Stephen King's Approaches To Account Planning

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According to Stephen King (1988), there were two rather different approaches to account planning from the outset, and the range has widened since. He suggests that account planners can be positioned on the following spectrum:
King argues that at the one end of the scale are the ‘grand strategists’ – intellectuals, perhaps verging on economists, seeking to rise above the fray and see the broader scheme of things. At the other extreme, meanwhile, we find the ‘ad tweakers’ – more like qualitative researchers, analysing advertisements, handling group discussions and justifying the work of the creative team to clients. As we have seen, the two founding agencies of account planning were Boase Massimi Pollitt and J Walter Thompson. Historically,
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It could be argued that the external forces (and the evolving marketing and media environment) of clients’ needs have moved planners towards the strategic end of King’s scale, while the internal changes in the advertising business have moved planners to the tweaking end.
According to M.T. Rainey from Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R (Rainey, 1998), three caricatures of planners emerged in the 1980s:
 Ad tweakers: planners whose skills lie in helping their agencies develop and sell increasingly entertaining, unexpected and colloquial advertising that appeals to the sophistication of the consumer.
 Storytellers: planners who focus on the front end of the process, giving the fullest possible picture of the product and the consumer in the belief that the secret lies in some quirky detail that will inspire the creative team to create even better advertising.
 Planners: who are knowledgeable about the brand, its competitors and its market structure, who have a close relationship with the client (who considers them to be the fount of all wisdom), but who are comparative strangers to the creative
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 Facilitation: use your intelligence and facilitation to find out and describe what validity there is in the findings.
 Logic and clarity: help to explain and clarify the logic of where we are going and why.
‘The job of a planner is performed by a combination of, say, an account handler and a research expert or an account handler and a marketing expert, with contributions from the creative director and the media planner. Many will argue, of course, that what a planner does is not unique, and they are right. What account planning does is to do it better…because it combines functions that have become distorted by separation. There is nothing obscure or novel about the functions a planner performs in the three stages of the advertising process. Essentially, the planner provides the basis on which advertising for a brand can be developed, implemented and

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