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What is Brand Strategy Anyway?

What is Brand Strategy Anyway?
written by
Planit Agency

Recently Planit renamed its account planning team as brand strategy. Why was a new moniker necessary?

First, let’s take a trip down memory lane. The role of account planning emerged in the 1960s, just as advertising was beginning to hit its stride in a period that would later be romanticized by the hit show Mad Men. Way back in 1968, J. Walter Thompson established a new department at his U.K.-based agency and named it “account planning.” The goal of this team was to bring consumer insights into the agency process, making sure ads would resonate with the consumers who would eventually see, hear, or experience them. At the time, it was a whole new way of doing things. Today, however, the consumer focus of the role seems obvious.


Jay Chiat, who disrupted the ad business with Apple’s famous 1984 commercial, brought the concept of account planning to the United States and saw his agency grow from $50 million to $700 million in billings over the subsequent decade. Coincidence? We’d like to think not. The success of what was then Chiat/Day meant the role was here to stay.


Flash forward to 2016 and the role is still very much an integral part of the process. Agencies across the world call it by a dozen different names, but the concept of instilling consumer insights into the advertising process is as much a part of the ad world today as Photoshop.


So why, exactly, is Planit renaming its account planning team to brand strategy?

While account planning has a rich history in the advertising world, it’s not one that engenders immediate understanding from those outside the industry. Often times the account planning team has found ourselves listing our job titles, and then describing them as “brand and campaign strategy,” a necessary tagline to provide more context for an increasingly antiquated name.
More important than our job titles though, brand strategy more accurately describes the critical role this department plays in providing outstanding solutions for our clients. The Planit strategy team is tasked with interpreting how consumers perceive our clients’ brands and then communicates that to the rest of the agency. Being the voice of the consumer means translating how everything we do here at Planit alters, reinforces, or undermines the brand of the client.

Historically, this team has been a consistent thread, helping to tie together digital executions with PR or social media, traditional advertising with new media, all the while supporting the account management team and our clients. Iconic ad man David Ogilvy once said, Every advertisement must be considered as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image. Planit’s current executive director of strategy, Jack Spaulding, echoed this sentiment by saying, Planit’s only job is to transform brands to make them more impactful. So no matter what vehicle or channel, Brand Strategy fuels the formation and successful execution of experiences that change an old opinion or motivate a new behavior.

Our role will still be to help make everything we do here at Planit smarter, and to help it work harder. We’ll still be the ones advocating for the taking of moonshots and fostering collaboration and thoughtfulness in every campaign. Planit believes that Ideas Transform®, and it’s our hope that the newly renamed brand strategy team will continue to revolutionize our clients’ businesses with groundbreaking ideas.