Essential Planning Skills

Next Courses: Starts June/July 2020 (Online)

This is one of our most popular courses. Course tutors are the experts in each field and include Shekhar Deshpande of Facebook, Zoe Scaman, David Wilding of Twitter, Neil Godber of Wunderman Thompson, Phil Barden and Julian Saunders.  This is a course with a difference. We want to focus the course on practising the Principles of Planning rather than just learning them. Our ambition is to arm you with ‘cheat sheets’ that will help you put the principles into action the minute you walk out the door.

Who is it aimed at?

This course is ideally suited for Planners and Strategists with 2 years+ of experience in the industry. It is designed for Strategists from a variety of disciplines – be it brand planning, digital planning, channel planning, engagement planning. It is also suited for Strategists with specialist experience who would like a more well-rounded view of Strategy, even though they may have spent more than five years in business.

What will you learn?

As with any APG training course this modular course mixes the theory and and practice of planning and is highly interactive, enabling you to take away tools and approaches and use them immediately in your day-to-day job.


Our ambition is that rather than blow you away with awesomeness, we will arm you with ‘cheat sheets’ that will help you put the principles into action the minute you walk out the door. We daresay you should remember (at least) the best bits a year after we have finished with you.

How have we chosen our modules?

We have drawn upon a panel of industry experts across Planning disciplines (in other words, old and classic ones as well as young and cool ones). With their help, we have identified the core areas that would be relevant to all strategists, across disciplines.

Course Content & Modules
WEEK ONE (Part 1) - Tues 23rd June 

Module 1: Getting to your one big marketing objective

Module 2: Identifying the basis for your strategy

Tutor: Zoe Scaman

WEEK ONE (Part 2) - Weds 24th June

Module 3: How to have powerful and enduring Brand Ideas

Module 4: Unearthing and profiting from insights

Tutor: Shekhar Deshpande, Facebook

WEEK TWO (Part 1) - Tues 30th June

Module 5: Writing a creative brief without writing one - Tutor: Shekhar Deshpande

Module 6: Briefing and working with creative people - Tutor: Dave Masterman, VCCP

WEEK TWO (Part 2) - Thurs 2nd July - EARLIER START 12:30

Module 7: 21st Century Brand Thinking - Tutor: Julian Saunders, Joined-up Company 

Module 8: The practical side of Behavioural Economics - Tutor: Phil Barden, Decoded

WEEK THREE (Part 1) - Tues 7th July

Module 9: Understanding people through (quant) data - Tutor: Sam Fowler, Craft Media

Module 10: Channel Planning - Tutor: David Wilding, Twitter

WEEK THREE (Part 2) - Weds 8th July

Module 11: Effectiveness, Tutor: Neil Godber, Wunderman Thompson


"Great overview of the Planning process – great for highlighting room for improvement and getting inspiration.  Helped put all of the pieces together."

- Planner, Integrated Agency


"Really well thought out structure and outstanding teachers – covered all the areas I had questions on as a planner."

- Planner, Creative Agency


"Incredibly useful – especially when putting our newly learned skills to the test with practical applications."

- Planner, Digital Agency


"Great breadth of content brought alive by a multitude of approaches and models, and made accessible through carefully thought out practical exercises."

- Planner, Digital Agency
Course Details

1.15pm - 5.30/6pm (except Thurs 2/7, 12.15 - 6pm)

1st Module 1.30 -3.30pm, 2nd Module 3.30 - 5.30/6pm

22.5 hours – MRS CPD accreditation 18 hours

Platform - Online

Zoom ​


What is the Cost?

£985+VAT  (APG Membership required)

Course Enquires
If you are interested in attending this Training Course, please e-mail Alison Trotter at 
Course Tutors

David has spent over 20 years in the creative discipline and has previously worked at agencies such as JWT, BBH, Fallon and DDB UK. This gives him the unique insight of having received many briefs from planners over the years.

Dave Masterman

Creative Director

David is one of the best media planners in London. He has a particular interest in behavioural theory, a fascination with neuro-marketing and a mild obsession with trying to catapult brands into the heart of popular culture. He has recently jumped ship from PHD to run planning at Twitter.

David Wilding

Director of Planning

Julian Saunders has worked as a strategist in most disciplines and recently in The Zoo at Google, where his role was to advise clients about effective marketing on digital platforms. He works directly for clients and specialises in running strategic workshops for them. Previous roles include: CEO of Red Cell, Non-Executive Planning Director of Good Technology, Executive planning Director of McCann-Erickson and Planning Director of Ogilvy. He publishes regularly, mostly in Market Leader (the quarterly journal of The Marketing Society), blogs at and was editor of The Communications Challenge (APG 2004) a pioneering textbook for planners about the impact of the digital revolution”

Julian Saunders

The Joined Up Company

Neil is a top planner, formerly of BBH and now running Planning in JWT London. He is multi-awarded for at APG Creative Strategy Awards and a winner of the Grand Prix for Dixons in 2011 and an expert in all things effective.

Neil Godber

Joint Head of Planning
Wunderman Thompson

Phil has over 25 years client-side brand management experience. After 16 years with Unilever, rising to Marketing VP, he worked at Diageo and T-Mobile. Whilst responsible for T-Mobile’s brand positioning and development around Europe he became a client of decode marketing consultancy and first encountered 'decision Science‘. He is now one of very few experts to combine a practitioner's perspective with a profound knowledge of decision Science.

Phil Barden

Owner and Managing Director
Decode Marketing Ltd

Sam Fowler has previously worked atVizeum, Goodstuff Sommunications and has recently joined Craft Media from MediaCom where he was Associate Strategy Director. Across his career he has worked with clients such as Coca-Cola, Sky & Spotify.

Sam Fowler

Craft Media

Shekhar has led local and global Planning roles for JWT in three continents. He is passionate about mentoring and developing young talent.

Shekhar Deshpande

Head of Strategy and Global Accounts, EMEA

Zoe is all about variety and never sitting still - having been a digital planner, a brand strategist and a business consultant, she has also worked on opposite sides of world in London, Sydney and New York. In 2011, she was named in the Top 50 worldwide emerging talent portfolio at Cannes and has gone on to work with a multitude of global brands. She now freelances outside of the agency world but remains plugged in through mentoring, teaching and the odd special project.

Zoe Scaman

APG Training Course Cancellation Policy

Should you cancel your booking for an APG training course, the following cancellation policy will apply: For a cancellation made more than 30 calendar days in advance of the training course, a full rebate will be applied. For a cancellation more than ten calendar days in advance of the training course, a rebate of 50% will be applied. For a cancellation less than ten days in advance of the training course no rebate will be applied.

Attendance on Training Courses is entirely at the discretion of APG. There is no automatic right to attendance.

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