There is undoubtedly something important happening here.
Whether it’s a movement or a tendency, a manifesto or an emerging new agenda (as Adrian puts it), it’s quite clear that a group of likeminded planning folk is gathering around a few central shared thoughts of where marketing and account planning in particular need to go next.
I think it’s really important that
1. while a number of us are Brits, by no means all are
2. while many folk work in the US, not all of us do
3. while some are working within existing agencies, many of us are not
4. while all of us are rooted in traditional thinking and practice all of us are working out the thinking and practice hand-in-hand, using each other’s thinking in a very open and collaborative manner, going much faster than we might do on our own
5. while some of us had met before, all of us had some kind of interaction through the internet prior to this conference – the internet being the medium which is primarily responsible for making us rethink the game.
40 years ago, Stephen King and Stanley Pollitt both simultaneously came up with the same innovation in the structure of advertising agencies in response to the pressures in the environment in which they were then operating. Wierder still, they both called it account planning and while it took quite some time to get established outside the UK (and some snobs will tell you it can’t be done by non-brits…), it’s now a standard function within most agencies.
So is this week in San Diego, the equivalent when everything changes with sweet synchronicity? It would be neat, wouldn’t it?
And the ol’ fella would be pleased, wouldn’t he? The first time I met him – at the 30th anniversary of Planning, he mentioned how surprised (and dissappointed) he was “that no-one had since come up with a better idea (than planning)”