Thomas Crampton, Ogilvy's Director of Digital Influence, interviews WPP's CEO on the integration of social media in "legacy agencies."

Based in Asia, Thomas Crampton has long been an outspoken leader when it comes to the importance of social media for brands. He caught up with CEO Martin Sorrell during WPP’s Stream Asia event to pick his brain regarding the role of social media in large agencies.

During the interview Martin Sorrell expressed a few key points that illustrate how large agencies position themselves against smaller, more specialized shops:

It permeates everything, regardless of what platform the user is on or what content is being consumed Social media has benefited public relations more than any other field in marketing Teams in large agencies need a go-to social media practice; creative, media, or account ought to have this resource, but it is more important to congregate specialists around clients, rather than teams Social media experts should not be subordinated when they are brought into a traditional agency Large agencies should invest in social media technology; he gives the example of WPP’s investment in Buddy Media Sorrell questioned whether networks will continue to be so open. Given consumer concerns about privacy and clutter, he asks whether the next trend in social media will be towards more restrictive, highly filtered communities.

To build on this, many have imagined that social media will be as common as email in the future. Should social media practice be a skill set that is developed across the agency, or is it more practical to have a dedicated team that ‘owns’ the discipline? Also, what does the future of social media look like? For example, 4chan has made bold assertions, challenging Facebook’s vision. Are Facebook and Twitter able to maintain the quality of user experience as they scale further?

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