Samsung head of digital warns lack of trust in agencies will cause them to ‘choke’

Brands will cause ad agencies to “choke” if they don’t display trust, Samsung’s head of digital has warned.

The panel (L-R): Steve Spurr, Edelman; Bec Morton, Leo Burnett Australia; Brett Turnbull, Samsung; and Carla Webb, Edelman

Speaking on the Mumbrella CommsCon panel ‘Create great work, not war’ Brett Turnbull said trust was key to successful collaboration between PR, creative and media agencies.

“If you as a client don’t have trust in the agencies you are working with, you’ll choke them, and you won’t get good work,” Turnbull said.

“You’re a client; your job isn’t to be an amazing creative, or an incredible PR agent, your job is to know your brand and understand why you exist as a brand. You should stay there.”

The panel, led by Steve Spurr, CEO of Edelman Australia, with Carla Webb, Edelman Australia’s director and group head, and Bec Morton, group head at Leo Burnett Australia, spoke about the challenges and triumphs of collaboration across three innovation projects for the Samsung brand, including the award-winning brainBand project.

Commenting on effective collaboration, Turnbull said it was important to make sure all agencies were involved from the very beginning and were handed a single brief.

“One brief, all there upfront. Everyone has a chance to incubate their ideas in that brief. It starts off broad.”

“If you have a really broad brief and you’re open and you bring in all the agencies at the beginning, then you don’t know where the idea is going to come from,” he said.

Edelman Australia’s Webb said when collaborating, egos need to leave the room.

“With these projects, there’s no egos in the room, and we all know sometimes there’s some of us that have egos, and they have to be put to the side, because a lot of the time you had a lot of jobs and things that wouldn’t be your normal role.”

“That goes south when you don’t have respect for putting the work before your own ego, and not trusting in the client to make a decision,” Webb added.

“When you have mutual respect between agencies, that’s really key, and you have to foster that.

The brainBand project was one of the innovation projects created by Edelman Australia, Leo Burnett Australia, Starcom and Samsung

“As a client you have to foster that by bringing everyone into the room at the start and making them feel equally treated and involved and then as agencies we have to respect each other.”

“It’s up to us to work together,” she said.

Speaking about the Samsung Pocket Patrol augmented reality application, Leo Burnett Australia’s Morton said collaboration was “key from the get go”.

“Utilising each others data was key; understanding what Edelman can bring to the table, understanding Samsung’s data, Leo’s data, Starcom’s data.

“It’s amazing how far we’ve come and the partnership with Edelman, we have PR in house as well,” she added.

“Having this group of people involved as compared to yester year, the projects have become so much more important and impactful on humans and society, more than just what a 30-second spot on TV.”

Morton said while collaboration can be “hard” and challenging, being nervous was a natural part of the process.

“It’s super hard and if you don’t feel sick everyday, a little bit, you aren’t doing your job.

“You should always have that nervous stomach.”


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