In an interview with René Coiffard, Managing Director of MediaCom, it quickly becomes clear why the global agency network can do so well with startups: One of the company’s success factors is the “founding spirit” that has been preserved over the years. We hook up.
Löwen in Cannes as “Media Network of the Year”, locations in more than 100 countries, many thousands of employees, since the founding of MediaCom in 1988, a lot has happened. Is there a DNA or key feature from MediaCom that you think has been preserved all the time?
René Coiffard: Of course I have not been on board myself since 1988, but what sets us apart is our motto “People First”. People are at the center of our work and the well-being of employees is an essential part of our work as an agency. A success for MediaCom is always a team success. The second part of our DNA is something we call “Systems Planning”. Means: as a company, towards our customers and campaigns, but also among all employees, holistic, unlimited and free to think and act. The prevention of “silos” can be described as our corporate philosophy. Third, over the decades, we’ve been honored with a certain “founding spirit.” In our industry only those long-term success, which reinvent themselves again and again.
David meets Goliath, so one could sometimes describe the meeting of Startup and confessed company. What can one learn from the other?
René Coiffard: I would rather call partner meets partner, because startups and established companies do not fight, but benefit from each other and should be in constant exchange. Because of its size, a group depends on certain defined processes and structures, which often stand in the way of a certain agility and adaptability. In exchange with startups, which are much more agile, a lot can be learned. Founders, on the other hand, often lack experience, patience and structure – companies can provide support and share experiences.
You are represented with the event “Marketing on a small budget” at the startup week. Why is MediaCom strong for startups?
René Coiffard: As a company founded in Düsseldorf, it is very important to us to bring the city and the startups based there to the front – after all, everyone benefits from a strong business location. In addition, the direct clash brings many benefits. The “founding mentality” that we have kept despite our size, is stimulated by the exchange with startups – and we can always learn new things. On a very personal level, my colleagues and I find the exchange with motivated, dedicated and ambitious founders to be immensely inspiring.
Are there any startups with which MediaCom itself cooperates?
René Coiffard: We work together with startups at very different levels: for example, with our own innovation unit that discovers startups with media or business potential and builds partnerships. In Düsseldorf, for example, we are in close contact with innovators such as the IOX-Labs, Cognigy, LavaLabs or Welect. Together, we are already implementing promising projects or are in the starting blocks. In addition, MediaCom naturally supports founders from its own ranks. My colleague Jens Büschgens, for example, founded “Plaze”, an exciting company for Airbnb Product Placements. Last but not least, we regularly bring together large companies and young startups from our network. At DMEXCO last year, for example, we guided our customers to the stands of exciting startups on an exclusive MediaCom Guided Tour.
With a wink: In agencies and startups, a similar atmosphere is often felt, young, hip people, kickers, open spaces, lots of energy. How do you know that you are entering an agency or just a startup?
René Coiffard: Empty Club Mate Bottles, Kicker and a Playstation Game Lab … No, seriously: It’s true that in agencies and startups, you often feel a similar, special atmosphere that derives from the typology, energy and freedom of our industries results. However, things like agile working, flat hierarchies and the importance of a pleasant working atmosphere are increasingly spilling over to large corporations – but in my opinion, agencies and above all startups will always be trailblazers here.
A startup team has exactly 1,000 EUR marketing budget left. What do you spend it on?
René Coiffard: Unfortunately, that’s not really possible to say in general, because it depends, among other things. the goals and target group of the particular startup, its product and the respective market. Any budget, such as 1,000 EUR in this case, is to be used as meaningfully and expediently as possible. So my tip is: come to our event “Marketing on a small budget” as part of the startup week and speak in One2One Talks with our experts on topics such as performance marketing, social media, target group definition, live communication, etc.
And your pitch to Dusseldorf as a startup location in three sentences?
René Coiffard: According to Mercer, Düsseldorf is no. 6 in the world’s most liveable cities: beautiful, exciting cultural and leisure facilities and great infrastructure! In the field of startups I even see Berlin, because there are numerous large companies in North Rhine-Westphalia that want to cooperate and finance, and the city has created a perfect basis for getting started.