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 Facilitator & Lecturers

Weekly facilitators (live session)

Graham Alvarez-Jarratt
Graham Alvarez-Jarratt
Strategy Partner, Dentsu Creative
Sebastian Revell
Sebastian Revell
Head of Strategy, TBWA\Australia
Zac Martin
Zac Martin
Planning Director, TBWA\Melbourne
Virginia Pracht
Virginia Pracht
Co-Head of Strategy at TBWA\ Melbourne
Andrew Kolb
Andrew Kolb
Head Of Strategy, VMLY&R Brisbane
Jez Reilly
Jez Reilly
Director of Strategy, Rare

Video lecturers (pre-recorded)

Alison Tilling
Alison Tilling
Chief Strategy Officer, VMLY&R AU-NZ
Jennifer Rhodes
Jennifer Rhodes
Associate Director, Marketing Insights and Performance, Destination NSW
Nick Kavanagh
Nick Kavanagh
Chief Strategy Officer, iProspect
Christina Aventi
Christina Aventi
Chief Strategy Officer, BMF Australia
Fran Clayton
Fran Clayton
CSO DDB Sydney, DDB Group Australia
Alex Speakman
Alex Speakman
Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, BULLFROG
Michael Derepas
Michael Derepas
Chief Strategy Officer, The Monkeys Melbourne
Ant Keogh
Ant Keogh
Chief Creative Officer, The Monkeys Melbourne
Melanie Wiese
Melanie Wiese
Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman Thompson
Heather Sheen
Heather Sheen
Head of Strategy, It's Friday


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

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

Week 2: What is brand strategy?
Lecturer: Alison Tilling

  • 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

  • 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 and Ant Keogh

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 and Jennifer Rhodes

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

Week 8: Presenting strategy & the pitch
Lecturer: Heather Sheen

  • Presentations and final assessment

This industry certified course includes homework/assessments.


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
The course exceeded my expectations as I came in wanting to learn how to be more strategic in my AM role, but I am now seriously considering a move to strategy… I found myself thinking and talking about what I learned in each class long after it ended.

2023 Participant

The course was well set out and the content was great. The assignments challenged us and put our learnings in place and pitching our strategy was great.

2023 Participant

After 15 years working in media and comms I have met some great strategists, and worked with some challenging ones that made me really struggle to connect with strategy as a concept. But the course was fantastic in breaking down what it means to deliver exceptional strategy and the impact it has on a brand/campaign/creative. It’s made me walk away really appreciating the craft but also making me want to learn more.

2023 Participant