A while back the IPA asked me to deliver the graduation keynote to the grads who had completed the IPA Search Summer School. They asked me to talk to them about the future and my advice for their careers moving forward.
One of my many learnings from my WPP mentor Jeremy Bullmore is to treat every audience regardless of level with time and respect. So I sat down and did some serious thinking about the world of Search and the skills that I thought the discipline unlocked.
This is where I netted out - I think that these Search grads are the Chief Strategy Officers of tomorrow.
Why do I think that?
This slide tries to sum up why:
In a nutshell I think that the grads who are immersed in the world of Search have a better understanding of Brands, Technology, People and Culture than anyone else in the agency world.
The old traditional view of a Planner is someone who understands the consumer and represents them as the agency develops work. This could be done through focus groups, research panel information, ethnographic studies etc. But the fact is that its through the words that people type into Google that give you the best sense of a brand's health. Search terms capture people's inner-most feelings in a way that focus groups never do. So these grads have their finger on the pulse in an utterly unparalleled way.
So keep an eye out for the IPA Search Grads of 2012 and if you have a Search division in your agency and you don't know the guys who are working there, then make it your new years resolution to go and take them out for coffee and find out more about what they do and what they think.
My bet is that you'll be talking to a CSO of tomorrow.