At Spikes Asia on Day One, Martin Conneen, regional president, Wunderman Apac, spoke on creative talent at his session ‘Sharing and attracting digital talent’. He discussed some of the activities Wunderman was indulging in to retain its talent and the challenges of recruiting digital talent in a connected and data driven world.
Conneen started by introducing Wunderman as the 'second largest digital network and the second largest CRM network in the world'.
Referring to his 10-year-old who watches YouTube videos to figure how to complete a level on his Xbox game, he said, “So, from an agency and client point-of-view we have to figure how to market to such consumers. If we can combine technology, creative and data, we can certainly influence consumer behaviour. Technology is intertwined with our minds and mobile has certainly changed behaviour. Mobile plays an important role in the connected consumer’s life. Marketers need to connect online and offline for the audience. As a result there are more consumer touch points and hence more data available than before.”
On the increased challenges for marketers, even though the average tenure has increased from 23 months to 45 months, he added, “Marketers are facing organisational change. Then there’s multi-channel RoI to worry about. Insource and outsource (practices) are increasing. Innovations are available, but you need to make them scalable. Then there’s a need to be both global and local.”
Employees have multiple options
Conneen then explained how talent seems to be a big issue in the digital world.
“Employees now have multiple options. People can earn 2,00,000 dollars a year through videos like those (teaching kids to play Xbox). Or can join a start-up. Or can be a start up. So how can we attract digital employees to agencies is the question,” he stated.
Wunderman's ‘Z Academy’, an internship programme, was touched upon next. "We look to hire account executives, project managers, researchers and planners, social media analysts, web developers and designers and data analysts through partnerships with the best schools across the world. We go as a part of the school’s curriculum or just teach. We pay during internships as well. Forty per cent of these interns have moved on to full time employees with the agency. Just recently, someone from the Z Academy in Shanghai grabbed a Bronze win at Cannes,” said Conneen.
Speaking about other programmes for college students and freshers instituted by Wunderman, he noted that these efforts were not just undertaken at the junior level but across. “We look at staff who have high potential and move them around. We’ve done that with quite a few employees,” he added.
Kothandaram Venkatakrishnan, associate director, consumer insights at Wunderman, is one of them. He started off in Delhi with the agency. He was moved to London and then to New York. Conneen felt that if this step hadn't been taken, he would have left the agency four years ago.
Conneen surmised listing two key ‘takeaways’: “It’s always a long term organisational commitment to succeed. Scale your organisation only when you can support it.”