When Benjamin sent me this article, it immediately gave me the idea to write the opposite, aka. a planner’s life from media to creative agency (I’ll know refer to it as “message agency” for it’s judgmental). Since it’s also nearly three months into the new job, here we are.
As for Northern Planner, opinions were divided when I left Naked for MediaCom. For me, it was then very clear. Coming from a company bred by media culture, I needed to appreciate by myself how things operated within a world criticized on a daily basis during my short but amazing “media neutral” time. Convinced that media agencies were long behind their message peers, it was obvious that quick wins and smart nudges could help generate interesting outcomes for clients.
Oh boy, I was delightly wrong.
Not only I joined an amazing company – 3rd largest network – but my ass was kicked by the efficiency of the methods employed: people, tools, ideas, culture and processes were blazing. Once fearing the industrial culture media agencies weren’t shy to promote, I embraced it as a leveraging opportunity to go further and faster.
Since media budgets are often hold by single boutiques – even more if the account is global – we had access to whole plans and investments, offering a unique 360 view on gazillions of touch points. We therefore had access to a lot more expertise to (try to) answer various questions. These mega budgets are also making it quite easy to test and learn: 5% of 5M euros are huge.
From a job perspective, planner mission weren’t that different. We were sparring partners of accounts, helped digest foggy briefs and worked with comms planner / connexions planners – the creative dudes from there – to make the most of it.
You can either judge two parties following difference or parity points. As for everything else, there’s much more resemblance than dissemblance between media and message agencies: lots of questions unanswered, new stakes at play, new jobs, talent management, new revenue stream… It’s basically the same.
Now I couldn’t tell it’s not exciting to do more or less the same job within a creative agency. To begin we’re not exactly connexions planners but engagement planners: our job is to help brands get in touch relevantly with people, aka. our definition of the engagement, broader than a few stoopids KPIs. Firstly, it means that we don’t separate messages and touch points. Secondly there’s a vision of the kind of attitude brands should have towards people. We’re therefore not defined by our tools but by our vision.
At BETC, we can feel an obvious freedom and a creative culture boasting us to invent great things. Touch points expertise are almost as good as in media agencies, except for the buying, which makes perfect sense considering how the digital merged message and media. Working with clients worldwide, message agencies can’t afford not to provide this kind of expertise.
I think we’re on the right track. A curious postmodern move reuniting once bros now frenemies agencies.
More to come in the next episode…