Video: UM's Kasha Cacy on the Merging of Creative & Media

By Jack Myers Leadership Conversations Archives
Cover image for  article: Video: UM's Kasha Cacy on the Merging of Creative & Media

Kasha Cacy is U.S. CEO for UM, a media agency within the IPG Mediabrands organization. Before joining IPG almost a decade ago, Kasha spent time working at a creative agency, Ogilvy; a direct response agency, Wunderman; and she began her career at Accenture as "one of the original girls who code," as she describes it.  At Accenture, she joined the change management practice, so her early work understanding the dynamics of change have served her well. As part of the Leaders & Legends Video Interview Series, I recently spoke to Kasha about change in the media, advertising and marketing businesses, her role, and her vision for the future. Below are examples of Kasha's comments. Watch her full video interview above and go here to view our full Legends & Leaders Video Interview Series.

CACY: [Change management] was an idea that Accenture, to some degree, invented, because they were implementing these massive changes via technology and realized there were people components that needed to be addressed along with the technology. So they developed this practice in order to help with those people components. As we look at what's happening in our industry, a lot of the stuff that I did in my early career has been really helpful in managing through what we're going through right now.

CACY: You know, I think a lot has happened over the past five, 10 years. Technology has come into play. Data has come into play. I was actually just talking to somebody today, and we've almost gotten to the point where the technology and data have gone beyond where people can comprehend it and know what to do with it. So, I think we need more people who are data analysts, data technicians, people who understand that data.  Watch the full interview with Kasha here.

CACY: I think we are very siloed as an industry right now. We have data capabilities in places. Even within our media partners, they have a data department that does that kind of work. At most agencies, they have a separate unit or a separate agency that does that. Where my focus is, is how do you bring that all together? Because I'm a real believer [that] magic happens when you bring different points of view together. And what I've seen is when you combine people who understand data with people who understand a platform with a creative person and a media planner, it's super hard at first and they don't exactly know how to work together and there's a lot of work you have to do to get them to understand each other. But if you can overcome that initial hurdle, really amazing things come out of that. So the change in our industry, I think, is how do you bring all these different points of view together and get them working together?

CACY: Getting that evolution to happen against the pressures of cost is a challenge that I think is a big one that we're dealing with at this moment in time ... One of the things that is frustrating for me in the industry right now is there's a lot of adversarial relationships in the industry and there's a lot of lack of trust. As I think about where we need to go as an industry, I think we need to spend some time fixing that as an issue.

CACY: The way that we think about programming needs to change. Where the networks need to think about going is less about the seven-day-a-week schedule, the primetime schedule, having a show run every week and thinking about how do you serialize things in a different way. How do you reinvent live programming? Their competition is Netflix, who releases House of Cards on a day and people watch that for three days straight. Do networks think they serialize in that way?

CACY: As I think about a media plan, we think about video very holistically. You need to think about video in different ways. So there's video that's going to be big, innovative, where you're going to make a big impact as a brand, and then there's video that you're going to use to keep the brand top of mind and you'll use different types of programming, different types of networks for different things. But I think they're all part of a video mix.

CACY: I dream of a time when the client asked us what did we get for the dollar we spent on NBC, that I can tell them this is what you got for that dollar on NBC and we can manage that investment in that specific and deliberate a way because we understand those linkages. If you're a media partner who is not performing, you need to know that and you need to know why and then you need to be able to improve. Watch the full interview with Kasha here.

CACY: I think the whole industry has done a real disservice to itself in the programmatic space.

CACY: In addition to work and family, I'm really passionate about children's education.  We need a revamp of the education system in this country. I know for my industry what I need, we aren't necessarily preparing kids to do.  I think it would behoove all of us in this country to take a good hard look at our education system and what it needs to be in the future.

View the full interview with Kasha Cacy here and view all our Legends & Leaders Interview Series here.

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