Media and advertising in 2021: strategies for success // Part 1
In the first of two end-of-year specials, experts from across the media and advertising sectors reveal their hopes and plans for a prosperous 2021. Read part 2 here.
Find and focus on the silver linings
Lindsey Clay, CEO, Thinkbox
Is it too much to hope that next year is the year people stop saying pivot all the time? Probably. Otherwise…
The social and economic weather in 2021 will likely be cloudy with a good chance of pain, but I advise looking for and focusing on the silver linings. They have already begun to glimmer.
The encouraging forecasts that predict TV advertising bouncing back as this annus excrementus ends are one – TV is often a bellwether of the wider economy.
And what we’ve been hearing from advertisers and agency leaders offers other reasons to be positive.
Influential trends have been forced to the surface by the pressure of this, well, pivotal year. At the top of the list are a re-appraisal of the importance of brand and, alongside it, an increasing culture of effectiveness. Outcomes are in.
This is causing a re-appraisal of TV advertising and its digital transformation, as well as an improved understanding of its close relationship with marketing effectiveness. Long may this continue.
And the rapid acceleration of ecommerce during the past year is potentially a bright silver lining for the media that drive it. I hope they get the acknowledgement and investment they deserve.
Every business is a work in progress
Danny Donovan, UK CEO, Mediahub
Sorry to start on a gloomy note, but despite everyone’s determination to have fun in the holiday season and the understandable euphoria of the first vaccines being administered, great swathes of the UK remain under extremely stringent restrictions which will probably last well into 2021, and the economic impact for far longer.
Every business is different, and each is a work in progress. If you think you’ve cracked it, well done, but you’ll need to keep at it, and if you’re struggling then you must refocus.
Mediahub have been fortunate. We weren’t exposed to the worst impacted categories and we’ve attracted several fantastic new clients. We’ve enhanced our teams and grown our revenues. Our effectiveness has been recognised in awards across disciplines including integrated strategy, data, econometrics, digital and paid-search.
But we remain a work in progress. Hence we will maintain the strategy we adopted this year. Stay positive and be thankful; be completely obsessed with our people, our clients and our partners; take a human approach to every question; focus on the things we can affect; and work as hard as possible whilst ensuring we look after each other.
Here’s hoping it’s successful, and good luck to everyone in 2021.
Building upon the learnings of 2020
Dominic Carter, group chief commercial officer, News UK
It’s been an interesting year, but I believe that the pandemic has strengthened our business because it has created a shared sense of urgency to accelerate our transformation. The need to adapt to the changing environment has meant innovation and commitment has been at the forefront of our strategy throughout the year, and this will be continued as we ensure that we successfully advance our business into the future.
2020 has highlighted that our pre-pandemic plans were all pointing in the right direction and I feel we are in a strong place. As we continue to build on the learnings, launches and investments from this year, I’m feeling confident that we have the right strategies in place for success next year.
But nothing happens without hard work and having a great team in the business, so part of what we will be doing next year is building on our D&I strategy that we launched this year.
Our diversity and inclusion strategy will be a key focus across our business portfolio. It’s something we’ve already begun driving forward and we’re making positive steps in the right direction. This year we’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes internally as we focus on recruitment and retention, and developing our future leaders.
We also successfully launched Studio Pi, our independent photography and illustration agency designed to champion underrepresented talent from diverse backgrounds and ensure that we get them a seat at the table within the media and creative industries.
So in short, I'm feeling positive about the year ahead.
2021: The year for breaking legacy operating models
Patrick Affleck, CEO, Havas Media Group
2020 has exposed multiple fragilities in our industry, and now it’s time to focus on what really matters to deliver more meaningful outcomes for our clients, particularly as purse strings are tightened but expectations for growth aren’t.
The rising need for digital transformation has been accelerated by the pandemic and the resultant and rapid sea-change in consumer and business behaviour, particularly in relation to ecommerce. In the face of these constantly shifting market and behavioural conditions, agencies will need to get better at mobilising new strategic task forces that unite media, creative, data science and engineering skillsets to solve client challenges. Teams that are smaller, faster and more diverse in nature, who are able to circumvent any obstacle that might impede delivery.
Most importantly, they will need to be 100% aligned around the right KPIs to deliver against a client’s business goals and will be funded by value-based compensation, enabling the agency to switch in and out different expertise along the way.
Increasingly, these agile taskforces should be enabled by cloud-based infrastructure which accelerates the pace of everything from insights and modelling through to reporting and NPD for brands. In turn, we will be able to realise outcomes in a fraction of the time, which will give rise to new products that improve both efficiency and effectiveness.
Take Creative-X as an example, which was born out of some afternoon spitballing between some of our media practitioners, data scientists and cloud engineers. It uses machine learning to identify, against millions of campaign events and thousands of creative components, what the most effective creative will be for delivering a desired outcome for a given audience.
So 2021 should be the year for breaking our industry's legacy operating models, and refocusing on how we deliver the best outcomes for our clients.
Rebuilding trust in advertising
Keith Weed, president, Advertising Association
Looking ahead to 2021, we need to work harder than ever to recover from the huge impact and challenges of the past year and continue to rebuild our relationship of trust with the consumer.
The past year has shown ever more clearly just how much trust is the thread that binds together our work. Covid-19 demonstrated how vital our work is in sharing messages with the public and our colleagues went above and beyond to help address the impact of the pandemic when needed.
But rebuilding public trust in advertising goes far beyond the pandemic, it is also a feature of issues such as inclusion and climate action that will be central to our industry’s strategy for success in 2021. A key part of building trust among people is for them to see themselves reflected in the advertising we create, ensuring they feel included in all the work we do and in the make-up of our workforce.
Similarly, the public also needs to know that we fully understand our role in safeguarding the environment and being a positive and responsible force in tackling the climate emergency.
It’s clear we are strongest when we work together as an industry and we have the biggest impact when we have a clear focus on the most important issues facing us all. Rebuilding the trust of the public for our industry and the work we do remains a must for us all – everything we do impacts on how the public trusts us and our advertising.