Russell Davies is all post-digital these days, but that’s probably because he ‘got’ planning for digital years before the rest of us had cottoned on. In 2006 he posted on his blog about how planning was changing and would become ‘always in beta’:
I suspect many planners will end up more like brand gardeners than master strategists. There may be occasional moments of grand strategy but the more meaningful interventions will be in shaping and pruning the day to day activity; bending a retail piece this way, nudging a product design that way. This is the only way to respond to a world where brands have to respond to, and embrace, the winds of chance and the interventions of their customers.
The old model of a big launch of a big idea followed by cut-downs of said big idea to deliver mind-numbing levels of repetition simply won’t survive contact with the contemporary media landscape. And a key characteristic of a brand that’s likely to survive the modern world will be creative fecundity, the ability to just keep having new ideas and to keep putting them out in the world.
One of the other interesting characteristics about always being in beta is accepting that mistakes are going to happen. And preparing for them. And thinking about, maybe, trying to turn them into opportunities.
Planning in a beta based environment means being reactive. And proactive. And flexible. And good at firefighting. Which also means being fast.
The old idea that you could have it fast, good or cheap – pick two is going to be a bit of a problem if fast becomes a prerequisite.
On the other hand, my kind of planning (what I think might fit with Russell’s idea of ‘gardening’), where you are around more on a nuts and bolts, day to day level, ‘tending’ the brand and it’s communications, summarising and simplifying, seems to be more-or-less in line with how digital generally works.
But since everything is now somehow entangled with digital and it looks like even defining digital as a channel is heading out of the window, perhaps we’re all going to be forced towards Fast Planning in order to accommodate the digital element.
We just need to figure out how to mow the lawn at a jog.
pic by GeorgeHerrin