MIAMI-There’s lots of talk about the challenges facing advertising and media agencies, among them a very competitive recruitment market, diversity and inclusion. And then there is the actual value that agencies bring to the table.
“There’s a lot of negative narrative out there about what’s going wrong for agencies,” says Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO of the 4A’s, long known as the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
But, Kaplowitz adds in this interview with Beet.TV at the organization’s annual Accelerate conference, “What about the client of the future? What does that look like?”
She cites comments made at the conference by Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun, who shared a stage with Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard and Grey New York CEO Debby Reiner to discuss client-agency relations.
“One of the things I was happy to hear Arthur Sadoun talk about today is there’s so much focus on the agency of the future, which we think of more as the agency of today and tomorrow because agencies are constantly evolving and have that entrepreneurial spirit,” Kaplowitz says.
As Campaign reports, Sadoun questioned the role marketers need to play when he noted, “Every client is talking about growth, but there’s no growth unless you have strong partners.”
Says Kaplowitz, “What is the responsibility of marketers to really understand the intersection of data and creativity and technology and connecting with consumers and how you deliver that in those brand experiences?”
On the personnel front, the 4A’s has for nearly 50 years offered a multicultural intern program for its agency members. “But what’s clear is that we haven’t focused enough on the inclusion side. And that’s where you’re going to start to see some change. It’s really about action and no more talk. There’s enough talk at this point.”
To this end, the 4A’s recently launched the Enlightened Workplace Certification Program aimed at creating safe and productive work environments that create cultures of inclusion, equity, creative dialogue and social transformation. “The intent is to support agencies in eliminating discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation and retaliation,” according to a release announcing the program.
The 4A’s is working with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a nonprofit that facilitates the development of standards by accrediting the procedures of standards-developing organizations.
In addition, the 4A’s is a supporter of the TIME’S UP movement, “which we believe is a fantastic way to really have the dialogue but also really push forward in a very positive way and in a very inclusive way,” says Kaplowitz.
This video is part of a series titled The Road to the Digital Content NewFronts. It is a preview of topics to be explored at IAB’s NewFronts, which begin on April 30. This series is presented by Meredith Corporation. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.