AdWeek Europe: The Digital Economy Demands Hunger And Optimism From Brands

Embracing change was a key theme of the session on “Transforming Brands In The Digital Economy.”

AdWeek Europe: The Digital Economy Demands Hunger And Optimism From Brands

Brands need to be hungry and optimistic to take advantage of technological change. They need to be open, they need to test and learn, and they need to commit to the changes that need to be made.

That was the advice from Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA, Facebook; Matt Brittin, president of EMEA business & operations for Google; and Nigel Morris, CEO Americas & EMEA, Dentsu Aegis Network on the opening day of Advertising Week Europe in London.

Speaking in a session on “Transforming Brands in the Digital Economy,” Mendelsohn argued that we’re in the middle of a revolution, and like all revolutions, people can find it frightening.

“People worry that there will be no new jobs and that the machines will take over, but that’s not true,” she said. “You have to choose whether you’re going to move towards fear, or whether you choose hope and optimism, and embrace the changes.

“There’s so much change that it can feel like an avalanche, but you have to be hungry, you have to, otherwise you’ll be left on the beach when everyone else is off in a speedboat.”

Brittin’s view was that much of the technology we’re seeing now has been around for a while, but adoption and understanding have been hindered by existing industry structures and by old ways of thinking and talking.

“I was in Prague recently, and there they’re trying to protect the future from the past,” he said. “In western Europe, I feel we tend to try to protect the past from the future. It’s up to us to demonstrate we can put all this technology to use for hope and democracy.”

And all three speakers pointed to small businesses of all kinds as great places to look for creativity in the use of technology.

“Every business is now a digital business,” Brittin said. “I see great creativity in small businesses everywhere; they’re the people who are embracing this faster than everyone else.”

Morris agreed. “Small businesses are a great place to look for creativity around new business models. The rules of the economy have changed and we need to break the rules of business. We need to see what needs to be changed and then commit to making that change.”