If there’s one thing you can say about Sir Martin Sorrell, he’s certainly not media shy. And his latest interview has covered just about every topic from the end of print, the value of working from home and the lessons learned from the Black Lives Matters movement.
In a new interview given to CogX – described as the “global leadership summit and festival for A1 and breakthrough technology” – the 75-year-old media sage again said the global pandemic would hasten the move to all things digital.
He didn’t mention it directly but, of course, his new venutre, S4 Capital, also happens to do all things digital.
But in the race to go online, print would be the biggest casualty, Sorrell said. Not that people haven’t speculated that for the past decade or more.
“Whatever the date is, it has come forward a lot,” Sorrell predicted of the death of print.
Although he did offer a solution to publishers still offering a print product: “Shifting to an all-digital platform, subscription based and advertising based is key,” he said.
Sorrell added that working from home would be the “new norm” and that had its benefits too, enabling agencies (and employers generally) to invest in staff rather than pay exorbitant rental fees for the premises they lease. Not good news for commercial landlords, however.
“I think it is profound. I think it will be a big change, even those people who have a lack of space at home, even those people that have young kids to educate at home and the pressures that brings, it brings a better balance.
“I feel like I’m in a privileged position, I acknowledge that. But I feel much, much better physically and mentally for not rushing around the world.
“We invest about 35-40 million in office property. I’d like to take that 35-40 million and invest it in people. It’s not going to go back to where it was. This is not a new normal, this is a next normal,” Sorrell said.
He even weighed-in on the Black Lives Matters movement sweeping western nations at the moment, adding it could be a real vehicle for change.
“Black Lives Matter is a burning platform for change in terms of racism,” Sorrell said.
“We haven’t really made much progress in racism and racial bias in 52 odd years. What we are seeing now is these movements are much more broadly based. The fact that 25 per cent of Americans are currently unemployed obviously exacerbates the issue.
“Meaningful statements, in my view, are meaningless…. The meaningful statement is, in my view one level, but what you have to do is you have to have meaningful change and actions.
“I disagree with ripping down statues, but having said that, I do understand the emotion, and the feeling,” Sorrell said.
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