IAB Leadership Summit 2017: ‘Our success as leaders is in finding the modern minds’

IAB UK Chairman Richard Eyre kicked off proceedings at our second Leadership Summit by reflecting on the exponential growth as well as the competitive nature of our industry.

See the highlights from the morning of Day Two

See the highlights from the afternoon of Day Two

While disruption inevitably brings challenges - especially in a market which is ‘out in front’ - there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss the key issues and work out ways forward at this jam-packed two-day event, he said.

Henry Rowe, Managing Director at Theorem, then took to the stage, to explore what success might look like in 2020, with an insightful analysis of today’s media buying and selling landscape.

He highlighted trends such as the rise of partnerships and alliances; the continued calls for ‘accurate, informative and convincing’ measurement; innovation in search and ad formats; the rise of telcos, data usage and ownership; and the fusion of data with CRM.

“An ability to measure, and ownership of customer data are key,” he told delegates.

Next up, Pete Cory, Agency Director at Google, stood alongside Candice Juniper, Head of Social & Emerging Platforms at AMV BBDO. They spoke of a year-long study they conducted which involved experimenting with ad formats for PepsiCo, BT and Hewlett Packard to establish the importance of ‘made-for-platform’ creative vs. running TV spots online.

In the session Cory shared some of the latest trends in digital video. "Digital video is growing at a rapid pace, and people are shifting their viewing to mobile devices". He used the example that 70% of YouTube watchtime in the UK is now occurring on mobile devices.

They spoke of the need to break the mould of placing TV copy in these new digital environments, and to "honour this new value exchange" where people have more control over how they want to engage in video content. Juniper shared the learnings that that their digital ads followed a different "narrative arc", maximising the impact of the first five seconds, taking time to tell an involving story, and ending on a high, with the offer of more content.

Next up, Chad Warner, Integrated Creative Director at McCann London, made a passionate plea for the industry to embrace the range of new formats and platforms available today.

“It’s has always been about integrated, creative thinking,” he said - pointing, by way of example, to some hugely successful campaigns by McCann London, such as work for Microsoft Xbox last year which involved a so-called ‘Survival billboard’ which pitched real-life individuals against each other as they faced the elements for up to 22 hours in order to win a trip inspired by Tomb Raider.

This campaign turned a traditional advertising format into a fully integrated communication piece as well as an element of entertainment, winning 50m earned media impressions and 165 awards in the process.

But Warner also warned that: “modern advertising has a big leadership problem”. That our leadership today needs to not only understand and care far more about the modern culture, channels and formats, but seek out the people in their organisations that are naturally passionate about them already.

As such, he urged those present to “find people that care about formats and promote them.”

“Our success as leaders is in finding and empowering the modern minds in our agencies… the people who are not fighting against Snapchat, but who are on it. If we don’t, we will not be the modern leaders this industry needs” he said.

Last but certainly not least, Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Fandom and founder of Wikipedia, took to the stage. Describing fans as the most passionate, connected consumers, he emphasised the importance of putting the community at the centre of the Fandom experience, and giving it control.

“We provide audiences with the tools to express themselves,” he said, before warning, too, that authenticity is ‘extremely important to millennial and post-millennial audiences’.

Wales is particularly excited by the ongoing growth of mobile. Echoing Richard Eyre’s earlier comments about growth coming hand-in-hand with both challenges and opportunities, he argued that, while the exponential growth of mobile in particular may involve a ‘rough and tumble ride’ for a period, the opportunities are doubtless ‘huge’.

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