Also known as...
Strategist; Strategic Planner.
The role in brief...
Junior Account Planners help to represent the voice of the consumer in the agency. They are part of the team responsible for developing the key strategic insights that underpin advertising ideas. They work closely with the client to research the market and understand the consumer. In answer to their client’s business brief they help formulate a brand communications strategy, followed by the creative brief that will be used by the agency’s creative teams to produce the creative ideas.
- Internal: Account Management team; Head of Planning/Planning Director; Creative teams and directors; Insight Executives and the Data team.
- External: Client marketing team; Other agencies in their client’s roster e.g. Media, Public Relations; Research organisations; members of the public in focus groups.
- Junior Account Planners will report into a Senior Account Planner or Head of Planning/Planning Director depending on the size of the agency.
- Working with clients to fully understand their business objectives, and the right communications strategy for the target audience.
- Analysing and extracting findings from consumer, brand and market research to support the preparation of brand communication strategies and creative briefs.
- Facilitating, observing and recording qualitative research e.g. focus groups.
- Administering the commissioning and project management of external research (quantitative and qualitative) conducted on behalf of the agency.
- Supporting and championing the creative development process, including briefing and enthusing creative teams, and preparing feedback in response to consumer research findings.
- Gathering data and preparing feedback reports on the effectiveness of campaigns.
- Keeping up-to-date with market research trends and methodologies and neurological studies.
- Up to date with how behavioural economics, and any insight into how people think and behave, can shape advertising successfully
- Maintaining a detailed awareness of relevant market trends affecting their accounts, and developments in the wider advertising and communications industry.
Those who succeed are...
- Always asking questions and looking for new insights from information.
- Adept in lateral, analytical and strategic thinking; they are able to apply creative thinking to business problems.
- Skillful in differentiating core advertising ideas from their executional treatments, and astute in assessing when these meet the brief and how they will influence behaviour.
- Steadfast in guiding creative work to meet the brief and committed to nurturing work that does so.
- Highly numerate and able to understand, analyse, interpret and use complex and varied sources of data and statistics.
- Strong and persuasive communicators, able to simplify research and strategic thinking and draw the relevant conclusions.
- Fascinated by human behaviour, social trends, cultures and how ideas influence people.
- Knowledgeable about their client’s business and market, and where and how advertising contributes to success.
- Always spotting emerging trends and curious about ideas and new ways of looking at the world.
Where they come from, and where they go...
Junior Account Planners are sometimes recruited as graduates from a variety of degree subjects. At larger agencies this can be done via formal graduate recruitment schemes, typically on an annual basis. However, some agencies prefer to appoint Junior Planners once individuals have gained some experience of the campaign process from related roles in agency Account Management or from market research. They have a strategic mind as they connect the vision and possibilities with data.
Junior Account Planners can become Account Planners and Senior Account Planners, and may then progress into agency management as Heads of Planning or Planning Directors. The effectiveness of their campaigns, the strength of the insights they provide, and their ability to build good working relationships with creative teams will determine if and when these promotions happen. In some cases, planners may transition into more specialist research roles, or deploy their skills in related organisations such as media agencies. Some Junior Planners may go on to work for brand owners.