Media and creative, disciplines resulting out of the specialisation syndrome that the advertising industry has witnessed, are seeing some debates from the industry to work together again rather than remaining estranged functions. Giving a global viewpoint here was Nicholas Brien, President and CEO, Universal McCann, who spoke on the subject at an evening organised by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) on August 2, 2006.
Giving a broad industry view, Brien said, “The changing pace of the industry requires us to be bold and progressive in our thinking. Are we selling price or value? The answer is simple – if we create value, there is value to be shared. Today, we see most development based on crisis like that in the music industry. The situation in the advertising side of the business isn’t much different either. As consumers are looking at new ways to engage themselves, clients are seeking new solutions to reach to these consumers. It is not the changes itself, but the pace of these changes that requires us to get our act right.”
He explained that today as India was competing at the global level, a key ingredient at the base of these changes was the Internet and the fact that India was at global reckoning reiterated the growth of the Internet and the coming of the digital age. He also emphasised that many changes in advertising were, in fact, changes emerging from evolving marketing practices. The question was which business model would work better for advertising in the future.
The solution that Brien saw for this was in increased collaboration between the creative and media functions, which didn’t imply going back to the traditional model of a full-fledged agency. He spoke of the importance of scale and the increased capabilities to handle changes that came with collaboration. He said that no two clients were looking at the same formula, which led to a need to focus and share resources.
At the same time, the new world was not that of just generalists or specialists – it was of a healthy combination of the two. Brien spoke of the absolute necessity to have the great idea that could be executed across mediums – traditional and new – and that nothing beat great talent. He said, “We are in an age, where a plan can be developed in Finland, finalised in London, optimised in India and then presented to a client in New York. It is a wired environment and consumers, too, are changing in this environment.”
According to Brien, “Today, consumers are creating and sharing content and enjoying it. The content has to be engaging when we are speaking to consumer or else they will switch us off and this can only happen by better collaboration between all that is available to us.” He also spoke on the importance of media management and new trends like social networks. In all, the effort should be to create the marketing of the 24th century.