What is this digital planner you speak of?

Reading through the comments on one of the new questions this year concerning what exactly digital strategists do, I’m most intrigued by those “in the club” who don’t think it’s all that different at all. The biggest difference is in who drives the strategy, and generally they say that enviable position falls on the above the line agency. The AOR gets the money to do research and they come up with the ideas that the client starts nodding their head to. Digital agencies in particular have to do some significant educating of clients on technologies. But they are benefiting from money swinging toward digital and away from TV and print.

I hope I don’t skew any results by giving my opinions (we’re already at 996 completes so I think 1000 is going to happen today), but I’m finding myself aligning with the few people who identify themselves as integrated planners. I’ve benefited from working at some of the most integrated agencies. Mullen and Martin were very good – I was working along side information architects in 2002 at Mullen. I think both agencies benefited from a couple of believers like Micah Donahue who was at Mullen at the time and Alex Bunch who was and is at Martin. When you have a charismatic evangelist, who lives the word and can bring it to others, they can really help steer relatively conservative (not meant to be derogatory) organizations toward the light.

And CP+B was in a whole other realm. Creatives and producers were/are expected to think across all possible ways of getting a message across and creating content and engagement. Sometimes CDs would want to see first rounds of ideas that were only digital, just to push that to the forefront of minds. This generalist attitude spilled over into planning as well in the way the brief was designed to capture idea starters that could inspire any medium. And with Burger King being a leading digital brand who gets it, they were never uncomfortable producing the best ideas no matter where they land. Crispin had the ethos that best idea wins, and when you pair that with a forward thinking client who is completely beyond “matching luggage” philosophies of TV, print, radio and micro site that all harp the same thing, you can come up with Whopper Virgins that ran along side Whopper Sacrifice on facebook and the creation of Flame, a Whopper inspired fragance that was sold online and in a pop-up retail location in NY.

Now I find myself in a different situation, working with a sister digital agency, Tribal, who is in the same building but is separate in P&L, office space, email distribution list. Because one of their strategy directors recruited me here and is a great friend, there is a lot of integration happening on the Unilever ice cream business we both work on. I’m on the Tribal email distribution list, work on completely DDB projects, completely Tribal projects and those that straddle both companies. But this place has a long way to go to break down all the walls.

I see a lot of evidence of integrated planning happening across many planner friends. And a genuine love for technology, new media, and the exploration of generating content on blogs and twitter that carve out audiences who want to read our thoughts.

Are there other models out there beyond the integrated vs the sister company vs the totally seperate pairing with only a client in common? What seems to be working best?

Holla Brazil

The survey count is up to 681 completes. See for yourself:

surveycountOne of the surprising differences this year is the already stellar response from Brazil.

countriesThere were 38 participants from Brazil last year but they are blowing that away. Daniel De Tomazo from JWT Brazil has offered to help with a special look at Brazil if I need help. Thank you for the kindness.

Keep forwarding these links:

The survey:

And to receive the results:

The count and some feedback

One week in and the total completed surveys has reached 561. Thats 318 from the US and 243 from the rest of the world.

There have been some great ideas in the comments section that I will take into account for next year. But here are some I can address now.

Why don’t a make the data available so we can draw our own conclusions? Simple, because then it wouldn’t be anonymous. As is, I can tell who some people are. Only people I’ve worked with, and usually only friends so close that we’d already tell each other these private details. I honestly try to think about it on the aggregate when I dig into the info because I don’t even want to know. But who would want to share this info if it would be public for all the world to peruse? One of the reasons this works is because I keep this stuff on lock down. I’ve had helpers on some of the open-ends and if other countries would like to nominate a person to do a deep dive into their results, I’d be open to that. As it is, when you only have 20 people from a place it’s just too hard to draw any conclusions.

Why don’t I ask age? I think this is would be the one thing that would make anonymity impossible and I would know too much. I don’t see enough upside.

Can you add a progress bar so we know how much is left? Does anyone know how to do this in Zoomerang? I’d happily add it, it just doesn’t appear to be a feature.

The survey is too long/Add my ideal question. I agree that the survey has grown and I of course know we are all busy. But people still seem willing to go along with it, and I get a lot of requests for more info to be asked. So, as is, it’s a balance of the max I think we can stand and the max I can analyze in the end. If I haven’t asked your dream question, it’s just because other questions are getting more requests or often because I’ve asked it in recent years and don’t feel that the answers would change enough to ask it again so soon.

Can you give us an incentive? Hmmm. Just so you know, I’m paying for the Zoomerang subscription myself this year and I end up spending about 40-60 hours pulling the results together. The incentive is getting the results. I’ll offer hugs too if you come to collect them.