Opinion: Carat's Paul Brooks enters the Spotify debate

Paul Brooks
By Paul Brooks | 19 May 2014
Paul Brooks, National head of investment and partnerships at Carat.

Partnerships are quite important to me, so much so that it forms part of my job title. I have been meaning to write a piece on partnerships since I started my new role at Carat. Having read the enjoyable responses from Messrs Bass and Miskelly from GroupM in relation to an article in which Kate Vale’s was reported to be ‘blaming agencies for brands risk aversion’, I felt compelled to add my two cents worth.

Why? Spotify is one of 7,500 mediums available to plan and buy in Australia, every single one of those has a role to play for an advertiser’s communication. Working out that role is the tricky part!

With convergence and fragmentation, shifting media vendor profiles, an abundance of data and measurement plus unprecedented technology advancement; navigating the media landscape is more challenging and complex than ever before. I understand the environment we work in is challenging but I am not sure blaming agencies or that media agency folk have it tough solves anything.

Media agencies and clients do not make decisions on platforms based on whether they are new or old, big or small or whether they have enough time to consider them! It is, and should always be about the role that the medium or platform can play in the media mix to deliver the right outcomes for an advertiser’s business. I think the bigger debate is around answering the following questions;

Which channels?
Which platforms?
How do we innovate on these platforms?
How does this deliver for clients?
How do we learn and reapply?

By answering these questions, the client wins, the agency does their job and the media owner reaps commercial success. Doesn’t that sound simpler?  In my opinion, working together to understand this requires more meaningful and richer partnerships.

Our role at agencies isn’t to grow Spotify’s revenue; our role is to determine the role it can play in a client’s media mix.

Spotify undoubtedly has a role to play in the media landscape, it is our role in partnership with Spotify and our clients to determine the value it can add to a client’s business.

While I found it important to share my thoughts on this subject, it also reminded me to turn on my private session on Spotify (which ironically was playing on my second screen in the background) to ensure that my choice in music is not publicly criticised by my Facebook friends.

Paul Brooks
National head of investment and partnerships

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