A cultural revolution

Dayna Dion
Ogilvy & Mather

Learning to live in cultures, not categories: The future of brand planning

Planners will be reborn as cultural strategists, moving from being the voice of the consumer to the voice of human nature, gathering cultural insight and building a brand's cultural currency.

Sev D'Souza, of the London-based agency once known as Still Price Court Twivy D'Souza, attempted an official definition of account planning in 1986. "When asked at a party what he or she does in an advertising agency, the account planner would probably say, 'I'm the consumer's representative'," D'Souza wrote. I encountered this definition as a student of planning and it made sense. It's what I told people I did for a living. I took vigorous notes at focus groups, analysed data and devoured trend reports, attempting to extract creativity-inspiring consumer insight — the elusive 'ah ha'. After a decade of consumer discoveries, I wanted to remove my consumer hat for a while and took a hiatus from planning as D'Souza defined it.