Advertising Account Planning: A Practical Guide

Article excerpt

Advertising Account Planning: A Practical Guide. Larry D. Kelley and Donald W. Jugenheimer. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006.145 pp. $94.49 hbk. $35.95 pbk.

Advertising account planning is not new in the United States, but the discipline may not be clearly understood by a number of advertising agency executives and college and university educators. Perhaps ironically, several times in the last few years at the AAAA Account Planning Conference participants and presenters have struggled to explain exactly how to define account planning and how one does it.

So it was with some skepticism that I approached Advertising Account Planning: A Practical Guide. The title defines the book. Chapters proceed in a logical order from situation analysis, to understanding who the customer is, through developing a personality and story for a brand. The book then helps a student or practitioner understand the elements of the brief and how to measure the success of the strategy. The book closes with three different types of case studies: business to business, packaged goods, and retail.

Account planning began in the United States at Chiat Day agency, followed by Goodby Silverstein, and was then adapted by an increasing number of agencies of all sizes. Most agencies have a proprietary way of planning and eliciting insights about how to talk to the consumer, and each agency has its own way of writing an internal brief for the creative and media departments. As the planning function grew, so did occasional strains with account management people as the planning and strategizing function often fell to them.

Some strong positive elements of the book: it clearly explains what the function of account planners is and what they do to develop a strategy. These points are helpful to students and to advertising practitioners who may still be unclear about the planning function. The authors help make some old language more current, e.g., positioning: "To position the brand, you need to define the company's strengths and weaknesses. You need to know your target market inside and out and you must be able to translate the company's attributes into consumer benefits. You then need to combine all this with the brand's personality or story. All of the material so far in this book culminates in the brand positioning."

The authors walk the reader through a matrix that demonstrates a method for quickly defining where a brand resides in a consumer's mind. …

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