On our continued journey of building the discipline around Account Based Advertising and to get better understanding about how digital, media, agencies and B2B clients are shaping the future, Accountinsight interviews some of the sharpest minds in our industry.
This week we have Chris Hirst is Global CEO of Havas Creative – a multi-disciplinary marketing services group.
After a decade in CEO positions, he has a proven track record of leading transformation.
He believes in the principles of an open culture – where people are given permission to take risks and make mistakes.
He is actively engaged in broadening the appeal of the advertising industry and sees diversity and social mobility as key factors in the future health of the creative industries.
His book, No Bullsh*t Leadership was the Business Book Awards Winner for 2020
If you’re interested in:
The media and advertising landscape today
The holding companies
What B2B clients ask for in pitches today
Diversity in the industry
This is the podcast for you
Enjoy the chat!
What defines a leader?
Hirst defines a leader as anybody responsible for people, even if it’s only two. Many in these positions don’t think of themselves as leadership material and therefore don’t fulfil their potential. “We need better leaders everywhere,” says Hirst, who also shares that leadership is about change. “You need to know clearly where you are, and where you’re trying to get to. Leadership is the journey between the two points.”
Leadership as an equation could be defined as clarity multiplied by action. No matter how brilliant your thinking, leadership needs action and decision making.
It’s important that agencies realise that they need to lead the way for their clients. They also need to position themselves as leaders in their industry. Agencies worry about getting it wrong, but Hirst says to practice acceptance of risks and mistakes. Don’t over complicate, rather over communicate.
Being an agency that brands want to work with
Brands choose agencies based on their connection with the company and the people working there. It often ends up being about people – which agency has the better people and better culture to suit a brand’s needs at that time. To achieve this, Hirst believes that an agency needs diversity in order to show up and be relevant.
This means having a strategy around recruitment. It’s important to ask, ‘are we on a diverse selection of people’s radar?’ and ‘are we a place where people feel they can belong?’ Measure who is approaching the company, who is being interviewed, hired and promoted to determine if you are indeed embracing diversity, shares Hirst.
What about the pitch?
Winning clients over is always going to be about the pitch. An agency needs to nail this in order to represent a brand. According to Hirst, the need for customer engagement and digital transformation is a big focus of pitches in the new business context, with the question ‘can you help me transform my business?’
Hirst says the other big focus is integrated pitches, where clients share all they offer in marketing, or what they think they should. Businesses feel they need to relook at everything. Efficiency and effectiveness is what brands want from an agency.
B2B clients are looking for a place to call home – an agency where there are honest conversations, laughter, serious brainstorming and people who just get it. Achieving that status means being a leader – being able to make the difficult decisions and being a place of reassurance for B2B brands.
Being a leader means having the right platform and solutions, everything from Account-Based Advertising to building brand awareness. Get in touch to learn more about AccountInsight, or book a demo with us.