Good Times for Planning

By Gem Romero, Head of Planning Ogilvy & Mather, Barcelona


It’s true that these are good times for hardly any business, which is why it is undoubtedly interesting to note that for our business, what we call the planning business, they are in fact good times.


I am going to identify eight different reasons that make our speciality an absolute must today (for those who want to sell more and sell better, of course):


One. There is a compelling need to balance, put in place and relate what’s offline and online, what’s analogue and digital. This is because the massive influx of new technology has coincided with the market crisis, with the golden era of ‘short-termism’ and the inclusion in the industry of professionals who do not hail from an advertising background. The mixture of all these ingredients has not yet managed to bind a strong and solid blend. Without shared strategic thinking, the sauce runs the risk of separating. And good planners are excellent mayonnaise cooks.


Two. The new structure of the advertising industry, where alongside the big agencies networks of freelancers working together are increasingly competitive, brings with it the need for strategic efforts that structure these partnership dynamics. There are more and more of these networks which, in addition to ideas people, photographers, programmers, musicians or whatever else, have planners. Because when no one in a working group is responsible for ensuring that strategic decisions are made properly, they are often made with no absolute clarity and no clear focus.


Three. The increasing complexity of everything in general is leading to strong demand for specialists, and it is precisely this increase in complexity which is making generalist profiles the ones most in demand. By this, I mean that the increasing attention required by the technical development of a campaign is often detrimental to finding a strategy and a powerful idea, which are the essence of our service and value.

Indeed, a good planner, in addition to being an excellent cook, is also a good generalist.


Four. With many agencies and advertisers it is becoming necessary to defend understanding, defining, developing and enhancing the brand (yes, it’s “pretty heavy”). The development of new communication and marketing channels (especially digital ones) has generated new standpoints in communication management that often trample down traditional marketing approaches instead of joining forces with them.

The brand remains a key factor in capitalising value, and the planner is someone who can play a decisive role in turning what’s new into a source of energy that enhances and does not crush the brand.


Five. The pain generated by the crisis has made consumers extremely cautious; they no longer can or want to consume the same things as they did before. This new approach requires brands to establish postures, not just position themselves. And having a posture calls for a great deal of transparency, coherence and consistency in everything they say and do.

The time when brands simply managed their image, which gave them enough to entice passers-by, is definitively over. The consumer can come in through the back door and find out what’s happening behind the scenes. And they can see whether or not your brand does what it says on the tin.


Six. Following on from the previous point, powerful brands are no longer built only from meanings associated with the products and services they represent, nor are they even established around only relevant values or personalities in a particular market. Nowadays, they are also built with a much broader connection to their parent company and its way of doing things, and to the brand’s position on its economic, social and cultural values. For example, a relevant message may be derived from where a brand pays taxes on what it sells.

Today, more than ever, transforming the brand image into what you want involves establishing a greater relationship with the overall management of the company that handles it. And planners can also help with this.


Seven. Lots of brands were built in economic and consumer environments very different to contemporary ones. As a result, they do not know how to assert themselves today, how to adapt or create value and they can see how other newer brands, such as own brands for example, are outdoing them and pushing them out into dangerous territory.

Only an across-the-board process of strategic reorientation will enable them to successfully adapt to the new rules of the game.


Eight. The society of hyperconsumption is in crisis and brands need to rethink their approach in order to survive and be successful in the new model that we are building together. The system as we know it today is not economically, socially or environmentally sustainable. An enterprising planner can help embrace change and manage it.

So, as I said, these are good times for planners.


Foto: „Liebe deine Stadt“ | complize | Photocase

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