The Great Reopening: Zac Stephenson of MediaCom

After an uncertain and pandemic tainted 2021, New Zealand is now in a phase of transition and recovery. To celebrate Kiwis being able to embrace life outside of their homes again, the country’s largest Out of Home media company, oOh!media, has partnered with StopPress on The Great Reopening. A series focused on New Zealand’s recovery and the return to life OOH. Here, we chat to media strategists and marketers who share insight into how they’re planning their roads to recovery, and get their views on what lies ahead for the industry.

In this edition we chat with Zac Stephenson, Managing Director of MediaCom New Zealand, who talks emerging trends within the advertising industry and how marketing is adapting to the changing consumer.

What are the emerging trends impacting the ad industry as we enter the great reopening?

The ‘Covid era’ has accelerated the implementation of trends that have been emerging for some time. From a consumer perspective, the enforced lockdowns have clearly driven a significant increase in e-commerce, which should only rise over time – so definitely something for agencies to consider as part of their offering to clients. Then, there are operational work trends like hybrid and flexible working, which have the potential to revolutionise the future of work in our industry (as well as many others). And finally, an increase in the usage of technology in general, whether that’s to communicate, to co-create, to implement, or to monitor and report on what we do. Our industry, and business in general, will definitely function differently to how it did previously, which is an incredibly exciting prospect.  

How will your clients approach to consumer engagement change with summer on the way, and an increase in in-store shopping and socialising predicted?

After months of being cooped up in our homes (at least in Auckland), getting out and about will be high on many peoples’ agenda. However, it will be interesting to see whether there actually is an immediate, significant and sustained increase in ‘physical’ presence activities such as shopping or socialising. ‘Freedom day’ and the potential summer exodus aside, I suspect it may take some time for people to feel completely comfortable returning to ‘normal’ socialising, and of course the rise of e-commerce in particular may impact traditional physical shopping. It will be interesting to see how things develop, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on this for our clients.  

How do you think the marketing industry will adjust to the new normal? 

Marketing has always been great at adapting to a changing consumer, and this will be no different. I do think there will be greater agility and speed to market, to capitalise on market trends and situations. In turn, this will put pressure on legacy systems and processes, as well as relationships and collaboration. I think in this context, a focus on communication becomes even more important.

How have your marketing/business priorities changed? 

Agencies have always been concerned first and foremost about serving their clients as best they can. We’ve always done this in an incredibly dynamic environment, and although the last couple of years have been more tumultuous than those that came before, I don’t think our priorities have necessarily changed; it still begins and ends with delivering solutions to client problems. What I would say is that we need to focus more intently on, and align to the same changes that marketers themselves will implement – agility, speed, and iterative execution.

Read more: oOh!media celebrates marketing pioneers

How are you celebrating our summer of freedom?

I’ll be refreshing and resetting after a challenging couple of years – spending time with family and friends, and remembering all the hobbies and interests that fell by the wayside! We have a lot of exciting things happening at MediaCom and GroupM in 2022, so banking some proper relaxation will be really important. For all of us across the industry, I think!

For more on The Great Reopening brought to you by oOh!media, click here.

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