Advanced Certificate in Communications Planning - Syllabus

Become the strategic communications planning lead for your client’s business.

45 hours of online learning split across five modules, taking place over seven months.


The Media Context for Comms Planning

Authored by Simon Harwood, Head of Creativity and Innovation, PHD

Module one provides much of the context for the qualification. It revisits the cultural importance of media; how media agencies make money; and considers how major technology shifts and consumer reactions to them have impacted the way we plan. It then explores how these changes and reactions continue to impact not only media industry thinking, but also agency delivery and development.

Designing and Implementing Effective Measurement

Authored by David Fletcher, Chief Data Officer, MEC and Louise Twycross-Lewis, Senior Research and Social Insight Director, MEC

Module two helps you identify what you should be evaluating, and why, before
embarking on any new strategic development. It gives a range of best practice methods for evaluating different types of activity and brings these concepts to life using IPA Effectiveness Award examples and an outline evaluation framework.

Developing a Communication Strategy 

Tony Mattson, Managing Partner, Head of Strategy, Forward Media

This module guides you through each stage of communication strategy
planning, the importance of a good brief, setting a budget; defining a customer/target audience, gathering insight and developing ideas. The module highlights successful industry techniques and evidences them through the use of influential and industry leading content.

Approaches to Integration

Authored by Jon Kershaw, Managing Director, PHD Manchester

Module four discusses what we know about both the meaning and importance
of how channels works together and also integration models - drawing from IPA publications including ‘Datamine 3’ and the works of Peter Field and Les Binet. You are challenged to voice your own thinking around the topic, with the opportunity to use selected IPA Effectiveness Award winning papers as a basis for discussion.

Principles and Practices for a Great Comms Plan

Authored by Jackie Lyons, Head of Planning, Havas Media Group and John Paul Cadman, Chief Planning Officer, Havas Group Media

Module five covers the remaining steps to developing a communications
plan – the role for media and channel choices. It focuses primarily on two key
deliverables: (1) The ‘Ecosystem’, a holistic view of all touchpoints and content and (2) The ‘Schematic’, a breakdown of investment by touchpoint and how that investment will be phased.

The module shows how you can maximise the effectiveness of your communications plan through best practice principles for budget allocation
and channel planning, and, once a plan goes live, through ongoing analysis and optimisation.

Recommended Resources

We have also provided a list of recommended resources for each module,
ranging from blogs to books, that we encourage students to explore as wider
reading on the subject matter.


Students must pass five assessments to achieve the Certificate; three essays and two multiple choice quizzes.

Last updated 01 May 2024