Charles Courtier, Chief executive officer

Report by Charles Courtier (above)
Chief executive officer

In last year’s report we remarked that change in the industry was gathering pace in 2008. What we couldn’t know was how ferocious that change would be. While there is no question the business conditions were much more challenging than 2007, Mediaedge:cia (MEC) held its own in a difficult year.

MEC globally was boosted by a number of geographies that performed extremely well. China, India, Italy, Latin America, Poland and the UK were all star performers in 2008, delivering growth beyond the marketplace trend. Some key new business wins played a big role in maintaining our momentum – Orange in Poland and the UK, Henkel in Germany, Italy and Mexico, Visa across Europe and Sony Electronics across Latin America; this followed on from our Sony win in Asia Pacific at the end of 2007.

Notable growth and innovation across the world came from MEC Interaction and MEC Access, our digital and sport and entertainment capabilities.

In May we held our global conference in Beijing, gathering the most senior MEC managers from around the world. Here we reviewed, debated and assessed the outlook for the coming years, looked at the changes sweeping across our business and defined our priorities. The theme was ‘Staying Ahead’. We looked at how we stay ahead from two perspectives: following our two most successful years ever (2006/7), and navigating the immediate future, which is such a challenging business environment.

open quoteCreating success for our clients requires us to think about reach, engagement, about their reputation and about the transactions they need to achieve their business goalsclose quote

Continuing to adapt our business model is crucial in these circumstances. The pace of change demands flexibility in our approach. Addressable, mobile and social media now touch the majority of consumers. Creating success for our clients requires us to think about reach, engagement, about their reputation and about the transactions they need to achieve their business goals. Our thinking cannot be confined by the rules of broadcasting and advertising but considers channels, content and behaviours that influence the long- and short- term effects of marketing.

This requires a genuinely holistic view of clients’ media communications. We defined the integration of our capabilities – the delivery of ‘One MEC’ – as a key goal in 2008. We made great strides here by combining and driving the strategic thinking from across all disciplines – creating the platform that integrates our thinking, with digital touching everything, underpinned by insight and ROI.

We are more client- and consumer-centric, both practically and organisationally, than ever before. The consumer remains at the heart of our business and their Active Engagement with our clients’ brands is our core objective.

As we look ahead at 2009, we realise that short-term financial pressures are a feature in both our clients’ businesses and our own. Our focus must be on helping our clients navigate these unusual times, delivering business-building ideas and driving the greatest efficiency and effect from their marketing investment. Internally, our priority is our people; developing and nurturing this talent. It is the strength of our people, and the shared values of us all in MEC that will help us manage this turbulence and emerge stronger.