An extraordinary year has seen extraordinary changes, some for the better. WFA CEO Stephan Loerke looks forward to 2021.
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Although we have heard it a lot, it would be crazy to argue anything but the fact that 2020 has been unprecedented. But amid the gloom and doom, we have also seen something positive – an incredible acceleration of changes that were long overdue.
It would also be insensitive to all those who have lost loved ones or been seriously ill to claim that Coronavirus has been a blessing in disguise, but there are some important and valuable things that would not have happened this year without the pandemic.
The biggest positive impact is that 2020’s huge societal disruption has held a mirror up to our industry and revealed the need to take action on a number of fronts.
The Black Lives Matter movement has led to industry introspection on diversity and inclusion in advertising like we have never seen before. It was the catalyst for the launch of the WFA’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force and the publication of our Best Practice Guide.
The success of #StopHateForProfit, the US civil rights organizations call for a Facebook ad boycott, has powered an acceleration in the work of the WFA-led Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM). It has catapulted the question of harmful content and hate speech on digital platforms onto the CEO and CMO agendas everywhere in the world.
Covid lockdown hasled to a step change in digital media consumption and e-commerce. That radical change has made the case for our global cross-media measurement blueprint (which we published in September) even more compelling for both brand-marketers and for the ad industry at large.
2020 has also been a year when it’s been gratifying to see so many CMOs, their teams and policy colleagues turn to WFA in order to benchmark and exchange experiences with their peers. This has happened on a scale and at a frequency that we had never seen before.
Like many of our colleagues across the industry, the WFA team have been working from home since March. From Singapore to Brussels and London to New York, they have all risen to the challenge of 2020.
Almost overnight, we switched all our face-to-face meetings to remote sessions and succeeded in engaging more members than ever before, members who seem to be very happy with the service they are getting; ninety-three percent rated the WFA service as good or excellent in our members survey we ran earlier this month.
And as we look forward to 2021, we can see light at the end of the tunnel- and we’re determined to come out of this crisis stronger.
We will need to be even more resilient if we are to be ready for the biggest challenges of all: climate change and sustainable development. These issues are becoming more urgent by the day.
It’s time to #BuildBackBetter, now and in 2021 and beyond. The WFA is determined to help its members play their part.