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Michael Kassan, the founder, chairman and CEO of Medialink is both an industry fixture and fixer — as well as connector and confidant to top executives. Today, he shares his thoughts about how brands and agencies can plan for success. Here are the top three actions he recommends:

1. Get out of crisis mode and into strategic planning mode. “Get out of ‘how do I plan for the short-term’ thinking. Look at 'what are the right business moves given the future of work‘ and ‘how we are going to conduct business moving forward‘ —but do it without the blinders of ‘we’re in a pandemic.’ We have to turn the page. This is the book we are reading now. It‘s just level-setting your decision making and taking yourself out of crisis mode and into strategic planning mode.”

2. Recognize that ‘nice-to-do’s’ might be more important than you think. Be thoughtful about the cuts and the reductions. Those things that you think ‘well, we don‘t need that’, don't be so quick. We all have those two piles of paper on our desk: the nice-to-do’s and the need-to-do’s. Make sure you‘re mixing those two piles in the right way because some of those nice-to-do’s become much more important if you don‘t pay attention to them. You may need to re-order your priorities.

3. Agencies: reestablish your value proposition. If I‘m an agency, I‘m paying more attention than ever to the fact that I need to reanimate and reaffirm my value proposition. With more and more direct client interaction happening with sellers, the agency becomes less relevant. Make sure you‘re cognizant of not just getting kudos ‘like great job’, but that you‘re providing good strategic, sound advice that people can rely on. Technology has lessened the importance of the tactics and increased the importance of the strategy. Tech tactics alone, not driven by strategy, are not interesting to me.

Bonus insight: create your own heat map. There has to be less defense and more offense. Find the opportunities within the chaos. It can be about controlling your own data or the move to hybrid versions of in-housing.

We still don‘t have cross platform measurement so that‘s another area… [then there’s] the inextricable link between content distribution and marketing messages. You’re going to have to figure out how to play in streaming video if you’re a marketer. And there’s e-commerce. Nobody is surprised it’s more a part of our lives. Everybody is surprised that it happened in five months as opposed to five years. You have to ask yourself: ‘where are the hot zones where can I affect change?’ That's how you find opportunity within the chaos. You create your own heat map.

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