“India is our best performing market globally for last 10 years. It has been our fifth or sixth biggest market in WPP. If you say one day we will overtake the UK, it wouldn’t surprise me,” Mark Read told Storyboard18 in an exclusive interview. Read is the chief executive officer of the world’s largest ad holding company – WPP, which owns ad agencies and media investments firms such as Ogilvy, Wunderman Thompson, VMLY&R, Mindshare, Essence, Grey Group, Wavemaker. In a exclusive conversation with Storyboard18, Read shares his views on the impact of global political and economic events on business and the state of advertising. He also gives us an insight into what clients are thinking and what they want in addition to his views on the future of work and jobs, and his outlook for 2023.
Q. From wars to government changes, recessionary concerns, and a lot more – how are all of these factors affecting the business? What are some of the biggest concerns you’ve heard from agency leaders in the WPP ecosystem?
Our agency leaders are focused on doing great job for our clients. Delivering fantastic creative work. Helping them grow their businesses, do well on e-commerce, building relationships with their customers, manage their reputation, communicate what they are doing and leading their people through difficult time. So there are no particular concerns by the agency leaders.
Q. What are the clients’ concerns? How are they reacting to these uncertain times?
I think the key word is ‘uncertainty’. We had our results a couple of weeks ago and I said on our earnings call, there are very few clients that are catastrophizing the situation for the next year. I think most clients are looking to support their brands and a lot of clients dealing in the inflationary environment are trying to sort price increases. So marketing becomes more important as they are trying to innovate, to be on the side of the consumer. So they have to communicate with their customers. At the same time, they face headwinds around the world. Uncertainty is the name of the game. And we have to be agile as an organization and help our clients react to things as they unfold. Opinions on US recession differ. Goldman Sachs have it at 35 percent, most of the people in the US have it at like 75 percent. So, I have slightly sort of given up on predicting the future, my efforts are on how do we respond more quickly to be honest.
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