Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP Group talks about people being more open to collaboration, reputation and record being the two important factors in an acquisition, maintaining his stand on viewing Twitter as a PR medium and more…
Within WPP what is the approach towards integration to bring about optimization?
The team leaders and the country managers, those are the two integrators. At the local level we are getting people to work together more effectively, which is not easy but more than challenging. It makes you want to tear your hair out but I am tearing my hair out less each day than I was five or ten years ago. Five or ten years ago, it was pretty miserable.
Do you think people are more open to collaboration now?
Good people are more difficult on collaboration because they’re good and they have good track records. They think they know the answers and that’s human nature. That’s a dangerous think to say because if you say that to an average person, they think to be good they have to be difficult. It’s very rare that you find someone who is balanced, in other words somebody might focus too much on their verticals in the absence of the group.
What are the factors most important to you while making an acquisition?
Reputation and record, i.e. the financial record. Clients and employees are two very important communities; you look at the record of the clients. You listen to the clients and what they think. You talk to the people, you assess the people. So when I’m talking about brand reputation, it is about the client’s reaction, and people’s reaction. It is not rocket science, but having said that, consider how many times people ruin it, including ourselves. We are known to make mistakes.
What are your views on the effective merging of creativity and data?
This is nothing different than Mad Men vs Maths Men or left brain, right brain. I think we over intellectualize this stuff. The qualitative and the quantitative have always been there. I suppose the issue is quantitative is becoming more and more important because technology is becoming more important. So Maths Men are becoming more important.
So the integration is happening?
In our industry; yes. I think some people are trying kicking and screaming, some people can’t get their minds around it. It’s human nature.
Do you still view Twitter as a PR Medium?
I still think it’s a PR medium and I bemoan superficiality. I want more depth from Twitter.