Dominique Delport is the Chief Executive Officer for Havas Media, a group of global media companies whose client brands won over 130 industry awards in 2011—including 9 Cannes Lions. On the eve of the event he will be involved with in relation to this year’s Cannes Lions Festival, PSFK spoke with Dominique Delport on harnessing a brand’s challenger spirit.
Dominique, you’re back in Cannes. How do you think the industry has changed? over the last 12 months
As our worldwide client Hyundai puts it, with an incredible business success: “New thinking, new possibilities.” I think that all the industry, clients, agencies, partners understand that it’s time for change. Not only because of never ending crisis or technology but because media fragmentation and old recipes don’t work well together. We need new formulas. More transparency, collaborative processes, consistency…the good news is as boundaries blur, opportunities are bigger than ever for the ones that will provide the most relevant vision and deliver the most seamless work, reaching marketing, CSR or organizational issues within advertisers companies.
What work at Havas reflects how your company is evolving to meet these changes?
Havas is the smallest among the big players ( 5th largest communication group with 2 main leading networks, EuroRSCG and Havas media ) but we have, due to that scale an historical advantage we need to catch and leverage : As Vincent Bollore, our chairman, and David Jones, our CEO, incarnate these values: we are agile, we believe in entrepreneurship and innovation and we know how to provide relevant integration if clients asked us for… We believe that tomorrow, these assets will not only be “nice to have” but a key “must have”. We are building that advantage, trying step by step to reinvent our praxis and we have just launched in Paris the “Havas Village” concept which is an Open Village gathering 2,200 professional, agencies, shared entities, broadcast center, digital cafe, and medialab for a unique offer in Europe under the same roof.
You’re giving a talk about ‘Innovation: the answer to crisis’. What is the crisis? And Innovation means different things to different people. How do you define it?
Crisis and innovation are two very loaded words. The former with negative connotations and the latter with sometimes overly optimistic ones.
There is a crisis today at every level of our lives, financial, environmental, political but most of all there is a crisis of confidence. People are worried about the future, about who they can trust. This crisis has permeated into the world of brands. 20 per cent of consumers think brands today have meaning for them.
(Havas Media – Meaningful Brands worldwide survey ) But for all these reasons we need to see the crisis as an opportunity. In fact we should do more than that. We should learn to love it.
Crisis in history has spawned the greatest artists, creations and trends.
This is where innovation comes in. The word originally means change but not for the sake of change for greater good. Why should we do this? StatusQuo still means moving backwards. Ask Nokia! All the greatest thinkers and leaders of our time took a blind leap of faith into the unknown. If you wait for decline before challenging yourself someone else will. It means keeping the challenger spirit even if means challenging yourself. Facebook uploads a new version of its platform every tuesday!
For brands it can be as simple as looking at your assets and using them in a smarter way. Chrysler went back to their roots of Detroit to show the raw power of the brand and also rejuvenate “Motor City” Brand Equity itself.
Innovation can be changing the conversation with consumers if the current one isn’t working. Amex started talking to small businesses to convey a more empathetic and generous side of their brand providing them with 500,000 SB kits ( posters, website tutorials..) . An initiative that became an incredible success approved by US Congress that have decided to make “Small Business Day” an official calendar event.
It can be joining the dots so that every part of the brand experience is consistent and meaningful. Quicksilver is all about beachwear for the ocean. What better way to connect with swimmers and boarders than using the ocean to create power through waves. It was not gimmicks for short term sales rather a long term mission to generate life.
That is brilliant and meaningful, don’t you think ?
Connect with Dominique at the events he will be participating in at this year’s festival: