The main reason why consulting firms—some of which started in the mundane but essential accounting space—have moved into entertainment and media is that consumers have taken charge. And many marketers have failed to keep up.
“Frankly, the reason why I think consulting is becoming so relevant at this particular moment is this is an industry undergoing tremendous change,” says Janet Balis, who is Global Advisory Lead, Media & Entertainment, at EY. “The consumers are leading and the business model is in catch-up mode in so many cases,” she adds in this interview with Beet.TV.
EY is a case in point in the diversification of professional services firms. Until its official rebranding in 2013, it was known as Ernst & Young, with a pedigree that dates to the 1800’s. Now it competes with the likes of Accenture and a host of other big-name entities that have expanded their consulting offerings in step with the increasing complexity of the advertising and media world.
Balis has a deep background in media, having been Publisher at The Huffington Post, head of sales and marketing at AOL and EVP, Media Sales and Marketing at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She also held positions at Time Inc. and Newsweek.
When she surveys the present terrain, Balis doesn’t focus on the friction that can exist between consultancies and advertising/media agencies, preferring instead to posit that everyone should be working together.
“I certainly recognize that some companies in the professional services space are absolutely and increasingly playing roles that we would consider to be the roles of agencies,” says Balis. “We have taken a distinct position, which is that we want the full ecosystem to thrive.”
Thus EY works with agencies “that we’re privileged to serve and that we believe in. We think that the right answer is not that this is a moment to compete, but this is a moment to collaborate.”
More specifically, the name of the game is to help marketers connect the dots. “The fact is that there are so many places that the dots don’t connect. There are silos in the organization, people working at odds with KPI’s, data sitting in particular silos. In order to connect the dots, that’s the perfect role for a consultant.”
Looking ahead to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Balis discusses EY’s sponsorship of a concept known as “better questions,” which rests on this philosophy: The better the question, the better the answer, the better the world.
“Because this is a moment frankly for intellectual humility. No one has all the answers.”
Given the dynamics of lower linear television viewing amid a sea of video alternatives, giving rise to a lessening of ad loads, “It places more pressure on the business model. It also places more pressure on the creative. It’s really about the stories we tell,” Balis adds. “So Cannes is the perfect place for us to have that dialogue.”
This video is part of The Road to Cannes, a preview series of topics to be addressed at Cannes Lions. The series is presented by FreeWheel, a Comcast company. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.