MAY 23, 2024

Ten Insights from Worldwide Partners Global Summit Comunidad24


Our bi-annual Global Summit took place in Riviera Maya, Mexico last week. The theme of the event was Comunidad, highlighting the tight-knit community of independent agencies that makes up Worldwide Partners, the communities we seek to build through a direct connection between brands and audiences, and the communities we tap to better understand consumers' needs and wants. 

Below are ten themes we uncovered during the three-day event.

1. Jobs Are Dead. Work Isn’t.

Signal and Cipher CEO Ian Beacraft shared an encouraging view of the future of work, where teams are comprised of humans, AI and automation, and every employee is enabled to unlock their latent skills and make them useful to the organization. 

“Most people think about AI as doing more, faster, with less,” Ian shared. “But really it’s the opportunity to reclaim the big creative idea.” Ian shared several examples of how AI can be used to automate mundane processes, not creativity, and generate an exponentially greater number of brainstorming ideas. He believes the future of work is powered by people enabled by AI. And we’re believers now, too.

2. AI as a Team Member

AI will be, and in many ways already is, a major part of every marketers’ process. In fact, three of our agencies–SPARK, Brownstein and t2ó–shared innovative and practical examples of how they are using AI within their agency and on client campaigns to increase efficiencies and effectiveness. 

SPARK’s Dulani Porter discussed how they empowered their team through a culture of experimentation to determine the best ways to integrate AI tools. Brownstein’s Anne Ryan and Will Murdoch shared their custom-developed tool, which uses AI to make more room for creativity and completes tasks no one else wants to do. t2ó’s Alex Ramirez shared three custom-developed AI tools which provide a full-funnel approach to optimizing performance marketing campaigns. 

But, AI is just one technology that should be, as Sunday Dinner Founder Lindsey Slaby stated, “part of your creative roster.” This shift in mindset, viewing tools and technologies as a part of your capability offering and creative department, makes room for the significant role these resources play in across campaigns. 

3. Success Requires a High Failure Rate

The more ideas you’re able to generate with AI, the more ideas that will be thrown out. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s a good thing, because you have to fail a lot before you can succeed. 

Liquid Death VP of Creative Andy Pearson echoed this sentiment as he shared how the water company is breaking all the marketing rules and still coming out on top. Andy encouraged the audience to “move fast and make things” – a more positive take on Silicon Valley’s “move fast and break things” motto – by testing ideas live, making changes quickly, and not being too precious about any of it.

4. Identify What Makes You Uniquely You

This idea was stated in several different ways from the various speakers. Bonfire with Soul Founder Duke Stump’s phrasing was: “What does the world need most that we are most uniquely able to deliver?” Andy Pearson’s phrasing was: “What is something only Liquid Death could do?” Lindsey Slaby’s advice was: “Pull yourself out of commoditization. Clearly explain how you’re different for exactly X number of reasons.”

However you say it, the sentiment is the same. You have to identify (and clearly state) what specifically you are the right fit for. And by equal measures, what you are not the right fit for. 

5. Challenge All Assumptions

Monigle Executive Director of Business Transformation Dominic Leung led a brain-busting talk on how we can unlock the potential of the transformation economy. It was a thoughtful and scholarly view of how agencies can drive reinvention by liberating intangible assets, creating real value, and helping consumers find self-actualization. And while much of it was highly intellectual (read: over my head!) there were numerous practical nuggets that agencies can walk away with and start implementing now. 

Dominic encouraged the audience to challenge assumptions in three areas: Right Problem - don’t assume the client has defined the correct challenge; Right Lane - don’t assume the client understands your ability to stretch your thinking; and Right Insight - don’t assume the market is correct about audience behavior.   

Andy Pearson had similar advice, “foster a beginner’s mindset,” stating that we’ve all gotten really good at what we do, maybe too good at the same-ol’ same-ol’.  Giving yourself and your team the permission, support and time to question and reconsider everything will unearth new opportunities in ways you might not have thought possible. 

6. Competitors are Dead. Competition Isn’t.

The concept of having one or even a handful of other companies that a business is directly competing with is outdated. Sure, when standing in the beverage aisle at a convenience store, a consumer may be faced with the choice between Coke or Pepsi. But their decision was made long before that date through any number of factors, including the business’s perception and policies, previous advertising campaigns, emotional connections, and personal experiences. 

But that doesn’t mean there is no competition. It’s just not who or what you think it is. Andy Pearson explained that the real rival for any business is your phone. The never-ending ability to be entertained (or rather, distracted) by ceaseless videos, photos, articles, tweets, emails, etc. is what every business is competing against. 

These reasons and more are why Duke Stump encouraged us to shift our perspective away from drawing comparisons with others to identifying what that unique offering is that only you can provide. 

7. Look to Nature for Collaboration

Duke Stump’s statement “look to nature as a mentor for cooperate and collaborate” was a fitting one for our location. In a single stroll to the conference center or buggy ride to the beach at the gorgeous Fairmont Mayakoba Resort, one could witness iguanas, coatis, crows and myriad other flora and fauna living at peace together. (Or in the raccoon’s case, leveraging opportunities for a tasty treat! To quote my room attendant: “Lock the doors. The racoons know how to open them and where the mini bar is.”)  

8. Sustainability is Good Business

Sustainability can be a tricky topic. More and more businesses are pledging their commitments to sustainable practices, but it’s not always for the right reasons. And there is a lot of shame, guilt, and politics tied up in the topic. Brand Strategy & Sustainability Leader Meg Kinney bypassed all of these touchy subjects to address the real issue: “When nature is at risk, the economy is at risk.”

Meg explained the real business issue at hand, pointing out where environmental issues and policies fall on every company’s value chain, interrogating the pitfalls of green speak, and showcasing opportunities for us all to become creative change agents. Her talk was a humbling yet energizing session, highlighting marketers' critical role in helping to promote circular models and reinventing what it means to be not only a marketer or brand, but a consumer, capable of inspiring change. 

9. The Power of Agency

CMOs are increasingly faced with responsibilities that fall outside traditional marketing and communications roles, and they need a trusted advisor to help them navigate the myriad charges in this varied role. 

John Harris encouraged attendees to embrace their agency, not only their marketing firms, but also their ability to exert power and influence positively with client partners. Sitting more upstream, redefining what value looks like, and helping brands address larger business challenges is how we can grow our agency, our agencies and our clients’ businesses.

10. Community is Our Biggest Differentiator

We chose the Comunidad theme for this event for a few key reasons. Of course, it was a fitting thread for our Mexico location, a culture known for its focus on family and community. 

It’s also an important aspect of our industry. As advertisers and marketers, we’re striving to build communities with and among consumers to create lasting connections and advance culture. 

As a network of independent agencies, community is also our biggest differentiator. Our agencies aren’t just members of Worldwide Partners, they are powered by Worldwide Partners. They are powered by the people that make up each and every agency within our network. Today, those people come from 90 agencies in 50 countries, a multifaceted group of integrated, creative, media and specialty agencies, offering an intentionally diversified mix representing the needs of clients today and in the future. People that are committed to each other, not because they have to be but because they chose to be, and they are all leaning in to collaborate for the growth of our network, our agencies and our clients.

The power of community was palpable throughout the three day summit. The ideas, inspiration and connections amongst our independent agencies, world-class speakers and industry leading sponsors will spread as our people make their way home and share with their teams and clients. It’s a return on connection that can only be achieved through this diversified group of creative, talented and driven people.

Written By:
Angie Pascale