Social Planning Framework

A Planning Framework for Social Media

I’ve always thought one of the best jobs in the world for the permanently curious is to work as a planner in an agency like Ogilvy & Mather.  The title goes by different names and flavors – digital planner, strategist, brand planner – but essentially the job is to better understand why people do what they do and take that intelligence to drive our clients’ business and improve the nature of its communications.

We find that the people who really thrive as strategists in Social@Ogilvy are excellent lateral thinkers. They are people who can take trends and insights from one area and apply them to some other unconnected area.  If that sounds messy, it’s because it is.  Our understanding of human behavior is never complete.  To guide us through this process, we rely on a Planning Framework.  It’s simply a heuristic guide meant to offer a predictable way to plan based on our experience in what works.  It serves as a common operating system for our Social@Ogilvy teams around the world.

Why do we need a “social” way to plan?

We know there are radical shifts in trust and influence that are reshaping how marketing and communications works.  Today, more than 90% of global consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. That’s up 18 percent since 2007.  (Source: Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising, 2012)

This means we’re moving away from a channel mindset. We are thinking about social media as a source of intelligence in mapping the customer journey.  It means putting an end to the viral video and instead understand what will really earn advocacy and spark word-of-mouth.  It means moving from a campaign mindset with a distinct start and end date to building communities that cannot be turned off.  It means using social media not as a away to distribute content but as a way to nudge the organization to think and behave in new ways.

Mindful of these shifts, a senior team of strategists set out to revise the framework that serves as a planning blueprint for our teams across the globe.  The output of that effort is an overhauled framework that produces predictably great programs and an app store stocked with tools and templates for planners and digital strategists throughout the network to use in the course of their work.  (We’re using “apps” here as a metaphor for the modular nature of the tool set, not as an application for a mobile device.)

Check out a preview of our planning framework and an inventory of the apps here: