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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : September October 2007
CHANN EL PLA NNING ADAM FERRIER, PLANNING DIRECTOR/ CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGIST, NAKED COMMUNICATIONS, SYDNEY CHANNEL PLANNERS WORK HAND in glove wi th other crea tive people to ensure an id ea is dev eloped an d bou ght to l ife i n the righ t wa y. Specifically, the ch annel pla nner’s role is to understand what channels the idea should come to life in, and how these channels need to interact in such a way as to make the idea as effective and engaging as po ssible. This is al l be coming much mo re complicated in a world whe re con- sumers are co-creating the commu- nications. Channel p lanni ng has b ecome increasingly important as the adver- tising agency has come to grips with what the arti stic community h as always known, that is ‘the medium is the message’ – the two cannot be pulled a part. Channel planning is the idea. Channel planners must operate in an en vi ronment where t here is absolutely no bias of o ne media to another. This makes it imp ossible for t hem to work in a tra ditional SUDEEP GOHIL, PLANNING DIRECTOR, SAATCHI & SAATCHI AUSTRALIA IN THEORY, A CHANNEL PLANNER should be a ble t o h elp illumi nate the communications’ landscape and help s cope out a b road ran ge of appropriate media opportunities for a brand. It seems to h ave ris en to prom i- nence a s agencies ha ve unbu ndled their med ia cap abilities a nd, in some cases, taken their eyes off the real c hallenge of mak ing genu ine connections with consumers. A good c hanne l planner can/ should be equally well placed in any of t he myri ad of commun icat ions busine sses, from me dia a gency to creative agency or consultancy – the key is being paired with real knowl - edge about the media environment and a clear appreciation of their end goal. It would appear that for the time being in -hou se chan nel pla nners have taken the place of media direc- tors, but the big watch out is chan- nel planners who don’ t real ly have the full gamut of skills and in some ext reme c ases a re s imply sl ightl y media fo cused ‘ traditional’ p lan- ners. I have a lot of time fo r tr ue media professionals and somet imes channel planners aren’t quite there. The definition o f a good c hannel planner should actually be very sim- ple - a ver y smart, connec ted and culturally aware individual with the appro pria te m edia and cu ltural tools on hand. I thi nk the re a re pl enty of great medi a peo pl e i n the A ustra lia n indu str y who d o so much mor e than just represent a view on media; they un der stan d t he way peo ple think an d are g enuinely in terested in helpi ng to f oster connect ions, these people are probably the be st channel planners. 14 CAM PA I GN B RIE F next TVC (sorry fi lm!) A long way off I would say. The onl y p lace channel planning can reside is in an environment that d oes n ot make money or ego’s from one fo rm of execution over another – a consul - tancy. Have in-house channel plan- ners taken over the role once h eld by the media director working with- in t he ag enc y? M ost cr eat ive departments used to hold the media direc tor in absolut e disd ain s o I doubt it. Guess it depends what the media director did. The channel planner is possibly Ferrier: “Channel planning has become increasingly important as the advertising agency has come to grips with what the artistic community has always known, that is ‘the medium is the message’ - the two cannot be pulled apart. Channel planning is the idea” media agency (they ma ke s ignifi- cantly more money th rough book- ing efficiencies and commission of traditional media channels - free to air media specifically). Nor can they work in creative agencies, they will not be media neutral until the exec- utive creative director gets as e xcit- ed over a mail drop as they do their the most skilled person in the whole communications value chain. They need to be extremely numbers liter- ate, as they must allocate appropri- ate levels of resourc es to vari ous media. Further, they need to know of and intimatel y understand all forms of media available - righ t across the spectrum. They also need to be ext remely creat ive s o they can cr eate n ew media channels if the ri ght option isn’t available. They have to kn ow the consumer very very well. It also helps if they have ex cellent diplo - matic skills. Green: “The role of a channel planner has become more important in response to the explosion of options available to advertisers” MARK GREEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, THREE DRUNK MONKEYS A CHANNEL PLANNER IS THE PERSON who determines ‘where’ a branded message will appear. The role of a channel planner has become more important in response to the explo- sion of options available to advertis- ers. Advertisers are turning to chan- nel planners for a dvice that takes into consideration all the different comm unications options, from media, to events, to viral, product placement, promotions, content, in- store and so on. Their role has become increasing- ly important, as the major agency groups hav e stru ggl ed to evo lve their structures from traditional media models. Hence the channel planne r is of ten the catalyst for pushing both media and creative ag enci es t o t hink beyon d pai d media. A great channel planner is a per- son who recognises opportunities within different channels for great ideas. The question of where the person should sit is only complicat- ed because of the media and cre- ative split. The best solution for a client is that channel planners sit with br and planners and creatives from the outset of the brief. The only problem with this is that the relationship between creative agen- cies and media agencies at a multi- national level is so strained they are both clamouring to own the role at the exclusion of each other. As a result we ar e se eing new businesses emerge that fill the void and offer both brand and channel strat eg y as t hei r cor e offer ing. Against this background it is easy to understand why c lients are getting increasingly frustrated with all this talk of new agency models, media- neutral solutions an d all the ot her buzz words being thrown around. At the en d of the day you still Gohil: “It would appear that for the time being in-house channel planners have taken the place of media directors, but the big watch out is channel planners who don’t really have the full gamut of skills and in some extreme cases are simply slightly media focused ‘traditional’ planners. I have a lot of time for true media professionals and sometimes channel planners aren’t quite there.” need someone to work out what the brand needs to say, where the mes- sage needs to be delivered and a compelling creative idea that makes people stop, listen and buy. It is our job to deliver this without bureau- cracy and layers, because at the end of the day it will only get in the way of great ideas. SE PT E MBE R/OCTOB E R 2 007
November December 2007
July August 2007