Renato de Paula, CEO of MEC Latam “The priority is to invest heavily in Digital, Data and Content”

Last September, StarterDaily announced Renato de Paula as the new CEO of MEC Latam. During his stay in Chile- which was part of his tour of MEC Latam regional offices- we talked about his vision of media business, and the impact of his arrival to the group.

In the past three weeks he has traveled to London, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay and plans to be in Colombia and Canada, knowing really closely each local office to execute its growth strategy, and multiple budget meetings.

What are your first impressions during the tour?

MEC has been an extremely successful business in Latam. Within the 4 regions of MEC, it has been the one that grew more, world level, in the last 4 years with a very high yield. So the first challenge is to maintain the standards, speed and the path that MEC has today. Total credit to Michael and his team.

So, what are the main priorities?

It’s easier to make changes in a troubled company that in a very successful one. With that said, there are three priorities for the coming years; We have to make adjustments and related developments in Digital Analytics and Insights, which also involves the part of Data.

For media agencies historically have been the owners of the Data, and there is a lot of it.

Our job will be to format the data to make it be relevant to our customers. Not only at media investment levels, but primarily in business. When you start crossing data with sales performance, consumer behavior, GDP growth, etc. you begin to put together a very interesting scenario for the customers of your business.

Another of our priorities is Content, Creation, Production and Distribution of content for multiple media. And because everything is happening in Social Media and Mobile, is that in Paid, Earned, Owned & Shared areas are great opportunities for content.

But we won’t do advertising campaigns and television commercials, because it is not our territory.

We want to participate in the full loop. Access and the ability to offer and provide our customers holistic solutions for content and not only do the media buying, but also feed our customers pages with short and long content. 

So, the priority is to invest heavily in Digital, Data and Content. 

How important is Chile in this Latin American plan?

Enormous, for a very interesting topic. MEC Chile is well advanced in these three areas compared to other units of MEC. All are walking, but Chile is a step forward. 

Why do you think this is?

Because we started earlier. Annetta (Cembrano) and her team have led a process, not so much data focused, but in content. Today we have in our Chilean office the ability to generate, produce and distribute content. Maybe even at low levels, but we have the possibility of addressing these three areas. While other Latam offices are just developing in early stages and we are not producing.

Charles Courtier (MEC Global CEO) said that your have a rich heritage in the digital data world. So how do you prepare when digital media investment is 9% in Chile? 

We must divide the objectives. On one hand, investment in digital media is still low. But investment in digital infrastructure is large and robust. The platform production part, own web sites, apps, there is a huge world. Therefore, we want to participate not only 9% in this media world. In fact, Chile MEC’s average investment for our digital clients exceed 15%. There, we go beyond the market. 

But the focus is not only there. It’s in Analytics and Data which are a part of this world and we are talking about a huge business opportunity.

With Analytics you mean only capture data or even sell data to third parties? 

Sale is not in our plans. Our Data business model will first analyze the data for our customers. We are gathering a lot of Data in our Database and then we must cross it, remove Insights, and transmit this value to generate the Data feedback into the cycle of our client business.

Taking privacy very seriously, because we will not share individual information with anyone.

And this Data model is local, or is it share with other MEC offices?

In MEC there’s global director of Data & Analytics, Jose Miranda. And in every country has its local director. There is a whole network of people working on data.

We do use data in a “macro way”. Macro information. For example, if we have a presentation in 32 countries, and we want to know how young people behave, macro behavior is created. We’ll leverage decisions taking notice of local laws, privacy and never sharing individual data. 

These major changes that you’re telling me attract new talent. What is the profile that these professionals should have? 

The communications industry is going through a super interesting transformation. 10 years ago, the major source of talent generation were young people who studied advertising and marketing. Today, we have different profiles in agencies, like political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, mathematicians, engineers, etc. because the needs are different, and the analyzes are different.

And in Latin America, is it very hard to change this perception? How can the agency be “sexier” to market professionals who don’t come from the communications world?

It’s a process which, in my opinion, involves two things: The quality of the agency’s work and the visibility of this work. When an agency begins to make very good and interesting things, it draws attention. And the other is a concept I call “the tribes”. When a mathematician comes to work here, he probably went to a university with other mathematicians. And if he does well in his role, the concept of working in similar tribes attract more talent. 

You worked in Sao Paulo, New York, Mexico. Have you seeing this phenomenon in those places? 

Absolutely. I spent two weeks at MEC London and was very happy with what I found there. Because when I started my conversation process, we realized that my vision was aligned with the vision of MEC and its leaders. And when I came to London and I saw this particular vision mixed with many job profiles within the “liverooms” analyzing all data centralized technologists, I think that in Chile we could have one next year.

Cannes Lions has announced the opening of the Lions Data. Is this leading the way for creativity in data? 

There is a very interesting opportunity in the data world of communications. Through data, one can think of a better creative solution. In the best agencies, this has been happening for some time and certainly Cannes took this as an interesting opportunity.

In MEC, we have a unit called OneShot, and we talked about how we could gather data with OneShot’s  ideas and how could we throw good  ideas with data.

It’s a whole and immense world, and there is so much to do.

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