The charter that gives you a look inside your client’s head

The charter that gives you a look inside your client’s head
Credit: WFA

The challenges presented in the WFA’s Media Charter 3.0 are more relevant than ever — let’s unpack them together to the benefit of both brands and agencies over the coming months.

Every now and then I get asked by an agency friend or media owner: “What are clients focusing on or worrying about these days?” More specifically, I get asked whether I know a certain client at a brand they happen to be pitching for: “What are they interested in or passionate about?”

The short answer, of course, is always “growth” or “their bottom line”. Whatever else might be of interest is always somewhat eclipsed if you cannot get the basics right and ultimately media is a growth driver for our brands and our businesses. After whatever sparkling nugget of wisdom I’m able to impart that day, my longer answer usually ends with: “And have you listened to what they’re saying they’re interested in?”

Yes, clients are a mysterious black book of internal politics and unexplained briefs, but many of us also have a tendency to get up on stages, issue press releases, appear in panels or even just post on our social networks. More often than not, a YouTube search for a client or company will reveal that at least one person there is out in public spilling the beans on their passion points, their interests and the icing on that growth cake they’d really love to crack.

Hopes and expectations

To make it easier for everyone, last year several dozens of global media leaders jointly crafted the third iteration of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Media Charter. The document lays out our hopes and expectations for how we’d like to see the media ecosystem evolve over the next couple of years. Of course how much individual clients worry about these macro issues will vary tremendously, but all will benefit if you bring them solutions.

Perhaps some of you are even familiar with its predecessor, which evolved directly from the Trusted Marketplace work that I led when I worked with Isabel Massey at Diageo. That document got into the weeds of media buying and responded to some of the most pressing issues that media (and digital in particular) was facing at the time. It was a rallying call around transparency, brand safety, fraud prevention, viewability and third-party verification and measurement.

A lot of this is seen as table stakes today, but back in 2018 these were emerging topics. It led directly to the creation of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media and the brand-safety improvements that initiative has driven. The push on verification and transparency has helped fuel the meteoric rise of partners such as DoubleVerify, Moat and Adfidence. Cutting-edge initiatives like the WFA Halo/Isba Origin cross-media measurement pilots were also driven by this agenda.

Following Media Charter 3.0’s first anniversary, it strikes me that the challenges inside it are more important than ever — as well as a huge opportunity for agencies, tech companies and media owners to respond directly to these calls to action.

Priority areas

When it came to writing a new column for The Media Leader that captures a client-side perspective on the latest hot topics in media, I couldn’t think of a better place to start than a document that had already so publicly done much of the hard work.

Media Charter 3.0 takes a broader perspective across the media industry — it doesn’t suggest that the previous challenges have been completely solved, but that they have evolved and a more mature industry is starting to look holistically at the impact it has.

There are five priority areas that inform key projects and meeting agendas of the WFA Media Forum, where dozens of clients gather around the world. If you’ll bear with me over the next few months, I’d love to unpack them together:

  • Competition and plurality — we want a fair and equitable media ecosystem that fosters competition
  • Measurement and accountability — every dollar we invest should be measurable throughout the entire media supply chain globally
  • Responsibility and society — we want to build a safer, more inclusive media landscape for our consumers and our brands
  • Sustainability and planet — we must come together as an industry to develop the tools and infrastructure to build a more sustainable future at pace
  • People and partners — we need talented people to help us invest our media wisely and, in turn, we must invest in that talent


Taking actions

As someone who has spoken out a lot about brand safety and the impact that our advertising investments have on our media ecosystem, it was a pleasure to be reunited with Isabel to champion the “responsibility and society” discussion, but more on that in due course.

Finally, if you’re reading this as a company that has digested the Media Charter and are taking direct actions to respond to it, I’d love to hear from you.

We created this charter to drive a meaningful impact and it’s important to recognise when and where that is happening.

Jerry Daykin squareJerry Daykin has led client side media and digital teams for brands including Diageo, Mondelez International, GlaxoSmithKline and Beam Suntory. He is a WFA diversity ambassador and author of the book Inclusive Marketing. He is currently consulting on digital transformation, partnerships and responsible media for global brands and is fractional chief strategy officer at Adfidence

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