bridging the worlds of strategy and creativity.

What are benefits of communications planning for client?

  1. Being true to your annual objectives.
  2. Interlinking communications channels and encouraging better use of them.

Who does communications planning well at the moment?

- Individuals do, not agencies.

- UK and Asia are a little more advanced, but not much.

Do clients really understand communications planning?

- Not really.

- But there is a sense of momentum.

- Clients don’t know how to pay for it, or set a separate budget stream.

Then what do clients really want?

- Those with no real understanding value above the line creative, most.

Is it important to be independent of execution to do communications planning?

- You can get objectivity in executional agencies.

- It’s dangerous to be too removed from execution. Being objective and subjective is key.

Different agencies are scrabbling to adopt communications planning. But is it a decoy for integration?

- There are a few, because clients think it’s important.

Today if we’re honest, the agency world is utterly confused.

- The ROI from communications is really diminishing.

- Communications Planning may be a part-solution.

- BUT execution is what clients pay for.

Four Stages in Communications Planning

  1. Wanting to Fly: 2000-2005: within all execution agencies, all forms of planning will merge into Communications Planning
  2. Learning to Fly: 2005-2010: Within media agencies, media buying will relocate. A measurement device creates the tipping point.
  3. Cutting Through The Earth’s Atmosphere: 2010-2020: companies that have historically understood econometrics will do well. Clients will want more control over their brands at an emotional level. Client environment will become more appealing to agency people. Ad agencies will struggle on three fronts: Communications Planning; Production; Ideas. Some agencies will gravitate to production; some will gravitate to production.
  4. Weightlessness: 2020 onwards: Be able to tell the “return on idea” investment.

Making tomorrow happen today.

- Communications Planning and Creative is a core product.

- Neither dictating to the other or coming first.

- Working together but independently.

- Need equality between the two; results in account handling and management consultancy.

Why Not Create This Today?


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