CANNES – Whether it’s marketers catching up, getting head or trying to leapfrog others, the need for transformation is the theme that drives everything, to Shane Ankeney, President, Havas Media Group North America.

“They are looking to us as change agents, as transformation stewards, to help them do that because they realize that it’s very difficult changing their own organization sometimes,” Ankeney says in this interview at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“And sometimes it’s actually easier to do it through the partnership with and the lens of an outside media agency partner. No place like Cannes to inspire that sort of thinking and conversations.”

Being accountable to clients’ business outcomes is “a huge challenge,” but having made transparency and data two priorities has paid admirable dividends to Havas as measured by account wins, according to Ankeney.

“For us, we focus on the meaningful data and the meaningful data is what we hold ourselves accountable to. It’s what supports the business challenges and business objectives of every client and that enables us focus on being accountable to our clients.”

Sometimes it’s a matter of leading clients to transformation. “They know they want it, they know they need it, they know that there’s concern there. Sometimes they need us to help them understand it.”

Others are “very advanced and very knowledgeable and they are pushing us, demanding from us that same thing. Luckily we’re of like minds when we get there so it’s a very easy conversation for us to have.”

With a background at such agencies as J. Walter Thompson, TBWA\Chiat\Day, Carmichael Lynch, Doner and Initiative, Ankeney has roots on the creative side but is more than happy to be engrossed in media.

“I love more focus on media because it means our role is becoming more meaningful with our clients and we can have more meaningful partnerships and relationships with our clients,” he says. “Whether it’s accountability or transformation or you name it, the more focus on media the better as far as I’m concerned.”

This video is part of a series produced by Beet.TV at Cannes Lions 2018 about advertising accountability presented by Mediaocean. Please find more videos from this series here.