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Dominic Lyle, Director General, European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA)

An Ever Faster World

In times of abundance, consumers want even faster gratification, through the means of novel real-time products, services and experiences. Agencies that are still focused on the TV centric world need to reconstruct fast and find the talent required to turn big data into creative campaigns

Although economic problems in China and the immigrant crisis in Europe negatively impacted business, global spending on advertising in 2016 might get some growth – predominantly from BRIC countries rather than from Europe – with funds mainly going on digital and especially mobile as Generation C overtakes the scene, says Dominic Lyle, Director General of the European Association of Communications Agencies.

EACA is an association that brings together the advertising, media and sales promotion agencies across Europe, enabling international experience and issues to be shared and dealt with on a pan-European basis.

There are many new trends that are shaping our world and they have great influence on how the communication agencies must deal with new customers’ needs. First, there is a rise of Generation C, connected, communicating, content-centric, computerised, community-oriented, always clicking consumers who live in a time of abundance of products, brands and experiences, and want everything now. Second, there is a rise of a sensory emotive Web (Web 5.0) and new types of online social and business networking where quality is much more valued than quantity, and members are very selective about whom we share that experience with.

Such development asks for a new approach in communication including much more reliance on big data sets and application of data-based knowledge as the ultimate need for the industry in order to stay on top of the advertising trends. Furthermore, such developments open many questions regarding data security and data measurement.

What were EACA’s priorities in the past year and what will they be in the year ahead?

– Our priorities in 2015 were focused in three main areas: legislation, where the revision of the Data Protection Directive was a key milestone in the European Commission’s drive to create the Digital Single Market; fighting for a positive outcome absorbed a lot of our time & energy! education, where we have continued to develop our various training products aimed at young professionals, academics & students; and working with IAB Europe towards industry-wide, consistent standards of practice on a range of issues to be published in 2017 – trading on Viewable Ad Impressions, Brand safety (piracy, fraud), non-human traffic (fraud, spiders/ bots, malware) and the delivery of ad impressions to specific target groups.

The Accumulation, Interpretation And Application Of Data-Based Knowledge Will Become The Key Goal For The Industry

For the year ahead, we will be working on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Euro Effies and relaunching the corporate identity for EACA and our education and training portfolio in February.

The EACA has just made public its European Advertising Business Climate Index report. In which ways do changes in the global economy and geopolitical tensions impact on this index?

– To a considerable extent. It was very noticeable that the economic problems in China and the confusion created by the immigrant crisis in Europe, both had an immediate impact on European business confidence levels – the next report will be issued end January, so we can then see whether the impact has lasted.

What is the prognosis like when it comes to global spending on advertising in 2016, and towards which communication channels is that funding gravitating?

– The prognosis seems to be gradually upwards, but growth is more likely to come from BRICS countries than Europe; the trend is still toward digital and especially mobile.

What will the future trends in the communications industry be like?

– Data-driven. The accumulation, interpretation and application of databased knowledge will become the key goal for the industry.

What are the biggest problems and obstacles facing communications agencies today?

– Many agencies are still modelled on a TV-centric world – the biggest challenge is to restructure for the new era, but also to find the talent required to turn the understanding & interpretation of data into creative campaigns.

Would you explain the terms Nowism and Generation Connected and the link between them?

– Now-ism describes consumers’ ingrained desire for instant gratification, which is being satisfied by a host of novel, important (offline and online) real-time products, services and experiences. Giving consumers what they want is not a new development – what is new is the required speed. Consumers live in a very fluid present, and that is where brands need to be, to adjust to consumer culture at the fastest possible speed. The result is a need for ever shorter product/service development cycles;

Generation Connected – or Generation C — are connected, communicating, content-centric, computerized, community-oriented, always clicking. As a rule, they were born after 1990 and lived their adolescent years after 2000. This is the first generation that has never known any reality other than that defined and enabled by the Internet, mobile devices and social networking.

The link between them is that Generation C lives in a time of abundance of products, brands and experiences. There is no need for them to wait for anything because they can get it immediately when they want (NOW). This is partly possible due to the fact that they are always connected and that the majority of things are available to be bought or acquired online.

What is Web 5.0 and what does it bring us?

– Although affections, feelings and emotions have been gaining relevance in society and scientific thought for more than a decade now, in the future, we will be dealing with a sensory emotive Web (Web 5.0) more than ever before. Web 5.0 is the environment where every aspect is holographic, including senses. En route to that, what we are looking for in the next phase of online social and business networking is to get a real human experience and to be very selective about whom we share that experience with.

In order for that to happen we need quality profiles, not just showing words, but also profiling rich material such as video and photos, using tools to directly interact by voice and (online) personal presence if possible (web-conference and sharing).

It Is A Great Shame That, Despite Numerous Attempts, The Agencies In Serbia Seem Unable To Agree On A Formula Which Enables Them To Collaborate And Form Association

Up to now, these tools have been very immature, technical by nature and hard to install or use on our computers. Most of the new technologies seemed to have to go through a ‘trough of disillusionment’ but are now in a maturing phase.

The next generation internet is very transparent, it will show exactly where you are, who you are and what you are doing or want to do using those new maturing technologies. So it is time to really think about the message you are sending out with your online profile.

Ning.com is the first example where people can create their own social niche network. Small niche networks are very targeted, offer rich profiling and that is where the value is even if there are just a handful of members there. It’s the quality of members that count.

How would you comment on the fact that there is no association that gathers together communications agencies in Serbia?

– It is a great shame that, despite numerous attempts, the agencies in Serbia seem unable to agree on a formula which enables them to collaborate. EACA has national association members in 30 countries and Serbia is conspicuous by its absence from that group. EACA is willing to assist in any way to help overcome whatever obstacles are causing the hold-up.

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