Planning for the Best: Amplifying Brand Action

By Luke Haynes, Strategy Director

Feb, 2024
Luke is a passion marketer and culture junkie whose career has been spent connecting brands to audiences through the things they love, helping them earn the right to be talked about by real people in the real world. He is currently strategy director at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, and has previously spent time at RPM London, Sky Sports, and Junkee Media.

LBB: What do you think is the difference between a strategist and a planner? Is there one?

Luke: Even getting into a debate about this risks engaging in the sort of naval-gazing tedium that gives strategists a bad name.

I can only go by my lived experience – I’ve been in various corners of the industry since 2006 and am yet to work in an agency where there are distinct planning or strategy roles. In my day job I do things that fit the classical description of both, and the words, and job titles, are used interchangeably.

LBB: And which description do you think suits the way you work best?

Luke: I see my role as trying to place our clients’ brands in parts of culture that connect them to a community of people relevant to their business, and to try to create a role for that brand that is additive, rather than interruptive, to the lives of people living in the real world. When we get that right, it delivers a positive impact to their business.

LBB: We’re used to hearing about the best creative advertising campaigns, but what’s your favourite historic campaign from a strategic perspective? One that you feel demonstrates great strategy?

Luke: The most memorable and impactful campaigns are rarely pure advertising. Look at what wins Lions, what lights up social media, what makes the news, or what people actually talk to their friends about – it’s usually a brand action amplified through earned and shared media.

Red Bull have mastered this;
They give people experiences that create memories (parties and festivals)
Lead the cultural conversation (Red Bull Music Academy, Red Bull Studios)
Produce elite-level content (Red Bull Stratos, Red Bull Flugtag, Red Bull Soapbox race, etc)
Demonstrate what their brand stands for / what their product delivers through owned properties (Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Leipzig, New York Red Bulls, etc)

LBB: When you’re turning a business brief into something that can inform an inspiring creative campaign, do you find the most useful resource to draw on?

Luke: I make frequent, like, daily, use of our own proprietary dataset on Australians’ passions, and often pair that with data from Nielsen to understand what our clients’ customers and prospects actually care about, where they talk about those things, and how they engage with them.


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