Planning with Dan


So here I was, coming toward the end of my day at Carat and the final person on my list to meet was Dan, with the rather large title of Head of Planning. Would I finally get an answer to the Mad Men conspiracy? I planned to.

Having spent 9 years at another agency it wasn’t a simple move coming to Carat but he had been convinced by the people, the vibe and also a belief in Carat’s aim of redefining media. Dan emphasised that in the building (all companies of the Aegis Media Group are in one building) there is only one P&L (Profit and Loss) which builds on the idea that Carat is a department of a huge full service agency rather than being an isolated media agency.

So what does one do as Head of Planning? In a nutshell it means that Dan is responsible for the level of work coming out of the agency so he will dip in and out of as many campaigns as he can giving ideas and advice. He is also charged with more overarching structural changes as well as convincing existing clients that they, like Carat has, need to change with the times.

I asked Dan for a little advice for grads about what makes a good planner. You need to be a good decision maker who is interested in the world and can make insights from observations. You need to think ‘ecosystem’ and understand how different channels relate. Underpinning this is that you need to be able to deliver business value to clients so be curious and focused on how clients make money.

Dan thinks Carat has stumbled upon the right thing by saying they are redefining media. Now is the time to be doing it because now media is in a position to be more important to business than ever before.

Considering Dan was basically Don Draper in a t-shirt, as a parting thought I asked him if he watched Mad Men. He said he watched an episode but it gave his family the wrong idea about advertising so they had to stop. Finally, I had found the answer!