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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : September October 2007
UP FRONT CHANN EL PLA NNING CHANNEL PLANNING THE DARKART OF SEAN ADAMS, FOUNDER, THE SEED, CHAIRMAN OF THE ACCOUNT PLANNING GROUP AUSTRALIA NOT LONG AGO, ‘CHANNE L PLAN- NING’ took pla ce e xclusi vely in media d epar tments and prim arily involved c hoosing between chan - ne ls 7, 9 and 1 0. Mu ch has cha nge d sinc e the n. M edi a ha s become more influential, the range of media choices has e xploded and the definition of w hat constitutes a medium has broadened. Reaching c onsumers has never been harder. The modern day ch annel planner emerged in response to th ese chal- lenges, and the title is fast becoming the agency’s ‘must have’ – the x-fac- tor to he lp agencies achieve ascen- dancy in th e scramble to be come a brand’s lead partner. But what is interes ting i s tha t channel p lanners exist in v arious different locations – media agencies, 10 CAM PA I GN B RIE F creative a gencies or even external consultants. I don’t believe a chan- nel planner should be restricted to any one of these environments, but I do believe that their role should be more clearly understood. So what exactly is a channel plan- ner and how do they differ from a media planner or an account plan- ner? A good me dia p lanner must have a strong understanding of how people consume different types of media . A goo d ac coun t pl anne r must have a strong understanding of how people relate to and consume different brands and categories. A good channel p lanne r mu st Adams: “A good channel planner must understand media (in its broadest definition), brands (and how consumers relate to them) and creativity (how ideas work)” understand both disciplines, but must also understand the cr eative process and how big ideas can work across multiple channels – i t is no good recommending a mix of chan- nels that will not allow an idea to be brought to life. Therefore a good channel planner must un derstand media (in its broadest def inition), It wasn’t so long ago that the role of channel planner even existed. Now it seems like they are the most important person in the agency, the one who is going to transform the agency’s fortunes, working across media, creative, production, liaising with clients, and even buying the beers at the pub. But what does a channel planner actually do? CB asked six ad execs to define channel planning, explain why channel planners are suddenly so crucial and their view on the discipline’s contribution to the overall mix. brands (and how c onsumers relate to them) and creativity (how ideas work). Provided they truly understand all these areas and are involved early in the process, it becomes less impor - tant where they actually sit. In the future, the need for channel plan- ning will increase, but the challenge will come in terms of finding the right peopl e t o del iver what is required. Few people currently have broad experie nce across media, brands and creativity, which is why we are seeing a lot of expedient ‘ re-badg- ing’ – typically media planners with new bu sines s car ds t o i mpr es s clients with. I hope that in time this situation will change and we will see a new bre ed of profe ssional channel planner emerge with the right blend of abi lity, experience and passion to take on such a piv- otal role in the communicatio ns process. SE PT E MBE R/OCTOB E R 2 007
November December 2007
July August 2007