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What I learned at #Transform2011

By David MatathiaFirst off, kudos and thanks to the folks at the 4As for hosting this years’ event in Austin. I appreciate the proximity – just please let me know to whom I can send the expense for the parking ticket…

There have been an impressive array of speakers over the conference days – including my boss (who was eloquent and came across a scholar and true gentleman if I do say so).

I entered the sessions excited and enthused for insight and perhaps more importantly, foresight into what our future holds.

Here is my summary:

– The path to winning (Sheen!) is through deep, intense, long-term client-agency relationships OR project-based mass collaboration
– Communications planning should be the responsibility of the media agency OR the ad agency OR the PR group OR the social agency
– Celebrities are critical to dictating trends and conversations OR their role is to validate them
– The ideal agency of the future is digital and small OR scalable and media-agnostic

Clear. As. Mud.

Here’s the real point. Anyone who says they know or understand the future of our business or the ‘ideal’ is full of $hit. The beauty of a conference like this is the collision of differing opinions – the true answer lies somewhere in the mix of them all. The only thing we know for sure is that change is abundant and swift. Given this, there are only a few things upon which we can rely…

At GSD&M, we believe in building our clients’ business on Purpose. The idea that before there was shareholder value there was a reason something came to be. That at the outset, that product, brand our service set out to make a difference in its customers lives. Additionally, there were a series of values that established how that company would behave.

I believe in the importance of Purpose and values because amidst all the change, we need something that remains constant. Choices will continue to proliferate and our customers will take greater control but together with our partners, we can protect and control Purpose. It’s inherently customer-centric and a commitment to it is a commitment to engaging on the most intimate level.

To us, the path to success is driving Purpose through every channel available – it goes well beyond marketing into the fabric of the organization – a theme we heard repeatedly throughout Transformation 2011.

Again, I want to thank the 4As for organizing this years’ event and all they do on behalf of our industry. And, I hope everyone enjoyed our city.

It’s a thrilling and maddening time to be in the communications business. As things swirl out of control around us, it’s nice to have a home to return to. We find that home in the values and Purpose we help identify for our partners.

Here’s to wishing you all a bit more constant in the future.

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