Founded in 2001 by The Institute, Internetics is the first Romanian branding, marketing and online advertising festival. Mark Jackson (Chief Technology Catalyst EMEA, McCann Worldgroup) serves as President of the Jury composed of 26 online marketing specialists.
Since we're not exactly surrounded by Technology Catalysts in Romania (yet), we started our set of questions asking him to briefly describe this position, which he's occupied for about 4 years now.
Chief Technology Analyst EMEA at McCann Worldgroup
The job involves two key areas. The first is helping our clients understand the impact that technology is having on their business (and the way they can now identify and communicate to their consumers) and then how to develop a road map both for now and into the future. The second is then how this changes us as an agency network and how we build for being able to meet this capability with enhancements to skillets, partnerships and knowledge.
Technology & Communication
One thing I often say to clients, at events or when doing presentations, is just what an amazing time in history it is to be doing what we are doing. The reason is because of disruption, not only because of the disruption that technology is having by forcing change on agencies and how they do business, but also fundamentally to business in general.
It has forced everyone to re-evaluate the old way off doing things and redefined whole industries. So much so that communication and business process have now more materially become combined. For example just look at how quickly you can now go from searching to buying a product and how seamless this transition is becoming. In an age of declining attention and the busyness of life brands are now really having to re-define their value and how this is represented and experienced.
Technology & communication groups
Really large communication groups built themselves on scale as brands started to look outside of their country of origin and think beyond borders. At a time when there were very few scale options these groups were a great solution.
Now, as the world itself has become smaller due to unprecedented access brought about from technology, large communication groups are trying to re-evaluate what they do, and many are struggling to stay relevant because their foundations were created to support a way of doing things that is no longer valid.
If you look at the way media has evolved in the last few years from programmatic ad buying and a move to native advertising as a more authentic form of advertising to consumers, there are now new 'non-agency' companies who are offering clients greater efficiency and more transparency on costs, effectively disintermediating the agency model and with it challenging what we should represent. This, I think, is a good thing as it gets us back to being more creative and makes us re-think where the value really lies.
Can an idea be born out of sheer technical possibilities in sending messages or generating interaction?
An interesting question. There is a great quote by Pablo Picasso which is a great answer to this: "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." Whilst I passionately believe in the power of technology to transform I do believe that this is only as a result of understanding that its true power lies in being an enabler of something.
The true test of whether it is working is how it helps remove constraints and barriers. So, really it is in the exploration of the questions and then working out how to link this to technology that great ideas can be formed.
What campaigns [in which the technological dimension was essential] have you worked on so far?
Working with our team on the Chevrolet Captiva #lifetest campaign which was working with YouTube content creators who were given the car for two days and were asked to film their exploits. This was one of the first projects in Europe looking to work with content creators on a European scale.
The Romanian digital communication industry
With my role, I have had the great opportunity to be exposed to a lot of fantastic work across the world and also to the markets. What I have found is that often the perception of ‘growing/emerging’ markets is actually driven by assumption rather than reality.
Whilst many in our industry look to creative and business hubs such as the UK, Spain, France or Germany actually when you look at it, some of our most awarded and exciting work in coming from countries like Romania.
Something we are now seeing in our business is that growth and future models are actually being driven from our Romanian agency and we are actively creating hubs of amazing quality. This is only possible if there is the quality there in the first place. Its an exciting time.