What agencies don’t get about brands

Baba Shetty has seen the media world through many lenses. Over the course of his career, he’s served on the agency, brand and publisher side. Now the chief strategy and media officer at DigitasLBi, Shetty believes agencies need to understand what the lives of their clients are really like.

“It’s easy to say they don’t get it,” he said at the Digiday Agency Summit in Palm Springs, Calif. “Clients are incredibly smart, experienced people who understand how decisions get made. It’s how do you get a group of people to say yes, we’re going to go that way.”

At BMW, where Shetty worked from 1993-2000, he saw a shift from an iconic positioning to embracing innovation, first with product placement in the Bond movie franchise and culminating in the breakthrough BMW Films effort.

“The culture changed to innovation,” Shetty said. “The key is this idea of skating to the next thing, to where the puck is going to be rather than where it is.”

Of course, not all clients are BMW, and often leadership at brands isn’t interested (or compensated) to embrace overhauling legacy processes and practices.

“Change is tough,” Shetty said. “Organizations have a way of building up muscle memory and inertia.”

Watch a four-minute clip of Shetty’s talk below.

How to Improve Client Operating Culture from Digiday on Vimeo.


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