I’m grounded this week for our daughter’s operation on Wednesday – it’s travel most weeks. Most recently, I have spent a lot of time in New York as we build our team to really deliver real-time adaptive marketing. On that subject, by the end of the week, we have agreed that Jordan Bitterman will join us as the chief strategy officer in North America. Jordan is a rare and exceptional talent, and it’s going to be a real pleasure to work with him. The next few weeks are all about Asia, with Cannes and Chicago sandwiched in between.
When I am at home, we try to ring-fence bathtime with the kids; I also know where all the toy shops are in every major capital. Other than that, the day is usually waking up to e-mails from Martin [Sorrell, the WPP chief executive] and Asia on the 6am dog walk (most Mindshare people know when to avoid Highbury now so they don’t bump into me and the dog). Then, at the end of the day, I usually go to bed with Martin and, at the moment, American Dream Machine. A good book keeps me sane in hotel rooms – that and FaceTime.
It’s unusual to be in London all week and I manage to annoy quite a few people both at home and in the office. We’re about to launch the new planning product and tool suite, so I meddle in the design at the last minute – I have to say, it looks quite good. I’m not a fan of process, but a fluid design to bring content, technology and distribution together is pretty rare, and this is a good one. It’s partly designed to finally realise media’s potential and convince clients to call us first, not some moribund old agency.
One of the highlights of the week is reviewing the week’s work from around the network and the 11 Effie wins from the previous week. This is in contrast to the various calls with procurement on a range of pitches. As an industry, we are always banging on about the promise of media – everything begins and ends in media, from Arab Springs to 20th Century Fox, and we can now map all humankind – but it seems every media pitch starts and ends the same way. It starts with the promise of a new media nirvana – every chief executive wants the always-on, mobile, social, t-commerce world – and then it gets to procurement. Six months of pitching later, the promise to change the media world has been rejected by procurement, who really just want what they had last year, but cheaper.
Until media breaks that cycle, it will never be the first call and what it should be, which is the lead marketing partner effecting real business change for clients through everything that can carry a message.
That is what I spend this week and every week doing – making sure we have the right people who can be lead partners, together with the right systems and the right technology, and making sure that all our clients know it and value it… that and quiffing what’s left of my hair to look like Siegfried & Roy and going to bed with Martin and my wife. And, yes, Mimi is up and about and being a pain in the backside.
Nick Emery is the worldwide chief executive of Mindshare