Koo Govender. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

Koo Govender: Solutions tailored to personal space of the mobile phone. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

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FM Edition:

KOO Govender, the newly appointed CEO of the Dentsu Aegis Network in SA, reveals in an online pop-quiz interview she has no fingerprints.

That physical anomaly might be useful in some spheres, but she’s going to have to get her hands dirty and quickly put her mark on a media buying and planning group that is competing in a market where advertisers are eschewing traditional approaches in favour of less expensive and more effective options.

Govender, former CEO of the VWV experiential marketing agency, believes media as a specialist field has become more encompassing: agencies need to be true business partners. “My expertise from a supplier point of view has put me in good stead to run a business with a more objective and bigger-thinking point of view.”

Govender says she left VWV because she was looking for a career in a multinational agency. Her immediate task is to grow both locally and across Africa. She says increased media fragmentation and the dynamic behaviour of how media is consumed means clients need to have deep insights into consumption and engagement.

“Cross-channel planning requires that brands partner agencies that are able to attribute success with hard metrics that deliver to set key performance indicators,” she says. “It’s also not about price and discount these days. As media agencies we should be adding a balance of both discount and value. Should clients base their decisions on price and discount alone they will not achieve their marketing objectives.”

Govender believes media agencies need to offer a wider range of expertise and tools with more focus on digital placement to drive better efficiencies. “Secondly, agencies need research to better understand consumer behaviour over and above Amps (All Media & Products Survey). It’s about giving clients a clear and precise insight to build campaigns and achieve objectives.”

A key challenge facing Govender will be how to compete with local media agency giants like OMD and The Media-Shop. She says Dentsu Aegis has a global operating model where its nine local affiliated agencies in SA deliver a more holistic approach to a client’s brief, pulling in the appropriate specialist skills, including digital, which provides seamless integration. “The focus is not on who gets the revenue but rather what the best solution is. We have also invested in proprietary research called the Consumer Connection System that measures 60 bought, owned and earned media channels and captures qualitative media consumption habits that Amps doesn’t cover. But, ultimately, media now is about the mobile phone and it seems many brands and their agencies are battling.”

Govender says: “The mobile phone is a very personal environment, we need to create and develop products that consumers want to allow into their personal space.”