BEST OF 2017: The growing complexity of the media and marketing landscape is making the agency planner more influential according to WARC report published earlier this year.

The future of strategy report was the most-read article in 2017 on this subject. Based on a global survey of senior agency planners, it covered the current state of the strategic discipline, future opportunities and challenges, and guidance on building the planning team of the future.

While the role of planners is fragmenting, the study advised that the big future opportunity is in moving ‘upstream’ to help clients solve business problems rather than only focusing on ads – a development that pitches them more directly against the consultancies that are moving in the opposite direction.

Three modules of WARC’s Strategy Toolkit, created in association with The Effectiveness Partnership to help planners develop their skills as strategic thinkers, were in second, third and fifth place.

Strategy Toolkit: How marketing works gives an overview of how marketing drives business performance, the theories of buyer behaviour, the ways that marketing can influence that behaviour and how advertising works.

This was followed by Strategy Toolkit: The Role of the Strategist, offering guidance on planning as a job role via a selection of papers that cover the basic principles of planning and definitions of great planning practice.

And Strategy Toolkit: Analysing the brand explains that a brand is more than just a product and why a deep understanding of what a brand is, and what it could be, is a core strategic skill.

Sandwiched between these in fourth place was an article warning against neglecting brand strategy in the rush to experiment with the latest digital toys. Rebooting brand strategy for the digital age argued that three drivers of successful brand strategy are deep consumer insight, a greater sense of purpose and more simple and more visual brand positioning outputs.

Sourced from WARC