MediaCom's Transformation Week showed speed is of the essence
A view from Sue Unerman

MediaCom's Transformation Week showed speed is of the essence

The annual event revealed a common theme of accelerating change.

“I get 200 emails a day, and three-quarters of them are people breathlessly telling me about their wonderful solution that will change my life. Some percentage of them are probably right but I don’t begin to have enough time to read all those emails let alone answer them… it is one of my greatest sources of anxiety. How do I keep up? How do I know what’s going on?  How do I know what I need to know?”

Peter Horst, chief marketer, Hershey, from CMOs at Work

It’s our role in agencies to answer this question, and every year at  MediaCom’s annual Transformation Week we sum up the latest, most crucial information to make sure that we see the bigger picture. What’s hype, what’s real, what’s transformational?

Our MediaCom experts, inspirers, agitators, our colleagues from WPP and Group M and our partners at media owners come together for what amounts to a festival of transformation.

This year, Transformation Week was on 20-24 September. There were 25 brilliant sessions, with more than 2300 attendees, and overall attendance was up year on year by more than a quarter.

There’s too much content to rattle through in one blog.  All the sessions are available to view, and we’re really grateful to everyone who participated. 

Here are some themes from the sessions:

Speed, you need to hurry up:

Mark Read, WPP’s chief executive, and Dame Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV spoke to news anchor Nina Hossain, about business transformation, and united in agreeing what is a key overall theme of this year’s Transformation Week: acceleration. Strategies for business development and particularly digital transformation are frequently in place and are sound.  What is necessary now is speed, and very often new skills and ways of working.

Make sure you’re informed, but also trust your instincts:

MediaCom CEO Kate Rowlinson and Group M CEO Karen Blackett OBE met to discuss setting the agenda for the future. They talked about the role we can all play in creating a better, fairer society through our work, and the importance of trusting your gut, listening to your instincts for doing the right thing.

Transform not just what you do but how you work:

Working in new ways was a key theme of MediaCom’s client session, where Kerry Chilvers, brands director from DLG, Catherine Lees, director of consumer strategy from Sky, and Nick Ashley, head of media and planning from Tesco, spoke to MediaCom head of planning James Parnum and their respective agency leads, Catherine Pronzato, Hannah McWilliam and Rebecca Davies, about the future of client and agency partnerships. Smashing silos, creating one team of agency and client talent and working in an agile way were key take-outs from this insightful session.

Experiment with new skills or you will be left behind:

We heard about new skills from Snap, especially how to use augmented reality to enhance the shopper journey (more than 200 million users try things on with AR before buying). Google also urged us to update the shopper experience, with one case study showing a 40% improvement in returns when visual formats were added. Clear Channel and Contagious recommended the power of “mousetrap marketing”, where the brand leaves room for the consumer to participate. 

Sustainability is not something you can be neutral about:

MediaCom’s Helen Brain and IPA president Julian Douglas warned against the pitfalls of “greenwashing, green-wishing and green-hushing”.  Savvy consumers will pick you up on the first two, and remaining silent is not good enough.

Speed and acceleration are crucial, if you slow your transformation down, you will be left behind. We all have an active role to play in making work and the workplace better. New skills are essential (what new skill will you acquire this year?).

Sue Unerman is chief transformation officer at MediaCom

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