Top media bosses respond to Philippa Brown's year ahead

Yesterday in Campaign, Philippa Brown outlined what she felt were the big issues for media agencies in the year ahead. Here, some of her rivals give their view.

Claudine Collins: managing director of MediaCom UK
Claudine Collins: managing director of MediaCom UK

To read Brown’s original piece click here.

Claudine Collins, the managing director of MediaCom UK

There are two undeniable facts about the world we work in. Firstly it’s more complex. Thanks to technology our world has changed irrevocably.

Consumers are faced with more opportunities to engage with content than ever before. Brands are faced with more ways to communicate with and sell to their consumers than ever before. 

Secondly it is more connected. With ubiquitous access to the internet, all communications are part of the connected system made up of inter-dependent parts.

At MediaCom, we plan with this connectivity in mind. We look at media through the consumer’s eyes and believe content doesn’t sit in isolation.

Content must be seamlessly integrated with the wider media plan, delivering client objectives. That means a media agency has to think and operate in an entirely new way. 

We call ourselves the content and connections agency. That’s our shorthand way of saying that we have a unique approach to planning and buying across paid, owned and earned media which optimises our clients’ entire system of content and connections, not just the individual channel silos.

For us, "content" is the fuel for high-performing systems. It refers to any form of consumer messaging that connects brands to their consumers, whether that is TV, press, radio, events, partnerships, branded content, social, search, mobile or new technologies. "Connections" refers to how we guide the content around the system. 

It’s about having a clearly defined distribution strategy, ensuring there are no dead ends or wastage resulting from disconnected content.

Against this backdrop of infinite choices and endless ways to communicate, agencies need to find the opportunity in the complexity on behalf of their clients.

Pippa Glucklich, co-chief executive at SMGPippa Glucklich, co-chief executive at SMG

All the areas Philippa focuses on are highly relevant but there is one key pillar that I would add in – the area of precision marketing.

Data-led delivery influences everything from display to radio and is of real importance for media agencies in 2015 through the development of connecting digital and traditional channels.

As we all know though, predicting the future is a hazardous occupation and never more so than in the complex and ever changing world of the media agency.

As Philippa wisely says, media agencies are at the forefront of this industry change and there’s a lot for us to think about and to do. 

Let’s never forget, however, that our clients are looking for us to simplify and connect that complexity and, in turn, help their audiences make simple, clear decisions. It’s our job to simplify complexity.

Nick Baughan, UK chief executive at MaxusNick Baughan, UK chief executive at Maxus

2015 is a year for optimism and a year for media agencies to embrace change.

We will see a more marked bifurcation within the agency as we become at once creative partners and super-affiliates to our clients.

The agencies that will succeed will learn to cede control over media; there will be more consumer movements akin to the Ice Bucket Challenge across different categories that will be conceived by consumers that agencies will get to shape and amplify.

We will continue to widen our circle of friends collaborating with technology partners, with creators and with new consumers.

The category diaspora of talent will become a reason to celebrate with more movement between media agency, publisher, creative, client and technology organisations producing for the first time a real and recognisable meta-media industry.

A fantastic year in the making for media agencies and we are raring to go.

Natasha Murray, managing director at Havas MediaNatasha Murray, managing director at Havas Media

I believe that our responsibility as media agencies is to leverage our skills in understanding data – both in terms of behaviour and what engages consumers – to ensure our clients’ brands are being meaningful to the right people, at the right time, in the right place, with the relevant content. 

We know from our Meaningful Brands survey that the relationship between consumers and brands has fundamentally shifted and brands need to work harder than ever to earn the right to be part of the consumers’ story.

People power has revolutionised how brands must now behave and media agencies should focus on getting back to human understanding through data (more insight, less tech talk) which is key to behaving like a meaningful brand and driving business success.

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