MediaLink’s 2021 “The Revelation Report” Reveals Leaders Reach Inflection Point for Post-Pandemic Business Success

Survey Finds Europe’s Media and Marketing Industry Leaders Confident about Business Growth, Rapidly Adapting to Talent and Cultural Shifts

Strategic advisory firm MediaLink, an Ascential company, today released The Revelation Report, a future-facing research study into how the media and marketing industry has felt about the past year and predictions for the year ahead. The report’s findings suggest that 18 months since the start of the pandemic, European senior leaders find themselves at a watershed moment – one emboldened by positivity yet undeniably shaped by sharp talent and cultural shifts. The report found that 73 percent of leaders say they’re fulfilled in their current role, and 59 percent are confident about business growth in the next 18 months. Encouragingly, 80 percent report that the majority of their team are excited about their organisation’s future prospects, and while 39 percent still say they are seeking new companies, this is down from 63 percent previously – a sign that headlines of The Great Resignation may not be telling the whole story.

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“Throughout the last year and a half, the world has experienced both collective trauma and global transformation, and the technology, communications, and marketing sectors have responded with both innovation and humility”

“Throughout the last year and a half, the world has experienced both collective trauma and global transformation, and the technology, communications, and marketing sectors have responded with both innovation and humility,” said Kathleen Saxton, Managing Director, EMEA Advisory & Global Search for MediaLink. “Our early and challenging observations have revealed that these leaders are faring quite well in the eyes of their colleagues, but they’re now faced with an immediate and urgent call to action for emotionally-attuned people navigation, organisational evolution and, in certain cases, complete reinvention to ensure continued post-pandemic success.”

The Revelation Report explores these insights in three sections: 1) Beyond the Barometer: a view into business leaders’ growth prospects and happiness, as well as their most admired companies and leaders; 2) Industrial Revelations: observations on how emerging behaviours and belief systems such as ​​”triple transformation” and “unofficial unionisation” are impacting the commercial world; and 3) Return from Neverland: the notion that many of us have been existing in a parentless dreamlike world for some time and what leaders will need to consider about presenteeism, performance and transactional analysis as they begin to require their people to truly engage once more.

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Other key findings from the report include:

  • Post-Pandemic Positivity: 84 percent of leaders are proud of their businesses’ response to the pandemic
  • Leadership Loyalty: 60 percent are confident that the people who guided their businesses to this point can now successfully lead them to their future destination; this is bolstered by a decline in the number of people looking to leave the industry, fearing redundancy or looking to start their own businesses
  • Triple Transformation: when asked about the future versions of their business, most leaders emphasised triple growth, hyper growth and accelerated growth
  • Jabsworth: 64 percent of respondents feel that employees truly hold the power over the return to office movement
  • Collaborative M&A: over 71 percent of leaders are eager to take advantage of post-pandemic M&A (if they could find the cash), and 80 percent are inspired to be more externally collaborative versus simply competitive
  • Zoomlighting: there is a rise in employees being concurrently employed by two businesses, each unaware of the other
  • The Rise in Unofficial Unionisation: 45 percent believe we’ve entered or will inevitably enter an era where the collective voices of many will ultimately force meaningful change at the top of organisations
  • Airpocketing: despite the phenomenon of leadership loyalty, many leaders are feeling somewhat stuck within a career air pocket – financially protected yet professionally unfulfilled
  • Diagnostic Dating: brand leaders have shifted from making the best of existing agency relationships to seeking out technically-progressive partners
  • Beware Isomorphism: organisations tend to resemble one another during times of uncertainty, and this phenomenon is now putting leaders at risk of not learning from the pandemic
  • Cognitive Dissonance: leaders feel increased pastoral offerings within organisations are not necessarily in line with business realities, leading to a massive rise in discomfort among employees
  • Return from Neverland: the pandemic provided an unintentional consequence on the dynamic between employers and employees. The dynamic is based on Berne’s Transactional Analysis, which theorises that humans interact from internal altering “ego states,” defined as Parent, Adult and Child. Employers and employees were thrown into a situation where employers moved into a Parental ego state, moving their employees into a Child-like ego state; global boardrooms now face an urgent concern around the emotional and physical “recontracting” between employees and employers

The Revelation Report’s findings are the result of a July 2021 survey of over 600 C-Suite leaders across the media, marketing, advertising and technology sectors in the European region. It represents their collective views, opinions, and inner thoughts and was devised to further explore and quantify critical themes and hypotheses the MediaLink advisory teams identified and observed during thousands of meetings undertaken over the last year with the leadership teams of these industries’ most progressive companies.

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