A future focused strategy for planning

Craig Le Grice

PLANNING FOR COMMUNICATIONS CHANGE

On considering 'the future of planning', I believe that the wider question is in fact 'what is the future of the advertising agency?'

Answers to this question have recently been dominated by (sometimes wild) opinions on the 'take over of digital technology', the threat of consolidation, the consequences of network acquisitions and the effects of productisation or commoditisation. Yet the function of planning in these conversations usually gets as little attention as planners themselves do at Cannes. I argue that the largest threat planning – and communications – faces is its status with clients. Unlike professional services firms – accountancy, legal and consulting – advertising is not known for, thought of, or remunerated for the strategic strength of its ideas. In a developed industry that lauds creativity and focuses on visual effectiveness, the catalyst behind ideas (often what makes them effective in the first place) is too often forgotten. Too many agencies are led by creative ideas. Too many agencies 'sell' themselves on creative ideas.