Broadcasting & Cable’s Top Media Planners and Strategists: Nick Bernard

Broadcasting & Cable has selected Mindshare’s Nick Bernard, Senior Partner and Director, as one of its Top Media Planners and Strategists – a list that honors the best and brightest talent in the industry. Nick is one of only eight leaders from agencies across the industry to be chosen; this is the fifth consecutive year that one of Mindshare’s leading planners and strategists have been honored by the publication.

Nick’s win comes on the heels of numerous other accolades for the agency, including Cannes Lions’ Media Network of the Year, Festival of Media Global’s Agency Network of the Year, and ranking both #1 media agency and agency network in the MMA’s Global Smarties Business Impact Index.

The full feature can be found on Broadcasting & Cable’s site here. Check out part of Nick’s personal profile below, and see a few of his answers from the industry Q&A with the winners about audience buying, OTT, and more.

Excerpt from Nick Bernard’s Industry Q&A:

Is TV audience buying something that is changing the way you think about campaigns and how to reach consumers?

Bernard: Absolutely. As audience development becomes more advanced in the digital space, the expectation is that we use the same level of specificity, where possible, to reach priority audiences. The challenge is how to merge those audience-buying opportunities with inventory that can really only get purchased through more of a demo buy. The ways of planning, managing and optimizing for unduplicated reach and frequency are still something that the industry is catching up to. The tools available today for planning still have large holes where walled gardens or highly modeled (more unstable) data are used. Until those challenges are solved, we need to continue to push the industry through test-and-learns to identify opportunities that drive our clients’ business.

We hear a lot about marketing dollars moving from YouTube and Facebook back to TV. Are you advising clients to use more TV and if so, why? At a time when the TV industry is seeking scale, what should smaller media companies do?

Bernard: Budget change is a reality in this industry and a media budget should never be a ‘given’ for any channel. If it is, then we (media planners) have failed at our jobs. We should always be starting with the consumer and their usage, then planning based on appropriate levels for the objective. We are seeing that both YouTube and Facebook are viable video platforms, but that doesn’t mean it is at the expense of TV. Ultimately, it means that broadly, video budgets need to grow to meet the needs in these spaces, particularly when you factor inflation into the equation.

With clients, we often talk about the overall rise of time spent with media, while at the same time the ways in which [consumers] access that content has never been more fragmented. Just one example of this is the rise of apps used help manage all of your paid video subscriptions. My point is, Facebook and YouTube are just two examples, but they aren’t alone in the video landscape.

As to advice for smaller media companies: Scale is great, but it only gets you so far because there is a finite amount of linear inventory. When you are smaller, you have to do what scale can’t; you need to be nimbler, more culturally connected and ultimately more provocative. This means moving at the speed of culture to tap into either a cultural insight or moment. This kind of provocation pays off in dividends outside of paid media in the way it generates talk value.

Excerpt from Nick Bernard’s profile:

Why Advertising: Bernard studied and taught communications at Miami University. The curriculum focused around using language and understanding people’s needs in order to better connect with them. “That spurred me to further explore a career in advertising upon returning to Chicago.”

Recent Interesting Campaign: “One of the awesome parts of working at an agency is pitching business,” Bernard said. The agency won the Buffalo Wild Wings account and quickly pivoted as March Madness approached. “The question became how do we best utilize the existing partnership” with the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, he said. The agency front-loaded its media strategy because early in the tournament, fans were either rooting for their teams or had just finished filling out their brackets. Working with CBS and Turner, the agency also secured special inventory – the first pod in overtime periods – and ran special overtime creative. “People were leaning in there and having an opportunity to further the Buffalo Wild Wings story in those windows was critical,” he said.