the future of planning
The not so gentle art of planning
Agency planning departments and the roles of the planners therein are changing. These changes are for the better
12 September 2022
If the art of planning is about successfully affecting change then it’s entirely appropriate that the discipline itself is undergoing a transformation of itself.
On an apparently superficial level this might be something as seemingly prosaic as changing the job titles of planners to strategists, but such a change indicates that planners/strategists are taking more of a front-foot in business transformation. This has prompted us to initiate a new series where we talk to eminent planners/strategists about how the role of strategic planning is changing and how they get their hands dirty digging for ideas, solving real-life business problems from the nuggets they uncover.
Over the coming weeks, the series will unveil some of the best minds of the industry who take us through how some of the old metrics that have served us well are becoming redundant. No longer is maintaining or growing share of market enough. The pace of change – be it technological, societal or geo-political – means that old business models and associated planning techniques are obsolete.
Instead the discipline needs to move beyond just poring over data and consumer insights (however essential these remain) to become more culturally resonant – a true litmus paper of diverse consumer behaviour that is no longer necessarily predictable.
Married to this is a change in what success looks like – if the old share of market metric is to be consigned to history, what does success for planners/strategists and the brands that they nurture look like?
Richard Huntington, the chief strategy officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, who kicks off our series of mini-essays tomorrow, says that brands now – and in the future – need to measure themselves against “share of life’. It’s no longer good enough to hope that the market grows and takes you with it – rather the most successful brands (as new entrants in new sectors have shown) provide utility across new and interesting spaces.
For brand owners this requires a reimagining of what business they are in – a bold step, but one that the best marketers will surely embrace. And for agencies it requires a retooling of the people that they entrust to manage their clients’ brands – new skills and new talent from places that were previously unimaginable.
And we’ll be covering how best to manage this process too. But at its core, this change to new techniques, new metrics and new people is what planning has always been about – new strategies and new plans for changing times.