“What are of the artifacts of planning? When the planning process occurs, what would you use and why?” Yakob asked during a WARC webinar. (For more details, read WARC’s exclusive report: Understanding the “products” of planning.)
“A planning product, in this schema, is a strategic artifact that facilitate a process – be it a brief, a deck, an insight, and so on.”
Establishing a clear definition of such terms – which are central to the planning function, yet are regularly imbued with different meanings and purposes by different practitioners – is essential, Yakob argued.
Coupled with this linguistic clarity, he explained, it is important for planners to carefully refine their use of these strategic building blocks.
An indicative example involves “insights” – a vital planning product, but a notion which is often understood in different ways by individual planners.
“One of the confusions often is that insight is not information,” said Yakob. “Information is sort of neutral: it states a thing. Whereas an insight is not mutual: it's directional; it has to be generative.”
Elaborating on this theme, he suggested the best insights establish connections “between objects and actions”. Said Yakob: “An insight is a provocation that enables predictions. It is a rule.
“The typology must be interesting, otherwise it would be obvious – and, therefore, non-competitively powerful. And generative: there must be obvious implications that come out of it, otherwise it's simply information.
“It's not seeing something no one else has seen … It is, rather, uncovering a non-obvious relationship that allows us to think causally about the future, which is the important part.”
As an illustration, he pointed to the example of people being interested in “buying holes not drills” as highlighting a central element of the planning process.
“Articulations of the insight are as important as the insight itself,” said Yakob. “The relationship between a person and a drill is remapped to the hole in a way that's creatively fruitful.”
The second installment of Faris Yakob's "The ABCs [Agency, Brand, Consumer] of behaviours and biases" webinar series will be held on 13 September. Readers can sign up here.
Data sourced from WARC