APG West - Training

Strategic thinking to creative briefing

Next Course: TBC

Strong strategic thinking sets good planners apart from mere mortals. Whether on client or agency, we need to be excellent strategic thinkers if we are to keep ahead of competitors and be confident at the top table when contributing to or making decisions.

Course Description

​What is the course about?

Over two days this course will provide a complete grounding in strategic thinking and its application, together with an analytical and practical approach to creating and delivering client briefs.


Day 1: Strategy and the Planning Toolkit will arm delegates with a set of strategic principles, tools and techniques that they can apply to just about any marketing situation or brand. Course tutor is Merry Baskin, of Baskin Shark, expert Planner and Trainer and former APG Chair. By means of presentations, interactive exercises and discussion sessions, delegates will study individually and in teams to learn about these topics:


  • What is a strategy?

  • What do all strategies have in common?

  • The key indicators of a good strategy

  • Inspirational examples of strategic thinking to solve business problems

  • How a strategy differs from a creative brief

  • Processes and tool kits for facilitating strategic thinking, and how to use them

  • Illustrative case studies

Day 2: From Client Brief to Creative Brief will enable delegates to understand the briefing chain from business problem, to client brief and through to creative brief. Poor briefs lead not just to poor work but higher costs and more stress, and ultimately can undermine relationships. Using practical examples and skills that enable the delivery of great work, former agency Planning Director and senior Client Michael Ellyatt will help you see the process from both sides. 

Delegates can expect presentations, discussions and practical work on a genuine client brief, and to study individually and in teams to learn about key topics, including:

  • The role and difference of client and creative briefs

  • Articulation of the business problem

  • Understanding the briefing chain

  • Best practice tips and techniques

  • Objective setting and prioritization

  • Understanding subtext

  • Writing and challenging the creative brief


Course Tutors

Your tutors will be:

  • Merry Baskin, of Baskin Shark (planning consultant, former JWT Head of Planning and APG Chair). 

  • Michael Ellyatt (former agency Planning Director, APG Committee member and course convenor and ex-senior Client role)

Course Information



2 full days – MRS CPD accredited for 12 hours




This course is being repeated by popular demand. It was created by APG West in response to specific training requirements defined by the strategic community in the West. It is designed for planners and strategists from both agency and client side who want to hone and broaden their strategic skills, build confidence, and grow their careers.


APG West is committed to supporting creative businesses and agencies create better conditions for strategic thinking. That starts with nurturing our regional talent and equipping strategists with the skills to make a difference to the business they work on.

Testimonials (from attendees of the previous course)

“Wickedly smart and amusing trainer that left me wanting more” Strategist – Agency side


“Useful tools and case studies which have inspired me to think about my current projects differently” Head of Social and PR – Agency side


“It will significantly improve the way I look at client problems and briefs” – CRM Planner, Agency side


“Interactive, fast-paced, interesting” – Planner, Digital Agency


“A solid foundation and approach to strategy planning” – Marketing Development Manager - Client side


“The course will impact every part of my job and those of the other planners I share it with”  - Creative Planner – Agency side


“It will massively improve the way I interrogate client briefs and produce creative ones” Planner – Agency side

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