Earlier this year, ad agency Leo Burnett returned to the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, after a gap of six years and hired six graduates as strategy planners.
Mudra too has upped the number of planners in its Mumbai office to 12, the highest ever. Grey Worldwide, a part of the WPP Group, too says that it has been increasing the number of strategic planners in the mainline agency. And all of them attribute this to the changing media landscape in the country.
R Gowthaman, managing director, Mindshare, a WPP group media services agency, said that the biggest reason for the increased emphasis on strategic planning was the fragmentation in the media.
"It is increasingly important for an agency to come up with a media neutral (creative) strategy -- something that can be implemented across different media. This is where the role of the strategic planner becomes important," he said.
Ad honchos agree. "Agencies today need to provide solutions beyond just traditional advertising, across various media," said Madhukar Kamath, CEO and managing director, Mudra. "Hence it becomes necessary to have people who can work across media and across clients at a broader level," he said.
Nirvik Singh, South Asia chairman and South-East Asia president, Grey Global Group, pointed out that the consumer's exposure to brands was getting increasingly fragmented, which meant that he would be receptive to different messages in different surroundings.
"The need of the hour is people who can work across brands and provide research which can be used at the agency level and not just for a particular brand or client," he said.