Agility is something that clients & agencies need to have more of: Toby Jenner, Wavemaker

The Global CEO shared the outlook of the ad market, his assessment of recovery post pandemic and how Wavemaker has been shining through the storms

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 22, 2020 4:22 PM

Lately, world leaders and industry heads have been charting out recovery plans to emerge from the COVID-19 onslaught. On similar lines, an insightful fireside chat between Toby Jenner, Global CEO, Wavemaker, and Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media, had Jenner share the global outlook of the ad market, his assessment of recovery post-pandemic and how Wavemaker has been shining through the storms.

Speaking about his journey with Wavemaker, Jenner remarked, “I joined Wavemaker in September last year. And I had a very clear plan for the year ahead of me, which didn't include a global pandemic. So I just wish every person who starts with a new job this year well, because it's been challenging. I'm glad I had six months prior to March to put in place a number of the areas that we wanted to address, so we were in good shape. And I think ultimately the last four or five months, whether it's been COVID or Black Lives Matter in the US, it's been a hugely challenging time and it's been a time where communication and sharing of information has been more important than ever before.”

Jenner also spoke of how the agency managed to put up a good show despite the pandemic and the challenges posed by it. “In the first week of April, when we went into lockdown in the UK and across Europe and the States, we were having calls every day. The information we were sharing went out literally every day. But it was a choice if you either share what's relevant as of that moment in time, or you wouldn't be sharing anything. So we made the decision that we would share on an ongoing basis every day, certainly for the first three or four weeks. So it's been challenging, but it's been good. I'm pleased to say the team's been incredible, and the changes we made for Wavemaker, we built a new product with one global operating system so we could connect globally. We had a very clear new proposition around positively provoking growth for our clients. A time of crisis is what you should never let go to waste. A time like this has been a real rich area for us and for our clients, so it's been busy, but rewarding," he said.

Jenner spoke of recovery post-COVID-19. Sharing the global outlook, he observed,“We’re seeing huge deflation around the world. So, what we're seeing is 2019, the market is about 11 billion. That is after cap up to 6%, about 587 billion. And then we're seeing this year decline is around 517 billion, which is in fact 11.8%. And I think next year, we'll capture probably two-third of that. So, one year of pandemic and I would say two years of recovery. “ He added,“It's no secret that the market has declined around the world but we haven't been less busy because of the recalibration that we have been doing for our clients across the board.”

He also highlighted the green shoots of opportunity that the scenario has brought in and shed light on how digital and e-commerce have grown disproportionately post COVID.
“We have seen digital come to the fore for the first time around and we see e-commerce being a winner among industries. We have seen more innovation in the last four months than in the last four years,” Jenner remarked.

“We saw an absolute need for agility, flexibility and connectivity when COVID-19 hit global markets. Using a modular approach to address these needs is something that we were providing our clients,” he continued. Moreover, Jenner stressed on the growing importance of connecting locally. “It's important to know how to connect to a local community. Brands connecting locally is the new need of the hour. This is extremely important for a country like India,” he asserted.

He expounded on how agility is the need of the hour. “The need and ability to collaborate will be different and will continue to evolve as we go along. It is of utmost importance that everyone across the board learns to be flexible. We have to manage short and long term goals. Agility is something that clients and agencies need to have more of,” Jenner advised.

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