Account planning is supposedly an agency department which ensures that understanding of CONSUMER attitudes and reaction is brought to bear at every stage of ADVERTISING development. Account planners use MARKET RESEARCH data to guide the process of devising advertising strategy and producing effective CREATIVE WORK. They have ultimate responsibility for the strategy and CREATIVE BRIEF. Their mantra is “relevant plus distinctive equals more effective”.
The best way to describe the role of the planner is as follows.
The FINANCIAL DIRECTOR says: “My Money”.
The CLIENT says: “My product”.
The ACCOUNT DIRECTOR says: “My client”.
The CREATIVE DIRECTOR says: “My ad”.
The ACCOUNT PLANNER says: “My consumer”.
From its beginnings in the UK in the 1960s, account planning has developed into a job function in most advertising agencies. It was imported to the United States, initially by the CHIAT DAY agency and gradually send world over. The initial concept of account planning was devised in the mid – 1960s by the late Stanley Pollitt (one of the founders of Boase Massimi Pollitt in 1968), who felt that as more data became available to agencies it was being used incompetently or inexpediently by account managers.
Pollitt suggested that a specially trained researcher should work with that account manager as an equal partner. The concept was more-or-less simultaneously adopted by J. Walter Thompson, which established a new department called account planning under Stephen King in 1968. When Boase Massimi Pollitt was formed in the same year, Stanley Pollitt introduced a slightly revised version of the concept there.
According to MT Tainey, a planner and managing partner of the agency ,"Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe", three caricatures of planners emerged in the 1980s......
1) Ad tweakers, planners whose skill lies in helping their agencies develop and sell increasingly entertaining, unexpected and colloquial advertising that appeals to the sophistication of the consumer.
2) Storytellers, planners who focus on the front end of the process, giving the fullest possible picture of the product and the consumer in the belief that the secret lies in some quirky detail that will inspire the CREATIVE TEAM.
3) Planners who are knowledgeable about the brand, its competitors and its market structure, who have a close relationship with the CLIENT (who consider them to be the fountain of all wisdom), but who are comparative strangers to the creative department.
Since EGO’s run haywire in the industry, account management (of which planning is a part of) is one of the main tasks in advertising agency business. Maintaining a good relationship with the client is the prime job of the department but long term planning is a prime requisite to keep on that relation for long… and long term planning is done by the account planners whose expertise will jump from industry to industry..... they should and is expected to know all about all industries … from cars to computers and cookers to condoms…most of the account guys in practice , begin at the lower level as client executives and bear the brunt of all ego’s but with age and experience climb up and reach the glamorous positions of account planning….