Core Strategic Planning


Get equipped for the rest of your career with a core set of strategic principles and tools that can be applied in any situation, plus latest global thinking. A must do for planners and strategists at the beginning of their career. 


As the world of strategy changes, the fundamentals of what defines strategic planning as a discipline remain the same. This includes how to identify and solve problems, how to uncover insights that unlock behaviour and how to simplify the complicated for solutions that are both powerful and impactful. 

Every strategist is different and will work through problem solving in a different way, but knowing where strategy came from, how it has evolved and what it involves is the core of understanding how you can think like a strategist or even be one.

Meet your Lecturers

Weekly facilitators (live session)

Craig Page
Chief Strategy Officer, CX Lavender
Jez Reilly
General Manager Customer Insights and Marketing, Rare
Graham Alvarez-Jarratt
Strategy Partner, Dentsu Creative

Video lecturers (pre-recorded)

Alison Tilling
Chief Strategy Officer, VMLY&R AU-NZ
Jennifer Rhodes
Head of Effectiveness & Data Strategy, BMF Australia
Nick Kavanagh
Head of Integrated Strategy and Planning, Havas
Christina Aventi
Chief Strategy Officer, BMF Australia
Frances Clayton
Chief Strategy Officer DDB Sydney, DDB Group Australia
Alex Speakman
Chief Strategy Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi
Melanie Wiese
Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman Thompson Perth
Michael Derepas
Chief Strategy Officer, The Monkeys Melbourne
Ant Keogh
Chief Creative Officer, The Monkeys Melbourne
Heather Sheen
Head of Planning, R/GA


What to expect

A learning program that provokes and challenges your thinking.
A collaborative environment for problem solving.
A sense of community and camaraderie with fellow participants.
A chance to question, experiment and push yourself.
The opportunity to learn from the best.

This course has two main elements – a pre-recorded video lecture for participants to watch in their own time, and a live working tutorial session led by the course facilitator where participants can put theory into action. Additionally, this industry certified course includes homework/assessments.

Please note, if you have enrolled in an online course the “working tutorial sessions” are delivered live via zoom/teams.

Who’s it for?

Suitable for Junior Planners, Account Executives, Account Managers, Junior Marketing Managers/Professionals and Researchers, with up to 2 years work experience, who want to sharpen their strategic prowess.

Course Content

Week 1: What is strategy and where did it come from?
Lecturer: Alex Speakman, Chief Strategy Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi

  • The history and evolution of planning
  • Fundamentals of planning
  • What all strategies have in common

Week 2: What is brand strategy?
Lecturer: Alison Tilling, Chief Strategy Officer, VMLY&R AU-NZ

  • The changing role of brands
  • Understanding how they work and how to plan for them

Week 3: What is an insight and how do you uncover them?
Lecturer: Melanie Wiese, Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman Thompson Perth

  • Insight vs information
  • Good, bad and ugly insights & knowing the difference
  • Sources of an insight

Week 4: How to be helpful to creatives and write great briefs
Lecturers: Michael Derepas, Chief Strategy Officer and Ant Keogh, Chief Creative Officer, The Monkeys Melbourne

  • What is a creative brief and how to write one
  • Brief vs briefing
  • Selling the strategy and selling the brief

Week 5: How to use research and how to know what type?
Lecturer: Frances Clayton, Chief Strategy Officer DDB Sydney, DDB Group Australia

  • Qual vs quant vs ethnography
  • Running research (informal vs formal)
  • Pre-testing vs testing

Week 6: What is campaign planning and how to use it
Lecturer: Nick Kavanagh, Head of Integrated Strategy and Planning, Havas

  • Where in the process is it used best
  • How to think about the campaign coming to life in the world

Week 7: What to measure, how to measure and why?
Lecturers:  Christina Aventi, Chief Strategy Officer, BMF Australia and Jennifer Rhodes, Associate Director, Marketing Insights and Performance, Destination NSW (formerly Effectiveness & Data Strategy, BMF Australia)

  • Effectiveness and setting objectives
  • Knowing what is possible
  • Behind the Effies

Week 8: Presenting strategy & the pitch
Lecturer: Heather Sheen, Head of Planning, R/GA (formerly Planning Partner, DDB Sydney)

  • Presentations and final assessment

This industry certified course includes homework/assessments.

Related articles

Learn to love/hate research by Fran Clayton
Why planners are going ‘back to basics’ in the digital era by Kate Smither
The ‘unhealthy obsession’ distracting strategic planners by Anuj Mehra
How the evolution of planning is affecting strategy by Lily Tidy
Do today’s strategic planners need to shift focus? QLD planners weigh in by Amanda Windus, Justin Cloete & Mike Redfern

Read former AdSchool participant Jake Batty’s key takeaways from the course.
Additionally, Callam Hanks a former AdSchool participant shares “My road to social and content manager“.


What is the difference between “Core Strategic Planning” and the “Advanced Strategic Planning” courses?

Strategic Planning Core Skills” is narrower in focus. It concentrates on explaining the tools and techniques available to a strategic planner working on a communications strategy or campaign from beginning to end – strategic skills as applied to creative (typically advertising ) campaigns. The focus is on the campaign. It is aimed at people with up to 2 years experience.

The “Strategic Planning Advanced Skills” course is aimed at more experienced people (4+ years), and will give them a broader perspective of the total business context – business strategy, opportunities through segmentation, the changing face of brands and branding, communications and connections planning etc.  This course is more focused on the brand rather than the campaign and considers the future of strategic planning.

Participant Feedback
…I highly recommend this to someone who is starting in the industry to get a better understanding of their work, their clients, and their team and further more – the bigger picture. Definitely lit a fire. 

2022 Participant

A great course to gain a deeper understanding to what strategy is and what strategists do, and how to apply to your everyday. 

2022 Participant

Great course, gained a lot from it overall that I’ll apply to my everyday. Excited to jump into my next brief!

2022 Participant