The power brokers: Michael Roth

What keeps Michael Roth, the chief executive and president of IPG, awake at night? Jeremy King quizzes the IPG boss on the key trends in five big areas.

Michael Roth, the chief executive and president of IPG
Michael Roth, the chief executive and president of IPG

1. Digital and the changing consumer

Consumers are making more demands as they are experiencing and living with more exciting digital opportunities. For the industry, it is important for us to understand how best to utilise these experiences.

Now you have consumers who are not just part of the media but partaking in interactive experiences.    

2. Brand management

It is an interesting concept – if you take Coca-Cola as an example, it has the largest relationship with its consumers and the highest number of friends, but it still needs to be managed carefully.

Managing a brand offers a long opportunity on the understanding that it continues to resonate with its consumers. It is important to be very well versed on the brand's wants and needs and make sure it is aware of all of the tools available to it.

For example, video is now becoming the major part of a media spend for a brand. Many brands are looking at this and mobile content as a priority, but importantly they are also not disregarding the more traditional forms of media, such as print.

It is all about having the right vehicles to ensure the client is best serviced.    

3. Hiring, retaining and developing talent

It is essential to get people who understand the new mediums and are challenged by the work, able to adapt to change and know how to use the big ideas.

In terms of retaining talent, all of these things need to be communicated and you need to make sure you include everybody and everyone knows what is expected of them. You cannot expect to have a role in the market if you do not do this. It is important to look at talent as a collective part of the business.

All over the world, we have pools of talent that understand the markets they are working in and we have a number of sessions that help our staff develop this understanding. Recently, we hosted a two-day session on how men and women view creativity, as well as fostering better relationships in the workplace and with clients.

It is about understanding what works and the current trends. At IPG, we have a number of women in very high-profile and influential positions.    

4. Globalisation

The reality is that media is now global, but we must not disregard the local impact. It all depends on the brand. When looking at certain clients, their campaigns have to be branded locally.

It is essential to have an understanding of what works and what doesn’t in each regional area. It is essential the media understands the culture and the language of the areas you are operating in, whether it is the emerging markets in Latin America and Asia, or the more traditional markets in Europe and the UK.    

5. Social media and social responsibility

Social media is a very important part of a marketing strategy and it is essential we use it as part of our armoury.

The relationship of the consumer and the brand has become even more important as a result of social media.

Brands have to build up that trust with consumers through social media, but where they have to be very careful is over privacy issues. Clients are always concerned about this because consumers take this issue very seriously. If a brand violates its trust, the implications are huge – we are seeing vigilante consumers, which contribute to creating a negative brand.

This is why it can be dangerous to chase users via social media and why clients need expertise to help them develop plans that take into account the development of the markets they are in because consumers use social media to search for trust and for brands that most resonate with them.

Interview by Jeremy King, editor of Media Week

Agencies in the IPG portfolio include - Inititative, McCann Erickson Worldwide and Reprise Media.