WRG’s new CEO Russ Lidstone, former chief executive at advertising firm Havas Worldwide, spoke to C&IT about what he wants to achieve in the new role. Here are five things to know about him:
1. He thinks the walls between the different disciplines of marketing communications are coming down
"I’ve spent a significant chunk of my career in advertising, brand building and strategy," said Lidstone. "I didn’t necessarily want to go back into advertising, but what I wanted to do was work in a similar, parallel industry, in a people business and in an agency. Events is an area where I think communications is heading. I know that the walls are coming down between the different disciplines of marketing communications, and that in most campaigns it’s quite hard to define whether they are advertising, PR or social media campaigns; more often they are all of those things.
2. He believes that events are coming to the forefront of marketing
"The work I’ve been involved with agency side has demonstrated that clients are increasingly keen to create events and experiences that they can then amplify through other communications, be it advertising, social media, digital etc. I believe that experiential and events are becoming more important at the heart of marketing communications, and I think it’s where a lot of creativity and opportunity resides. Lots of studies, including the IPA Bellwether, have demonstrated that there is a shift from a marketing point of view, with budget moving into events and experiential.
3. He’ll be travelling a lot in the near future
"My first objective is to listen to our clients and spend time with them. I also want to spend a lot of time with the agencies and understand the strength of our network. That’s why I’ll be travelling to our Hong Kong and Philadelphia offices in the next couple of weeks and why I’ll be basing myself in both our London and Manchester offices.
4. His longer-term plan is to strengthen WRG’s place in the heart of multi-communcations
"I come from a strategic background – at Havas I was able to integrate a PR business, deal with the social capability, build a search capability and develop a channel strategy capability. I’m not saying that’s what I would do at WRG, but I think our place in the heart of multi-communications will get even stronger. My job is to help build a profile, help strengthen our relationships with clients, and to look at business development and growth, while thinking strategically about what competencies or capabilities will enhance our proposition."
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