Fallon Unites 2 Planning Groups

In a move that some planners said will become more common, Fallon Minneapolis has reorganized its account planners and its “connection planners” into one group.

Connection planners focus on consumers’ relationship with media, just as account planners explore the links between consumers and brands.

The office created its strategy-communications group as agencies continue to look for ways to tighten the link between brand and media strategy. Last year, TBWA\Chiat\ Day formed a similar group, called TBWA\Connect, which has been established throughout the network.

Media agencies have also gotten into the game, with a growing number hiring traditional account planners to work on the media side of the business [Adweek, March 31].

“[These are] the very, very early days of what I see as a movement,” said Rob White, president of Fallon Minneapolis, who introduced planning to the agency in 1992. “It has the potential to be as influential to agencies and valuable to clients as account planning was.”

White will oversee the group, which will consist of 11 account planners and four connection planners.

The shop has had account and connection planning groups for several years. Having the two work together is meant to foster “cross- fertilization” of ideas, White said.

“It will be two people looking at the same problem from different perspectives,” he said.

Nick McLean, director of connections planning for TBWA\C\D, said he expects groups like his and Fallon’s to become widespread.

“I think account planning and connections planning will somehow fuse to create some hybrid,” he said. “It is ridiculous to have people thinking about the message without thinking about the moment.”