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The centre of power is shifting from the West to South & South-East: Sir Martin Sorrell

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The centre of power is shifting from the West to South & South-East: Sir Martin Sorrell

It was a packed evening with an august gathering of the industry’s brightest minds that discussed and debated on the challenges of the changing media, marketing and communication landscape. The 10th edition of exchange4media Group’s flagship conference – exchange4media Conclave, presented by NewsX, was held in New Delhi yesterday. It witnessed participation from the most respected name in the media fraternity Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP, someone who has shaped the fortunes of many companies and is still considered as an undisputed leader of the ad world.

In his keynote address, the WPP Chief reinforced his belief in the business in India, despite the economic turmoil. According to him, the centre of power (economic, political and social) and influence is shifting from the West not just to the East but also to the South and South-East.

He stressed the fact that despite several challenges, Africa and Middle East presents a big opportunity and many clients have expanded aggressively in Africa.

In a world that hugely relies on the digital medium, Sorrell strongly believes in the rise of the web. According to him, the target for WPP is to get 40 to 45 per cent of revenues from digital in the next five years. He stated that search is extremely powerful, display is the second leg, followed by video, social and finally mobile, which is gaining supreme importance.

Sorrell also highlighted the relative growing power of finance as a decision-making function. “Our clients now are not only CMOs and CEOs, they are CFOs and procurement guys,” he said.

While Sorrell believes that globalisation or centralisation is very important, he also emphasised the importance of internal communication, which serves to motivate people and is often undermined.
He believes in the strategic importance of new media, new markets, data investment management and the application of Big Data.

“Getting everybody to work together is a very simple strategy, but difficult to execute in a multi-brand environment,” stated Sorrell. 

The correct way to build long-term brands is the acceptance of social responsibility, he said.

He concluded his keynote with characteristic panache, confidently predicting ‘the partnership of the so-called equals’ (read Omnicom – Publicis Group) would not last long due to a large number of reasons.

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