Almost 12 months to the day after Group M merged its MEC and Maxus agencies, the combined entity finds itself starting up just as everyone talks about the prospect of the sun setting on ad agencies.

But Wavemaker, which started up in September, is responding to the talk of agency disintermediation with a clear plan.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, its global chief client officer Aaron Smith says he sees his organisation’s role as “future-maker”, and sets out what different qualities agencies like his must bring to the table in 2018 and beyond:

  • Proactivity
  • Orchestrating talent
  • Great storytelling

“We have to evolve to be much more proactive consultants to our clients,” Smith says. “Rather than responding to briefs and reacting to questions that our clients have, we have to go to clients with strong recommendations and points of view around how they can build the strategy for the future and what’s that roadmap look like, as opposed to waiting for them to ask us questions.

Last year, Wavemaker parent GroupM launched [m]Platform, a “suite” that comprises data analytics, audience insights, data scientists, technologists from across other GroupM divisions, and in to it wrapped Xaxis, its programmatic and data-driven ad unit.

That’s one part of a strategy Smith says is all about enabling brands to build the future.

But what does it mean to be a “future-maker”?

“It’s about bringing bold transformative ideas to clients, that can help their brands break through the clutter,” Smith adds.

“It entails really coming up with creative, innovative, transformative ideas and packaging those ideas up into compelling stories that our clients can buy into. Ultimately, we then translate into different consumer communications and experiences.”

This video is part of a leadership series presented by Wavemaker, the GroupM media agency formed by the merger of MEC and Maxus. Please find additional segments from the series here.