The 4A’s is talking to some of the most interesting thinkers in the business about what agencies need to do to continue to grow and thrive. In this entry of our 5 Questions for… series, Seth Solomons, CEO-North America Wunderman, weighs in.
1) What’s the biggest challenge or opportunity facing the ad industry right now?
Talent, by far. We are facing extreme challenges from the platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and publishers/content providers (Vice, BuzzFeed, Conde Nast, etc.) who are presenting a modern growth story to today’s marketing and communications talent. Many young, diverse talents are not interested in the “traditional” agency model.
2) What is the single most significant change you need to make in your agency in the next 12 months?
We must continue to build a culture where our talent can learn and grow and, most importantly, thrive. We need to be a place where people feel they can come to do the best work of their careers. We are working hard to create a culture that is “safe” for all but where the bar for work, across all capabilities, is very high. This balance is difficult to achieve but contagious as we get it going. There is a significant positive energy and vibe driving us right now and I’m excited to help take it forward.
3) What products/services/unique skills do ad agencies offer that guarantee the industry’s survival for another 100 years?
We are storytellers at our core. People will always be drawn to stories that connect them to brands and products. More than ever, these stories are about servicing or supporting peoples’ needs and desires, and rewarding experiences that create and deepen bonds.
4) What attributes do you look for in your next generation of leaders/managers?
Good people that are driven to succeed but inside a team environment and culture. Those with solid values and a strong appreciation for the people they work with and for.
5) If you weren’t working in advertising, what would you be doing as a career?
I’d be a coach for people in advertising. I would love to help all levels of talent learn from the lessons I learned. I have a strong point of view about what it takes to succeed in our business and I know how to present my experience in a fun and engaging way that motivates people. My specific areas of focus could be building value-based and trusting client partnerships, storytelling and being a good manager.