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A brave new world

A brave new world

Consumers across the world are now changing their expectations from brands; to survive, an advertising agency has to evolve, says Laura Desmond, the global CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group.

March 16, 2009 1:20 by

Thanks to the current financial situation, people have started expecting more from brands and products; according to Laura Desmond, the global CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group, they have now started to ask why (i.e., why should I buy this?)

Therefore, what should make up the DNA of an advertising agency of the future? Speaking at the ongoing Dubai International Advertising Festival, Desmond lists five key factors:

1. It should be a human experience company.

Desmond says agencies are not ad-makers, but are content innovators. They have to make the brand an experience for consumers. The new currency, she says, is attention. So speak to them, reach out to them and make them part of the brand experience.

2. Look to the markets of the future.

Regions like China, India and the Middle East are the markets where the future lies, and agencies have to make sure that they establish themselves firmly in these areas, says Desmond. While emphasizing that developed markets like the UK and the US will still play a vital role, she says that in order for agencies to progress, grow and prosper, they will need to be in the markets of the future.

3. Digitally centric

Campaigns have to be where the consumers are, and most people these days are online. Desmond says that she sees a greater percentage of the advertising revenue coming from online in the future; possibly even up to 40 percent. And for products that are connected to teenagers, including technology, fashion, online revenue could reach 50 percent.

She says that agencies should prepare for this shift by having their creatives proficient in digital, but she adds that they should also be aware of the other mediums.

4. Globally connected

An agency should attempt have branches around the world, and should enforce the same principles throughout.

5. Open up the super highway of talent

An agency has to realize that talent is fluid and can work from anywhere, says Desmond. They have to start saying a lot more of “yes”, than “no”. They have to encourage new ideas, creativity and innovation, and embrace change in order to grow.

Desmond also said that agencies should have the will, the desire, the resources and the commitment to change.

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