1. Connections planning in 2009
2. Does anyone here have the job
title “connections planner?”
*we’re sorry in advance
3. Caveat – we don’t mean to paint everyone
with the same brush. There is brilliant work
done by connections planners out there.
But as a total discipline, it’s in trouble.
4. Spring 2009
5. The argument:
Connections Planning hasn’t lived
up to its promise.
6. Why Connections Planning is
where it is: a brief history.
7. Once upon a time, some rich white guys
decided to make money by spinning off
media from creative agencies.
8. This separated the creation of ideas
from the choosing of media
9. The underlying assumption is that media is
a container for holding messages – and
turned media into a commodity to be
bought primarily on price.
10. But at exactly the same time,
the media landscape exploded.
11. And a new breed of ideas emerged,
leveraging the particular strengths of
12. Connections planning was an
attempt to fix the mistake.
13. It was the right idea.
But we’ve mostly been using it the
14. We use it to
for pitches and
15. We use it to turn everything
into a medium.
16. We use it to find new places to
17. We create fake “movements” for
things people don’t care about.
18. We create utility that isn’t
useful to anyone.
we put more shit in more places.
20. And it’s not working.
21. The irony is connections planning
doesn’t create very many
22. Where did it all go wrong?
23. Connections planning was
solving for the wrong problem.
24. It wasn’t trying to build greater
value for brands or people.
It was solving for agency problems.
New revenue stream
Sexy new business tool
Award show friendly creative
25. It was dependent on the person
who did it.
We got connections planners, instead
of connections planning.
We don’t have a shared approach or
way of working.
26. It’s like pornography:
“I know it when I see it”
27. We applied the lens of advertising
(interruptive, message-based) to
Instead we should apply the lens
of new media (interactivity,
iteration) to advertising.
28. The opportunity:
Re-thinking the value of
29. The opportunity:
A new creative process, not an
30. A process of putting human
connections at the heart of
Grounded in a deep understanding of
what people are trying to do,
what the brand is trying to do,
and how people use media.
31. A journey, not a destination.
Ideas as unfolding stories, a stream
of iterations and interactions that
invite people into the process.
32. Think of the flow of information
365 day planning instead of 360
Cultural latency is a strategic tool.
33. Think of the flow of information
How do you create contextual value
in each particular space?
34. Think of the flow of information
over the depth of the story.
How deep does the rabbit hole go?
35. Think of the flow of information
How can each medium &
technology be used to its full
The role of creative technologist is
38. A plan for what happens
after the connection.
What will people do with it? How will they
use it & share it? What might they remix?
And what will that mean for the brand?
How will we change because of our
interaction with them?
39. Learn from other disciplines that
create meaningful interactions.
We need to absorb practices & approaches
from design, information architecture, and
user experience planning.
Things like agility, rapid iteration,
40. Connections Planning has more in
common with Experience Planning
than media planning.
We are all experience designers,
whether we think of ourselves that
way or not.
41. Focus on
maximizing value for all.
Create thick value, with interactions
that are rewarding for everyone –
media provider, participant, brand.
42. It isn’t just about digital. It’s
about planning for interaction.
44. Solve real problems.
At the end of the day, our job is straightforward:
What’s the business problem?
What audience can best solve that problem?
What response do they need to have?
What experience could generate that response?
45. And the solution could live
46. Embrace the one-off.
Do we worry too much about campaigns?
Sometimes, affecting one thing well is powerful.
Commitment, not campaigning
It gives you a chance to learn: a one-off is just
something you haven’t figured out how to
47. We all have the same job:
making better ideas.
Whatever the job function, everyone’s job is
additive to a shared goal. You’re not
responsible for the brief or the channel plan
but for the idea. That requires a fluid
iterative interchange of strategic, media,
and creative thinking.
48. The $64,000 question:
Is connections planning a separate
Are we niche-ing ourselves into irrelevance
with splintered sub-disciplines?
Should these just be core planning skills?
49. Topics for discussion:
1)  Is connections planning a separate
discipline? Or a core planning skill?
2)  What skills/methods do we need to
absorb from other disciplines?
3)  What could the new ‘idea’ team look like?
4)  What’s holding us back from evolving?