Advanced Certificate in Communications Planning

Become the strategic communications planning lead for your client’s business with this 6-month online qualification.

The Advanced Certificate in Communications Planning gives you an in-depth, high-level and end-to-end understanding of communications strategy planning. Expert practitioner insight and burgeoning reputation, all in one qualification? Sounds like a plan.

Who is this qualification for?

Anyone involved in developing and planning communication strategies for clients and brands. Its sweet spot is mid-level practitioners with at least four years’ experience.

What are the benefits?

  • Enhance your understanding of an ever more complex media world and develop skills that will see commercial rewards.
  • Understand what you should be evaluating and why and gain access to an online evaluation framework.
  • Learn the key stages of developing a successful communication strategy.
  • Explore integration models and discuss how you can put them into practice.
  • Find out how to maximize the effectiveness of your communication plan through best practice principles.

How is the qualification delivered and assessed?

  • An annual intake: 45 hours of online learning, split across five modules, delivered over seven months.
  • Candidates must pass an assessment at the end of each module to achieve the Certificate; three essays and two multiple-choice quizzes.

Learning Syllabus

Module 1: Measurement & Objectives

Module one will help you understand the importance of measurement – not just
for good governance, but as a driver of better work and as a career accelerant. The
module is designed to give you some core principles that will help you to scope the
needs for evaluation when engaging clients and specialists and will also enable you
to be a good critical judge as to whether there’s effective measurement in place or
not. Finally, the module helps you understand how measurement needs to impinge
on every stakeholder – clients and agency side – and not just the obvious people.

Module 2: Scrutinising and Building on the Brief

Module two will enable you to constructively challenge a client brief and establish the ‘real’ problem to be solved. You will be able to make the financial case for marketing investment and set an appropriate budget level to achieve a defined level of success. And you will have a clear understanding of the fundamental communication principles that apply across all categories and channels. You’ll then be ready to put these principles into practice and start developing your own communication strategy.

Module 3: Developing the Strategy

Module three will enable you to take receipt of a client brief and translate it into a communication strategy. It covers areas such as:

  • The definition of strategy, its significance, and value – introducing some useful mental models for considering communication strategy.
  • The significance of objectives – being clear about objectives and their underlying aspiration opens the door to strategic thinking from the start.
  • Strategy and execution are context-dependent, and we will outline sensible areas of focus and methods to employ.
  • We’ll also look into the age-old question, “What is an insight?” Finally, we shift from divergent to convergent thinking in order to synthesize our insights into the key components of the communication strategy.

Module 4: Creativity in Media

In Module Four we will examine why creativity drives effectiveness, looking at the evidence from the IPA’s analysis and elsewhere for the business effects of creativity. We will look at: some of the theories that explain why creativity – in all its forms – is so important in communications; the history of creative thinking in advertising; and finally, we will look at creativity in media, citing some of the different ways that creativity can be applied to the discipline with some examples of creative media thinking in action. By the end of this module, you’ll be able to use different jumping-off points for thinking creatively about media based on the specific challenge you are tackling. You will also understand what makes a great media idea and how to assess if you’ve landed on one.

Module 5: Creating a Communications Plan

Module five covers the key steps to developing a communications plan – the role of media and channel choices. It focuses on the traits every good Comms Plan should have and outlines the details behind three common deliverables: (1) Schematic, (2) The Presentation, and (3) The ‘Ecosystem’; the module also joins the dots on measurement from the comms architecture/ strategy to in-channel metrics. The module also includes checklists for innovation, workshops and briefs, learning agendas, and optimization. The module shows how you can maximize the effectiveness of your communications plan through best practice principles for budget allocation and channel planning and, once a plan goes live, through ongoing analysis and optimization.


Member Price


Non-Member Price


Intake Dates

The 2022 intake commences on 30 May 2022.


Kim Peatling

Associate Director Business Development, Publicis Media

“Improving the standard of knowledge around marketing communications is essential. Having more people with the Advanced Certificate in Communications Planning in the company is of benefit not just to the individuals but to their wider teams, the business as a whole, and most importantly to our clients. The talent within our business comes from a variety of backgrounds (tech, data, and consultancies) so having this knowledge across the business enables seamless collaboration. That’s why I encourage staff to take the Certificate – so much so that I’ve set this in my teams’ objectives for the coming years.”

Chris McGuire

Senior Account Executive, Mediacom

“I think it’s vitally important to keep learning throughout your career as anybody who thinks they know it all, in this industry or any other, is seriously misguided. The scope of the qualification deals with large-scale trends, such as programmatic buying, as well as core processes and principles in planning and strategy. This means I could apply my learning in the very next meeting I went to as well as serve as a strong base of knowledge and skills for the future.”

Ketan Lad

Strategist, havas

“What really made the difference was getting us to apply these principles to the advertising landscape of tomorrow. Essays were all against the backdrop of technological disruption, new specialisms, changing consumer behaviors, and integration that disregards traditional boundaries in favor of moving quickly and collaboratively. The Advanced Certificate in Communications Planning was effectively a training day for everything we read about that’s just around the corner and bound to land on your desk (if it hasn’t already) very soon.”

Hayley Hedges

Planning Account Manager, Spark Foundry

 “Throughout the qualification and since completing it, it has enabled me to speak with real confidence with senior clients regarding marketing communication planning, peppering the conversation with anecdotes taken from the course, such as understanding the relationship between share of market and excess share of voice and the importance of balancing short and long termism.”