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WOW-O-WOW media planners embrace design thinking principles to go beyond numerate processes and uncover deep, meaningful insights and breakthrough ideas.

Media by design

With the elevated role of media and technology in the lives of consumers, media planning has evolved to meet the needs of marketers by strengthening their strategic capabilities, progressing beyond traditional media planning to offer communications planning, and offering strong performance analytics capabilities.

And as part of this evolution, media planning has elevated the role of creativity and innovation in their processes, products and talent recruitment.

Progressive media planning is 'whole-brained', embracing both the art and science of marketing.

This approach increases value with marketers and positions the function as business consultants and creative problem solvers, both of which are directly tied to the bottom line.

This transforms media from a marketing expense to a marketing asset that can be directly linked to sales.

Media planning & strategic buying has successfully balanced the the 'art & science' on a large scale.

Creative problem-solving is only possible by using data, both qualitative and quantitative, to properly frame business challenges, understand the consumer wants and desires, and create effective solutions.

This 'art and science' approach is at the core for what is commonly known as 'design thinking'.

Design thinking is an evolved approach for media planning and is a way to easily bring these two worlds together.

It is a practical approach focused on solving problems and discovering opportunities from various perspectives.

The emphasis is not placed on the act of designing (the verb), but instead on the noun - design thinking. The question evolves from 'why should media planning embrace design thinking?'

Why not?
  Transformation, can be achieved through stimulating, hands-on, experiential training (and a bit of brainwashing) based on three easy steps: defining the challenge at hand; creating and considering many options; and learning from prototypes to refine selected options.

Borrowing from three principles of design thinking: The Art of Reframing, Visual Synthesis and Idea Iteration, we can create an imaginative new road map for media practitioners to learn and adopt.

The art of reframing

Designers refer to reframing as the ability to see problems from multiple perspectives, resulting in a revolutionary idea.

As the keepers of the competitive scorecards, miners of performance data and syndicated sources, media planning reframes by first transforming vast data sources into usable information.

Then, with a clear perspective of the media, consumer and competitive landscape, various creative exercisesare deployed, such as those that encourage random, non-linear thinking, the use of analogies and making comparisons from unrelated categories.

With this new line of thinking (and the data to back it up), media planning provides fresh insight into what the actual task at hand is - moving beyond traditional media objectives, like achieving awareness through a combination of reach and frequency calculations.

Visual synthesis

The design profession as 'a way of organising complexity or finding clarity in an overwhelming amount of data'. This is achieved through a process of synthesis that seeks to organise, reduce and clarify.

The need to 'externalise' or visualise data to aid in synthesis, which can be done simply with an affinity map using 'a big wall, a marker and lots of Post-it notes'.

Furthermore by injecting visual synthesis into the communication planning process, media planning strategizes and inspires to uncover meaningful insights and breakthrough ideas.

Usage of affinity mapping sessions to enable media planning to make sense of performance, syndicated and primary data to