Technology and digitisation is impacting the advertising and media business, and individuals. In a series of conversations focusing on the “digital” side of CEOs, exchange4media speaks to Miles Young, CEO, Ogilvy Worldwide on how technology has impacted his life, or not…
How often do you find yourself checking your mails?
I check mails every 15 or 20 minutes.
How many handheld devices do you have?
Have you experimented with any tablet yet?
Yes, I have one, the iPad.
What are the kinds of applications that one can find in your handheld devices?
Actually, not many. Weather is really important to me, because if I’m travelling between different climate zones, I need to know what to pack.
Even just for experience, have you used the augmented reality application your company designed for a client recently?
How many applications that you have are free and how many paid?
Some of them are free to me, but I think they are paid for by the company.
Do you still use notepads and pens for writing?
I do actually. I’m quite insistent with our trainees too, because that is a different form of notation that comes from manuscript and a different ability to pay attention to the tutor. I also use notepads for some compositions, for instance, if I’m away from the office and if I’m composing a really important all-staff memo, I always write it in my notepad.
Do you have any social media account?
I have a Twitter account. I’m not on Facebook and there is a very good reason, which is to do with you a lot! I have a strong point of view about people in business who use Facebook to their own personal advantage. There are CEOs who’ve got two to three people employed in a company just to invest in social media. And it’s not of any value to the company; maybe a value to the individual. I absolutely don’t want to do that. If I was to be on Facebook, I’d have to have someone to manage it unless it was a purely personal thing. And the other issue is the confusion of personal and public, so it’s very difficult. I have come across horror stories of client’s Facebook accounts being accessed by agencies and vice versa. It’s something we have to be careful about. And hopefully when I retire, I’d be on it. I’ll see you there then.
How active are you on Twitter?
Not very. It’s a question of time and also your purpose. So, if my purpose was to let everyone know I was here, Twitter is useful. It’s disadvantageous for me; total access is not always an advantage. Twitter is extremely useful if you’re building celebrity status, personally I have no wish to do that.
Where do you access Twitter from -- laptop or mobile device?
Do you find yourself arguing with clients over digital and how their approach should be?
Not arguing, but debating. It’s one of the biggest debates that we have at the moment with our clients. In parts, we’re trying to establish ourselves as interpreters of a digital landscape to them. Facebook and Google don’t give solutions, they are just channels. Someone has to turn their offering to a solution and make it sensible; that is the agency’s role. And a lot of what we’re doing at the moment is trying to get debate for what we’ve done so that it can become more strategic. One of the reasons why I’ve just hired a Chief Digital Officer.
You just mentioned that digital is not just OgilvyOne. It’s across all your disciplines. Does it ever irritate you if a client pegs digital as a separate spend?
It does not irritate me. It annoys me sometimes if we lose a digital business to pure play, because then I question why weren’t we strong enough to win it. I don’t believe in the pure play philosophy of treating digital as a specialism; that’s wrong. I recognise that some of them are very distinguished competitors, particularly in the US. There are some first class digital agencies and the industry as a whole has benefitted from them and from the expertise they’ve brought in.
How do you get your information on what is happening on the technological/ digital side?
You just get it day to day. It’s just about browsing out of curiosity. For instance, social media I’m quite interested in, so the deployment of social media in the communication mix. I read a speech recently and, therefore, I did a lot of research myself. They’ve also got a very strong social media practice, so their job is to deliver neatly digested views and I’m the lucky recipient to those. Then you have the reader experience of seeing what works and what doesn’t work in a client situation.
If we were to tell you that all things digital are going to cease in the next half hour, what would you do in the time that you’re still connected?
I would be sending some greetings to some close friends who otherwise wouldn’t hear from me for three weeks.
Ogilvy India’s numero uno status & 2011 digital focus: Miles Young in conversation with e4m