Media leaders must keep focus on the ‘big picture’, say Maxus and ZenithOptimedia bosses | M&M Global

Media leaders must keep focus on the ‘big picture’, say Maxus and ZenithOptimedia bosses

The media agency leader of the future must be collaborative and able to keep focus on the “big picture” amidst the growing need for specialisation, according to Maxus’ and ZenithOptimedia’’s global bosses.

Lindsay Pattison & John Taylor

Delegates at the Festival of Media Global in Rome heard Maxus chief executive Lindsay Pattison and ZenithOptimedia global chairman John Taylor address the question, ‘What does the future media agency look like?’

Taylor said the industry was “unrecognisable” from his early career, with media returning to the top table, albeit with a raft of new skills required. However, this is a reason for enthusiasm: “When I started in media, we were buyers, negotiators – described as 19-year-old gorillas with calculators.

“We now have jobs that are unrecognisable. You need to learn really fast. You wake up and you feel like you know less than you did before, but if you have a focus on how it will add value then it’s great. I know people staying in media because it is more interesting than it was before.”

Pattison observed the lack of female leaders taking to the Festival of Media Global stage, and implored the industry to embrace diversity, stating, “I may be female, but I’m white, so where is the rest of the diversity?”

She added that, in this increasingly volatile commercial environment, media agency leaders must become “comfortable” with what they do not fully understand, bringing together the right team.

“Having a strategic leader in the centre is critical,” said Pattison. “If you have ineffective people, you can have the best technology in the world and your advertising will still be ineffective.”

“I would say surround yourself with the right people. You have to assimilate huge amounts of information in incredibly short spaces of time. The job of a leader is to put together the right team.”

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