Scale vs Influence: Scale is no longer enough

BenCunnington.jpgBen Cunnington, Regional Strategic Director at Vizeum APAC, shares his views on whether scale is no longer enough.

Elon Musk, entrepreneur and investor, sent out one simple tweet a week ago which sent his companies (Tesla) share price up around 4% or around US$900 million in value.

CEO announcements that shift stock price is by no means a revelation but it does highlight a shift in what it takes to have influence in business today. Musk was able to very quickly influence the stock price with just a single social media communication; but why?

Musk has influence not from the fact he has scale (which he has - wealth, share price, followers on Twitter) like many other CEOs, but his influence comes from the fact he is shaping the world we live in and people want to be part of  and buy into his vision.
Nowhere is this becoming more relevant than in the media agency landscape, where the idea of scale alone is no longer enough. We are all seeking more from our partners.

In a not so distant past, media agencies could by right promote what they did by holding large amounts of clients' advertising dollars and through scale, could negotiate the best outcomes for their clients. The world was simpler then, a few key channels and clients wanting to invest with those channels. Scale became a key tool to leverage the right outcome and it no doubt worked.

Let's fast forward to today. For advertisers and their agencies operating in a much more complex world there needs to be a different approach. What we should be looking for are partners with influence to affect change.

Any media agency can get a seat at the table today with a big cheque book but that is not enough. It is about being invited to be part of rethinking, reshaping, reinventing and this happens not just from what you have but because of who you are.

To keep pace with the changing landscape, simple negotiations with the known elements is not enough. We need to be able to have influence to show that we are uncovering the unknowns: better technologies, better ways to communicate, smarter use of investment dollars, new partners and new operating models.

For Vizeum our efforts are focused working side by side with key start-ups as partners to help use change the way we solve client problems, we look to understand the forefront of technology to help us create influence.

So we all need to ask is are we working with partners who just have scale or partners who have influence.

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