Steve Parker, managing director, MediaVest
Steve Parker, managing director, MediaVest
A view from Steve Parker

Think BR: Championing change, talent and digital leaders of tomorrow

A new generation of disruptive platforms and technologies is creating an environment of exciting change for those in media communications, writes Steve Parker, managing director, MediaVest.

Much of the change we are seeing is having the positive effect of creating new or enhanced ways in which brands and businesses can engage with their customers.

It is with this constant change in mind that I refer back almost a year to the brilliant inaugural speech of IPA president Nicola Mendelsohn. 

Focusing on developing better skills, creating better connections and re-energising the industry with fresh talent, it was inspiring and a clear rallying call for winning the future.

To Nicola and the IPA’s credit they have pushed hard with powerful initiatives such as the competition to identify Creative Pioneers for our digital future, ad school for search and the search certificate.

The IPA challenged us to "re-skill" and "push the frontiers of our business to embrace new partnerships and services" so we have to walk the walk. 

With these thoughts in mind I think the industry should take a moment to pat itself on the back. 

That said, talent development never ends and there is certainly a lot more that needs to be done to encourage a more diverse talent pool in a rapidly changing digital landscape. 

However a few things that my colleagues and I have been involved with in the last few weeks reminded me that in many areas we are making a difference.

The first is through the everyday working experience as evidenced by the recently published Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For list

This year was a record year for the number of media, creative and PR agencies on the list, Starcom MediaVest Group being one of four media agencies. 

A substantial part of the evaluation is based on (anonymous) feedback from employees, a process you cannot cheat - you are measured consistently and thoroughly and your everyday organisational behaviours will be reflected. 

Change is only an opportunity if you recognise it and embrace it.

The growth in search marketing is well documented and we are all experiencing it through the education of communication and media planners to the accelerated growth of PPC and SEO teams. 

The next stage is possibly the large scale introduction of search based technology into the TV/AV/connected TV world. 

Understanding the fundamentals of search and being brave by broadening this understanding is, I believe, critical. 

That is why at SMG all our agency teams are completing the Google AdWords Certification Programme (GCP) that educates in the fundamentals of search marketing.

Google UK’s agency sales director Phil Miles explains, "'Google Adwords allows you to plan and buy across Google search, display, mobile and YouTube video.

"As we add products to the platform, it is no longer just for the search teams within agencies. 

"Starcom Mediavest has taken a far sighted decision to train and qualify the whole agency to become Adwords professionals and they are the first UK agency to do so."

We recognise our role in helping to shape the talent future, or as Mendelsohn put it "winning the talent war". 

A brilliant example of this is Squared. Led by Google and the IPA and supported by media agencies such as Starcom MediaVest Group, Squared is a unique project to turn the graduates of today into the brilliant digital leaders of tomorrow.

The ambition is to create change agents - talent that embraces change, that naturally collaborates, that can sell ideas and all forms of creativity.

After weeks of negative news around unpaid work, how refreshing to see how our industry is taking a variety of important steps to prepare our people to meet and master change with better skills.

Steve Parker, managing director, MediaVest