This was good. I have not seen a planning process in a team like this in action. I had exchanged mails with George prior to the workshop and he had mentioned that this was rather about „strategy being about ideas that are stimulated and confirmed by research rather than strategy being something that emerges from research“. I get what he meant with stimulation.
It really was about laying out as many potential routes as possible before deciding where to go. Getting ideas for brand values, ideas for consumer values, ideas for consumer insights, ideas for propositions and spot the route through that multitude that hums best. The hardest part about the process is probably turning off your filter that keeps trying to cut away things.
I believe this can be exciting with smaller clients and companies to produce a useful platform for communication in a day or two. It takes an experienced planner to facilitate the process, keep it running and spot the nuggets. And trigger lateral thinking.
Another nice aspect of the seminar was meeting some of the few Account Planners in Austria. I can now safely assume that there are no more than 20 people that have Account Planner or Strategic Planner as their job title. And all sit in the network agencies lik TBWA, DraftFCB, Ogilvy, BBDO et.al. or work as independent consultants.
The bad news of this: the job situation is pretty dim. The good news: there is potential for Account Planning here and especially for the agencies who embrace it.