NASHVILLE: Planners should take responsibility for the “disciplined systems” that agencies need to consistently develop breakthrough communications, according to Faris Yakob, co-founder of consultancy Genius/Steals.

“Every agency or business benefits from a disciplined system for devising communications,” he argued. (For more details, read WARC’s exclusive report: Problems, processes, and the purpose of the planner.)

“The planner’s job is to oversee that system; to make sure that it works at each stage; to provide research, understanding [and] insight; and to manage that all the way along, so that processes make things easier and repeatable.”

Drilling down into this process, Yakob suggested the core objective for planners is to tackle conundrums facing their clients. “The first job of the planner is to create problems,” he said.

More specifically, he explained in a webinar held by WARC, the process of planning is fundamentally a creative endeavor with a clearly defined goal at its heart.

“Planning is a creative process, just as much as creative development of work is. The beginning, obviously, is research and synthesis,” he observed. “That leads to the center point, which is defining a problem.”

As hinted at by this job description, planners must be advocates of intellectual rigor and clarity of articulation, as well as being driven by the desire to find the best possible solution for clients.

“First of all, it’s important to remember, if you are a planner, that the process is yours,” Yakob said. “It's the planner’s job to oversee that.”

Whichever process an agency uses, Yakob asserted, it should be based on a circular model that facilitates learning through iteration.

“Breaking down the abstracted parts of the planning process – and they are always, to some degree, similar – the linear process problem, research strategy, ideas, execution, evaluation leads back into an iterative cycle,” Yakob said.

“We have to be learning from our actions or that wouldn’t be very helpful. So any linear diagram ultimately has some kind of iterative circle.”

The second instalment of Faris Yakob's “The ABCs [Agency, Brand, Consumer] of behaviors and biases” webinar series will be held on 13 September. Readers can sign up here.

Data sourced from WARC