Agency leaders should get out of the board room & make human connections: Per Pedersen

At the 20th edition of the e4m Conclave, Per Pedersen, Founder & Creative at by The Network, shared key lessons for agencies to survive and stay relevant

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 19, 2021 9:13 AM
per pedersen

At the 20th edition of the e4m conclave, Per Pedersen, Founder & Creative, by The Network spoke about “The future of global networks” in his keynote address.

Pedersen highlighted how “the new agency model as we knew is dead”.  According to Pedersen, agencies have to come to terms with the change that is happening around to survive and to stay relevant. In his words, “Change is inevitable. It is going to be necessary for the creative industry to survive.”

“Big networks have turned corporate and in my view, old fashioned ways of working do not resonate well with creative agencies. One of the big consequences of this is that the best creatives have gone independent. Change is going to be necessary for agencies to survive and stay relevant and we have to break with old ways of corporate thinking,” he reiterated.

Pedersen also spoke about how 2020 has provided fertile ground for independent agencies and how agencies are abandoning the old retainer and AOR model and are increasingly working on a project basis or going in-house. His advice to creative agencies was to shed the arrogant approach towards clients and work in a more collaborative way.

During his keynote, Pedersen also underlined how new technologies are enabling new ways of working which will fundamentally change the creative industry in the near future. He also spoke about the importance of having leaders who have the right background to lead the agency.

“We are very CFO driven, we should be idea-driven. In my view, you should have a background in the product to fully understand and drive an agency network. Put creativity at the centre and creative people on the top. Our entire network is based on creative people that are running things. We have to break the rules of corporate thinking and we need to see more creative people run the network. We have to also remove the rigid processes and remove the middlemen that “manage’ creativity.”

He also spoke against the myth that “you cannot trust a creative with money”, which, in his view, has no bearing with facts.

“I think it is a big mistake to think so. Creative people will easily understand how to make the right decisions and they will make right decisions from the point of view of creativity which is at the core of what you are doing or should be doing at the creative agency. “

Pedersen also urged agency leaders to “get out of the board room and step down from the high horses and make human connections.”

“A of people think that creativity equals advertising. However, I would say that if it looks or feels like advertising, it probably won’t work.”

In Pedersen’s view, every agency should reflect diversity in gender and geography and should take a leaf out of his initiative (by The Network), which was born during the pandemic and can be operated from anywhere.

“I would say build a network of talented people with a shared passion to do great work and break down all borders and silos and start working together.”

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