Video: Brian Lesser Explains GroupM and His Future Vision

By Jack Myers Legends & Leaders Archives

Brian Lesser has been with WPP now for ten years and while he may be new to the media agency world proper, he is certainly not new to WPP nor to GroupM.  He joined WPP in 2007 when the company acquired 24/7, which has evolved into Xaxis, and last year Brian shifted to GroupM as North American CEO.  In my exclusive Legends & Leaders Video Interview Series, In the excerpts below, Brian shares insights into the past, present and future of GroupM. Go here to watch interviews with GroupM's Irwin Gotlieb, Rob Norman, Phil Cowdell and Lee Doyle, plus other senior industry executives.

LESSER: How do we make sure that GroupM is not a holding company that sits above six media agencies and another six specialty companies? But how do we make sure that GroupM is a platform that sits beneath those companies and provides them with the tools and the resources and the technologies and the data that they need to be brilliant with clients. And so, that's my role now is to build that platform for GroupM.

LESSER: All media will eventually be digital and all digital media will eventually be addressable and all addressable media will eventually be traded programmatically. It is becoming more addressable in the sense that we've never had more data available to us for any channel. So, even if you look at traditional broadcast television, you'll see many of our media partners; and, in fact, GroupM, within our own four walls doing more around using data to define audiences. And then choosing impressions based on those audiences rather than based on some third-party, artificial definition of the audience we should be reaching. That trend will continue and our technology will get better and our data will get better. Watch Brian's full interview here.

LESSER: If I were at any kind of media company, my focus would be to know my audience. I mean really know my audience. What their behaviors are. What their likes and dislikes are. And to hone that audience and to make sure that we have enough information to understand the audience.

The first step for our media vendor partners is to really understand that audience and then develop lots of content to, to continue to attract that audience and cultivate that loyalty because those are very, very valuable partners to us. Watch Brian's full interview here.

If you look at a company like Vice or Refinery29 or even BuzzFeed …. you wouldn't think of them as traditional media companies. But what they've done is they know their audience incredibly well. They develop great content to attract the audience. And then they make distribution of the content ubiquitous so that we can find those audiences in lots of different places.

LESSER: The fact of the matter is it's harder than ever for our clients to have an ongoing conversation with their consumers because of the proliferation of channels and devices and all the rest. So we are more reliant on data and technology to make those connections between our clients and the content that the consumers are consuming. That's not to say that relationships aren't important. But I think that those relationships have to be grounded in a mutual understanding of the information that we have on the value of every impression. So, that when we sit down with a media vendor, we're talking the same language.

View the full Legends & Leaders interview with Brian Lesser here.

Click to Watch:

Video: GroupM's Irwin Gotlieb on the Future of Media and Advertising

Video: GroupM's Rob Norman on Creative, Premium Inventory, Snapchat and More

Video: Brian Lesser Explains GroupM and His Future Vision

Video: Phil Cowdell Explains [M]PLATFORM and His Relationship with Lyle Schwartz

Video: GroupM's Lee Doyle on Relationships with Media Partners

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