Russell and his buddies have continued to foster the Account Planning School of the Web. A great sort of global competition to help hone your skills for current planners and to learn skills for future planners.
The recent assignment was to submit ten non-obvious propositions for Apples. The purpose being that propositions are a fundamental tool of account planning. Not the only tool, but one of the fundamental ways one might go about solving an advertising or marketing driven business challenge. Therefore we should all be solid at them.
I submitted Download planning_school_of_the_web.doc , and while I didn’t hold a candle to the winner a couple of mine did get the equivalent of a “shortlist” or “merit” nod on the podcast discussion between Russell and the judge (Simon of WK London) on the submissions. Though the other 8 feel kind of crap now.
Propositions in the form directed by Russell and Simon aren’t something I’ve really come across much in Canada. A colleague and I were chatting and concluded it is something more common in the planning culture of the UK.
It is an interesting observation as we here tend to be very insight driven. Part of that is the agency we (I) work at, but I think in North America we’re always on that elusive search for a consumer or product insight. Generally in the form of an observation or some kind of a factoid. Now a lot of propositions are born from insights, but what I think really differentiated the propositions from insights is how they are written.
This is what I really lacked in my submission - taking an interesting thought and making it something compelling through more economical and captivating usage of words. Essentially making a memorable headline to inspire the creatives and set a clear path ahead.
Coaching my own propositions (since Russell and his judges no longer can given the increased volume of submission due to the growing popularity of the school,) what was generally lacking was the presentation of the thoughts. There were some good notions but they either were buried under other words or simply not written in a great and captivating way.
As a sidebar – I am forever amazed at the awesome impact of technology and empowering mobility of media. I first read about the apples assignment in Vancouver, submitted from Whistler - home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, listened to the feedback podcast on a plane somewhere over the Rockies, wrote this over Toronto and will post tonight in Montreal. On Saturday when I’m in Seattle I’ll read up on the next assignment and work on it over the week from Toronto with my colleague in Vancouver. Power to the people!