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DDB chief outlines need for speed

News, 28 March 2017

NEW YORK: Speed is now the "currency of business" for brands and companies when it comes to marketing and other factors like production and distribution, Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB North America, has argued.

Clark discussed this subject during a keynote session at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) 2017 Annual Conference, an event held in New York City.

"The currency of business now is speed. Speed is a horizontal impact for all companies and all brands," she said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: DDB's Wendy Clark outlines the need for speed.)

"It's not just about their communications and their marketing. It's about speed to market through distribution. It's about speed to market through production.

"It's about meeting their consumers in the moment that they want to be engaged with your brand. It's about horizontal impact for our clients."

Working effectively at speed is complicated, however, by the constantly changing contours of the marketing ecosystem. "The days of force feeding in fixed models are over," said Clark.

"We have to meet every one of our clients where they are, and with what their business is, and create solutions for them to [leverage] the variety of capabilities and skills and operating approaches that we have.

"For all brands, it's all the content. It's all the conversations. It's real time. It's 24/7. It's unyielding and it's always changing. The landscape is constantly shifting beneath all of us."

In such circumstances, steadying the present and anticipating the future "becomes incredibly difficult to do exceptionally well," she added, with a need to sift through the information overload in ways that do not stifle creativity.

But the main options for clients and agencies alike, Clark suggested, are either to actively evolve or risk slipping into irrelevance. And DDB has embraced the former idea.

"In 15 months at DDB, I have felt only a pull, never a push. Everyone knows that we have to change, otherwise we will stare down [into] irrelevance. I have felt very, very little resistance to change," Clark said.

"From my own perspective I have felt like potentially that I'm not running fast enough. I just feel like we all need to go faster."

Data sourced from Warc