Ryan Menezes, GroupM Nexus CEO: “We talk about technology, data and AI, but we’re still a people business.”

The past 12 months have been a “tough” year for GroupM Nexus’ Australian CEO Ryan Menezes (pictured), both personally and B&TAt the “Best of the Best Luncheon” hosted by GroupM, we spoke to Mr. Menezes about the challenges and growth of him and his team, and how recognizing individual talent compares to the company’s overall efforts. We learned more about why it’s just as important.

Previously, he was chief technology transformation officer, but was promoted to the top job around this time last year. However, there was little time to stop, and the group His M Nexus embarked on a major transformation with the birth of their second child.

“It’s been a year with many ups and downs!” he said with a laugh.

“For me, it was a tough balance to find, but on the other hand, it was a great learning experience. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that the entire change management component So it comes down to building psychological safety. That was a core aspect for us.”

LR: Ryan Menezes, GroupM Nexus Australia CEO. Tom Fogden, editor, B&T.

We’re speaking with Mr. Menezes ahead of the main celebration of the Best of the Best Luncheon. There, his boss Amy Buchanan, GroupM’s general CEO, also took to the stage, along with Polly Blenkinship, Audible’s global head of brand media. He’s relaxed, but it’s clear this is going to be an unforgettable year.

“Nexus represents the next stage of our Group’s transformation. Our Global CEO Christian Juhl is excited about GroupM becoming more of a software company and how we will achieve this by creating a simpler organization. “We talk a lot about how we bring the best capabilities and solutions to our clients,” he said.

“Nexus is the performance engine for the entire Group. This is where all our data, technology, AI and great craft talent are nurtured. Our vision is very simple: the next generation of media performance. How do we lead the way?”

Writing down this vision is easy, but unpacking it presents many challenges. How will media performance in the next era be different from the current era? What will the next media era be? But for Meneses, fulfilling that vision is easy.

“Regardless of the channel: digital, out-of-home, addressable TV, or influencer, we use consistent, market-leading processes, tools, and technology to ensure our people are truly great at what they do. ” he said, which sounds easy enough.

“But the focus is on holistically achieving an omnichannel end state and achieving the best outcome for the client,” he said, which sounds much more complex.

Menezes explained that GroupM Nexus went through a significant simplification process last year based on providing consistent craft expertise and data, technology and AI capabilities across all GroupM agencies. He was given significant autonomy by Amy Buchanan to lead this transformation to ensure the right choices were made for the local agency. Everything was going to be transformed by technologies like generative AI and machine learning that automate processes and systems.

LR: Polly Blenkinship, Global Head of Brand Media, Audible. Amy Buchanan, GroupM CEO.

“It’s all focused on reducing distractions so we can be more client-centric.”

When people hear a word like “automation,” they can start worrying that it’s code for job loss. But for Menezes, the purpose of the entire company is to improve GroupM’s performance, not to cut costs. He was instrumental in ensuring that the psychological safety of GroupM’s employees was not compromised in any changes.

how? He listened, conversed, and celebrated his individual accomplishments. This last part became a core tenet of his leadership during times of change, and why the Best of the Best initiative was so valued by him and his colleagues. In fact, in his B&T Best of the Best list last year, 10 of his GroupM staffers ranked in the top three in 29 different categories. He has 11, including WPP’s Melbourne Campus Experience Manager Jane McPhillips.

“I feel very lucky that the psychological safety component is so strong. If you can build psychological safety while managing change, you can help staff become more effective in the way they articulate and deliver on their vision, actions and strategy. This means that they will play an active role.

“At the end of the day, we talk about data, technology and AI, but we are a people business. It all comes back to people being the core element of our clients’ success. is focused on building a culture of recognition to develop high-performing people. It fosters their confidence and helps them realize the impact they have on their industry and the world around them. Become.”

At a time when the advertising and media industries are in flux, and expectations from customers and staff themselves are changing rapidly, Menezes and GroupM’s strategy is likely to pay off. After all, if you have the best of the best, they can get the most out of technology, not the other way around.

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