Building a Likable Partnership

  |  May 24, 2011   |  Comments

Facebook launches Facebook Studio to bridge the gap between media and publisher.

Facebook has launched its first effort in an emerging focus area of developing deeper relationships with advertising agencies. The Facebook Studio concept is designed to showcase the creative and diverse experiences that are facilitated on the social platform. The program is a nice first attempt at bridging the gap that typically exists between media and publisher. It's also a safe step because it gives creative agencies and social content developers an opportunity to put their best work on display in a Facebook-sanctioned environment. These are all positives for Facebook and a safe play to move into this territory.

What comes next will be the true measure of the Facebook/agency relationship. Over the last decade, I've served on virtually every agency council run by a search engine and have seen the myriad of attempts engines have tried to make to connect with both standalone agencies and search units inside traditional media and creative shops. Every council or agency relationship has a stated mission of improving the working partnership to provide better opportunities. These are opportunities for agencies and clients to voice their wishes and discuss new innovations that would be meaningful, and opportunities for the platform to incorporate that feedback and create new models for revenue generation or enhance existing products.

Well, that's the stated goal. The reality is they are often as fulfilling as bi-partisan politics. Why? Because every council is driven by the sales arm of the organization with a guest appearance role by product engineering. Ultimately, the powers that drive these platforms, be it Google, Microsoft, or now Facebook, reside inside the engineering community that shapes innovation. And those individuals are either only included at random intervals, non-incentivized to incorporate this level of insight, or they simply hold "sales and agencies" in such disdain that the mere suggestion of collaboration draws a sneer and terse interaction. That leaves a sales team offering up the olive branch of peace and prosperity, and left to navigate into uncharted territory inside their own organization only to be met with an outcome that shows the council/partnership to be nothing more than a glorified sales effort with no real impact on bigger thought.

So, Facebook has made a fine first effort, but it's an easy effort and will ultimately mean little for future development. What the company does now in structuring true agency teams will reveal if it has an appetite for input and collaboration or if it is putting lipstick on the pig and passing it off for something more than what it is – just another sales tactic. If Facebook wants agencies to be "fans," then it'd be well-served by making product engineering an empowered and key component of this agency structure.


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Chris Copeland

Chris Copeland is chief executive officer of GroupM Next, the forward-looking media innovation unit of GroupM. Chris is responsible for curating and communicating insight-focused media solutions across established and emerging platforms. Leveraging his multi-year experience with emerging media companies, Chris is tasked with stewarding GroupM Next in partnership with agency leadership from GroupM's four media marketing and marketing service agencies (Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and Mindshare). The focus is participating with those companies leading changes that most impact consumer media consumption, brand favorability, and purchase behavior.

Guiding the Predictive Insights, Technology, Research, and Communications teams at GroupM Next, Chris is responsible for overseeing the amplification of insights into opportunities that directly benefit the business of GroupM agencies and their clients. GroupM is the world's largest media investment management group and the media holding arm of WPP. Together, GroupM agencies represent almost $30 billion in overall North American billings (RECMA).

Chris helped guide the development of GroupM Next, which was established to deliver the best thinking and new insights from within the GroupM community. The unit also focuses on technology innovation connecting all media channels, but especially, online, social, mobile, and addressable.

Chris was selected to lead GroupM Next after nine years of leading the search marketing practice within GroupM. Among his accomplishments are the development and integration of the global search marketing offering for GroupM agencies, GroupM Search, which managed $1.3 billion in search billings globally and grew to more than 1,000 search marketing strategists serving 40 countries. In 2009, Chris created the research division of GroupM Search and developed research studies that deepened the understanding of consumer behavior across search and social media for leading brands and garnered global traction - most notably: The Influenced: Social Media, Search, and the Interplay of Consideration and Consumption; The Virtuous Circle: The Role of Social Media in the Purchase Pathway;and From Intent to In-Store: Search's Role in the New Retail Shopper Profile.

Chris entered the digital industry in 1996 when he joined search marketing agency WGI (later acquired by Tempus Group). He has been with the WPP and GroupM family of companies since 2000 when, recognizing search as an emerging media channel with incredible potential for brands, WPP acquired Tempus Group and CIA, and ultimately rebranded the search marketing agency as Outrider. As senior partner and managing director of Outrider, Chris delivered on GroupM's vision for the channel, leading the organization to 500 percent growth with global presence over five years, and establishing award-winning search marketing strategies that have become industry-wide best practices. In 2002, Chris successfully implemented the integration of search into the cross-channel media planning process at MEC, creating the first search marketing practice to sit within a media communications and planning company. In 2007, he guided the business expansion of search marketing practices into all GroupM agencies. In 2009, Chris was named CEO of GroupM Search, where he was responsible for driving global search strategy for the organization, while fostering the innovative application of search as an integrated channel. In his role, Chris also provided digital strategy counsel for clients, including AT&T, Dell, Audi, Volkswagen, and more.

Chris is an active member on advisory boards at the 4A's, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and I-COM. He is a frequent speaker in global forums discussing the digital marketplace and how the space is evolving, and serves as a regular resource to national and industry press. Chris contributes editorial commentary regularly to Advertising Age, ClickZ, MediaPost, and In fall 2013, Chris was honored as an inductee into the ClickZ Digital Hall of Fame.

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