I'm getting further into my account planning schoolwork. I finished reading the JWT Account Planning Manual from 1974 and although it was interesting to read a manual that is older than I am, I was surprised by how relevant it was. Sure the methodology and tools have changed, but the fundamental process and need for integration with the creative team has not.
Here's my advice: If you work for a design firm that is moving in the direction of becoming a full service agency on behalf of a large client, and the brass knows that they need something called an "account planner," but they're not sure how such a person would fit into their processes or actually benefit the agency - give them the JTW manual. It is a very thorough explanation of how an account planning team is supposed to contribute before, during, and after a campaign.
Now I've started reading Testing to Destruction about the uses of research in advertising. From what I have gathered from various account planning luminaries is that an account planner who has not read this book is like a clergyman who hasn't read the bible, ignorant and fairly useless.
In other news....
I'm going to M Squared on the 3rd of October. No, I didn't win the contest, but I was the closest person to San Francisco who didn't lose the contest, so Russell got me a ticket. Luckily, after much chewing it over, my boss agreed to send me. This was after he complimented me as being "autodidactic" for taking part in the Account Planning School. Now I'm sure he would just call me a pushy little ingrate.
I got some further feed back on my creative brief from Exit Creative and was told that my brief was missing a great-big-idea to blow the creative away. With this, I agree. I knew it didn't have that explosive idea and that's why I was very nervous over the possibility that I was missing the whole point when I sent it in, but I'm not convinced that it is always necessary and that sometimes it can even be better without it.
What I'm trying to get at, and failing miserably, is where does our job end and the creative's begin? I perceive my goal is to give the creative a solid understanding of the task at hand and the state of the brand and it's target audience. I think that you are overstepping your role when you give the creative the great-big-idea and basically tell him/her to hurry off and fill in the lines with those fancy bits of color. I wouldn't want the creative department to start handling research any more than I'm sure they would appreciate me concepting a campaign.
Beyond that, Exit, I have your request to review your brief in kind and fully intend to do so. Soon. Really. Don't look at me like that. (and thank you for the feedback)