A generation pushing for change | M&M Global

A generation pushing for change

Chris Behrens, Global Music Data Alliance project manager at Havas Media Group, was named as one of M&M Global’s influential under-30s. He discusses how his generation working in media is driving change.

Chris Behrens

Last week, M&M Global brought together media’s most influential under 30s for an evening of networking fun and fizz.

There’s something inspiring about being in the same room with other millennials working in today’s media. We all have a unique take on how we’d like to shape the future of our industry and where the focus of our client’s media spend and content strategies should lie.

Havas is an agency with an inspirational chairman and CEO who understands how my generation thinks. He relates to non-traditional media innovation and instills a change orientated culture throughout the company, which helps attract and keep young talent.

We have a programme called Havas Lofts, which allows employees to work from other countries and offices in order to gain experience and learn new ways of working. The culture at Havas in the UK, where I am based as part of the global team, is really progressive and sometimes feels like a start-up.

Being able to sit next and talk with directors and senior management on a day-to-day basis is a great way to learn and grow. I work with inspiring young people, in senior positions, who understand your vision and help to make these ideas reality.

It’s young talent that is pushing new ideas to the fore across the wider agency world. We’re part of the generation that is re-imagining advertising for the skip generation and we’re driving change as much as change is driving our industry.

Passion for music

In our business, my background heading up the PR and promotions for Warner Music South Africa and a life-long passion for music has led me to delve deeper into audience and fan behavioural analysis. As a result, we’ve helped brands to start looking at music as a media channel in its own right, capable of reaching a young centennial and millennial audience that may not necessarily engage with linear TV, but who certainly still watch a lot of YouTube and MTV.

The journey we started a year ago by forming the Global Music Data Alliance with Universal Music Group was one of authentic discovery. It led us to understand that if we can use music data to programmatically target fans based on their online behaviours, then brands can serve them personalised content that’s welcomed rather than intrusive.

Plus, if artists have a better analysed understanding of their fan base, in terms of where they’re located, what devices they use, what networks they’re on etc, they too can then serve them content, that’s ultimately a better fit.

“We can not only buy against fan behaviours, we can also place brands right at the heart of the right music experience”

In the past year, ad blocking has grown to become a serious challenge, so better targeted content through collaborative partnerships has become a key way to ensure the right messages are reaching the right audience

With music, however, I know that we can go further still. By combining creative technology such as virtual and augmented reality with music audience data, we can not only buy against fan behaviours, we can also place brands right at the heart of the right music experience.

360-degrees and VR-enabled native targeted content, which enhances the fan’s engagement with music, is a creative orchard that’s now ripe for the picking.

With the rise in VR-enabled video, driven by the increased appeal of smartphone-powered devices such as Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear, along with platforms such as Facebook and YouTube now offering 360˚ viewing capabilities, deeper visual immersion in concerts, music videos, behind-the-scenes of tours etc offers exciting media potential for brands.

It’s this type of content revolution that the young talent at Havas is focused on. It’s a great time to be a part of it.

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