Diffusion of account planning in Indian ad agencies: an organisational perspective

Padmini Patwardhan and Hemant Patwardhan

Winthrop University

Falguni Vasavada-Oza

Mudra Institute of Communications

Introduction

Pioneered in British agencies in the 1960s as an agency activity providing research-based consumer insights, account planning is widely recognised as contributing to the success of ad campaigns (Baskin 2001; Blais 2003). Key phases of the campaign process – strategy generation, creative development and campaign evaluation – all stand to benefit from account planning inputs (Morrison & Haley 2003). Advertising practitioners in the West believe that planning provides ad agencies with a ‘thought leadership’ role at the critical intersection of insights, business strategy and creativity (Blais 2003). Instead of simply mirroring a client’s marketing strategy, account planning provides complementary agency-side strategic expertise (Staveley 1999), and seeks to infuse agency teams with shared values constituting good advertising and shared practices to make it happen (O’Malley 1999). The planning concept itself has evolved in recent years from its early representation as the voice of the consumer in advertising development to an expanded focus on the broader integrated marketing communication environment (Crosier & Pickton 2003).