TOKYO: The relationship between client and agency must evolve as the marketing landscape does, according to a senior executive at automotive manufacturer Nissan.

Roel de Vries, Global Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Nissan, believes that as the entire marketing industry is being disrupted, marketers must adapt their agency relationship too. Across its agency portfolio, around 1600 people work on Nissan’s accounts, he revealed. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Nissan’s philosophy on agency-client partnerships)

“This is what we live every single day. The traditional models are being disrupted. Mobile is a majority of where people go for their media. Data-driven approaches are happening everywhere and, more and more, the customer is in charge,” de Vries said at the World Federation of Advertisers conference in Tokyo recently.

“The majority of what we do as an industry is still relatively traditional. The majority of the targeting that we do in media is based on demographics and very little on typographics, but we know that these traditional models are disrupted,” he said.

De Vries called on advertising agencies – which he called “a very fundamental part of what we do” – and clients alike to embrace a genuine partnership, rather than a back-and-forward. He emphasised that chopping and changing agencies every few years is not always that answer, as brands partnerships and knowledge are lost, but change is possible.

“We cannot stay in this principle that "I will give you a brief, I will wait for two weeks, and you will come back." We need to jointly say what are we trying to achieve together and how are we going to do it,” he said.

“We can fix it and we need to fix it, but we need a big shift. We need to change our models. We need to go deep… This is a big change. We need to really sit with our partners inside our companies, but also with our agencies, and look each other in the eye and say, "Okay. How are we going to build in your market? How are we going to create something that can truly do this one-on-one thing at scale?”

Sourced from WARC