Open Source 10 – How to sell Account Planning?

Every year the Account Planning Group presents the Open Source congress at Gruner + Jahr in Hamburg. This is always a great event and a good chance to meet some familiar planning colleagues. The idea of the congress is to invite speakers from different subjects and professions to talk about a specific topic. This year’s theme was ‘Selling’.

The Account Planning Group is the German association of brand and communication strategists. This is a clear and not to big group of about 300 specialists (although being generalists by nature) working as strategists or planners at mostly classical advertising agencies. The discipline originated in the UK in the 1960s. The original Account Planning Group is also from the UK.

This is a fascinating and very versatile profession with as many different shapes and opinions about planning as there are planners. I will write about this subject in more detail. For the moment, this document is a very good read and overview of the profession. Apart from that, I can really recommend the book ‘A Master Class in Brand Planning’, covering 20 of Stephen King’s most important articles. Not the Stephen King who is known for ‘It’ but the one who began his career at J. Walter Thompson in London in 1957 and ís known as the  father of Account Planning.

Coming from a classical advertising background, I am an APG member since 2005. Now I am working as a Strategic Planner at a digital agency. Although this development is increasing constantly, there are not yet that many planners from digital agencies joining the Account Planning Group. This sometimes becomes obvious in the discussions with the planning colleagues and the way digital is treated. Some people still see digital as a downstream channel. Inviting Klaus Eck to present his personal branding (selling yourself) via social media mantra underlines that.

Apart from that it was again a successful event. Beside Tim Taxis, who demonstrated his selling skills (selling himself) in a very entertaining way, I think Prof. Breidenbach made the best speech of the day. He is one of the leading thinkers and practitioners of mediation in Germany and founder of This was probably the most useful lecture for the auditorium. The German planning society might use some of his techniques to mediate between classical and digital planning approaches in order to unite and strengthen the discipline.

Here are some pictures of the event.

And this was the program of the Open Source 10:


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About aschauerte

Marketing, Media, Communications and Business Strategist.

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