Of course, the ‘prosumer’ challenge faced by brands today demands a change of thinking from client’s as well as from the agency’s side. It is fundamental for brands to change the way they plan and execute their processes. This makes the job of a Planner more interesting and even more challenging, as the planner of the future has to be an expert thinker of every link between the Brand, Audience and the Agency.
Russell Marsh, Group Digital Strategy Director at Rapp London while explaining the role of a planner of tomorrow says, ‘The planners of the future now have too many options to plan all of the possibilities and so now have to find ways to use data and probability to map the future – The future is going to look more like the stock market with automated systems and traders predicting market changes based on data rather than a paper plan based on 6 month old insights’. On the other hand Lorna Hawtin, ‘Disruption Director’ at TBWA, while discussing the future of advertising agency business models replied, ‘I think planners have a massive role to play in creation of value’. Jim Carroll, Chairman of BBH London carefully explains the hardships of past in a blog post on BBH Labs, ‘I think we knew fundamentally that most events were precipitated by complex systemic pressures and relationships. But our limited power to disentangle the many elements in one system reduced us to characterising most strategic problems in rather monochrome ways’.
All of these insights leads us to a point of understanding that the change in our environments necessitates a change in our thinking as well. However, it’s not necessary that the change has to be a product of something entirely new or a set of new crazy proprietary tools. The change mentioned here refers to bringing capabilities in one’s thinking which are more appropriate to the situation in hand. Without a doubt, success comes to those who evolve their thinking not by status, but by need. Sometimes, in order to bring about change we simply have to go back to something pre-existing and mix it in the new environment, as is the case in fashion, music or architecture.
In understanding this wave of change, it’s fundamental that we also consider the changing role of advertising agencies. There was a time when the role of advertising agency was to take the client's brief through the available communication choices within the communications funnel.
However, this has changed in recent years. The situation now demands from us to think beyond client briefing and sit at the end of the communications funnel and instead of creating solutions that suit desired advertising choices, our job is now to create ideas big enough to engage the audience (employees, vendors, partners, users, buyers, management) against any business challenge. This modified role of communications demands extraordinary people who can think logically and implement creatively, whilst considering and strengthening the growth for the agency’s and the client’s businesses (In future articles, I will discuss this new role in detail and the value it can offer to the existing communication/marketing regime).