The Impact Executives’ Annual Change Leadership Event Summary

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The Impact Executives’ Annual Change Leadership Event Summary

On Wednesday 29th March 2017, Impact Executives hosted their Annual Leadership and Business Change Event at the Soho Hotel.

Christine de Largy, Managing Director, opened the evening by presenting the results of the Annual Change Leadership Survey and discussed the complexity and ever increasing pace of change and innovation and how disruption is affecting markets. Margin pressure has returned as the top business challenge in 2017 (increasing by 2%), however the uncertainty over the global economy rose from has risen from 5% in 2013 to 11% in 2016. You can see the results in our IMPACT Journal which is linked below. Christine introduced the idea of disruption and there is no better person to inspire on the issue of change than Craig Mawdsley who is Joint Chief Strategy Officer at one of the world’s leading advertising agency: AMV BBDO.

The advertising industry has to be the most proactive and reactive industry in relation to disruption and is constantly changing to offer clients the best value. Over the last 10 years, the rise of technology has disrupted the industry and Craig focussed on how the industry has been affected by, reacted to and succeeded in tackling disruption.

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Advertising vs disruption

Craig opened the discussion by stating that advertising is at the ‘eye of the storm’ in terms of the disruption brought about by the internet and rise of social media. The rise of Google and Facebook have disrupted how traditional advertising is perceived, and how traditional advertising has less of a direct impact and wide reach than it used to when the common media platform was television. One programme was watched by almost 18 million in 2010 and today is lucky to see 7 million. Advertising, in theory, should be one of the most effected industries by the rise of social media and other media platforms including Netflix and Google.

Craig also highlighted how Brands are 9th on the most trusted list, below Celebrities, Religious Leaders and surprisingly Journalists. This evidence reiterated the perception that advertising agencies are no longer relevant. But Craig also highlighted that even if the skills were right and the advertising was effective, the individual adverts are getting blocked by Ad Blockers online which stop adverts from being shown on certain sites. Advertising agencies are being disrupted by their own industry as well, agencies such as MOFILM and GENERO offer an ‘Uber’-like service where you only pay for what you use and there is not set fee or contract.

Everything in the advertising world has changed: their outputs, audience, people, competitors and suppliers.

Dealing with disruption

In spite of all the disruption, AMV BBDO and other agencies are still increasing revenues. After all the disruption, his company are still succeeding and their employees are satisfied in their jobs.

Why is this the case?

Craig explained that although his industry has dealt with major disruption, not much has actually changed in how humans think about brands and advertising. He used the example of his daughter organising a cake and book sale to raise money for a rhino charity at her school. After all the focus being on social media and how millennials are social media obsessed, one would assume that the first strategy would be to use social media to advertise the fundraising event. However, Craig showed a poster his daughter made to put up at the school to raise awareness of her cake and book sale highlighting that traditional forms of advertising are still thought of as effective by younger generations.

In addition, Craig said that his day to day activity has not changed, he still follows the same four points: ‘Think. Do. Write. Repeat.’. This is because nothing has actually changed, the functioning brain has not changed and thus the debates are still the same and the value delivered is still the same. Craig noted the importance of not getting distracted, Google and Facebook are new areas for advertising agencies to explore and utilise but traditional adverts on television are still the most effective advertising to reach the widest audience.

In sum

Advertising as an industry is all about change, and being able to react to the continuous change sets the foundations of a successful business. The continuous exposure to change and disruption requires a willingness for continuous learning from everyone in the industry. The example of AMV BBDO highlights that although there has been significant disruption in the advertising industry, if you are willing to learn, willing to be flexible in your approach to business and serve the demand then your business will succeed and grow as a result. Change is ever present in many industries but the human brain is still the same, some disruptions just require a more flexible response to deliver success.

To see the slides from the evening please follow this link





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