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BizTrends 2018

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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

FOMG speakers: Q&A with Susan Jurevics

Pottermore's CEO, Susan Jurevics, speaker at this year's Festival of Media Global, talks to M&M Global about the website that has carried on the popularity of the world-renowned children's book series and gives her thoughts on this year's festival.

What do you think makes Pottermore so popular? Why do fans keep coming back?

Most importantly, Pottermore is the only place to find original, new Harry Potter content from JK Rowling. That thrill of discovery makes Pottermore an exciting and even magical destination. Pottermore is also visually engaging and interactive. The website bursts with creativity. Based on the Harry Potter stories, Pottermore serves and delights fans, old and new. There is something for all readers as they take the Pottermore journey through the seven books. That has led to deep engagement with our global community, a community that has grown into millions of users over the past two years and what keeps them coming back for more.

How closely involved is JK Rowling with Pottermore? What role does she play?

Pottermore is JK Rowling's vision based on the characters she created. While she isn't responsible for the day-to-day running of Pottermore (that's me!), JK Rowling has extensive input. She writes exclusive content (including Sorting Hat questions) for She created the Wand Selector. JK Rowling is involved with copy and designs of all key illustrations and components of Pottermore. We're fortunate that she's so involved.

What do you view as your greatest accomplishment as CEO of Pottermore?

I'm working with the talented team I inherited when I took over a few months ago on variety of amazing new products and services that will absolutely delight our community. They will be live shortly so keep visiting Pottermore!

What has been the biggest challenge for Pottermore?

Keeping up with the breathtaking pace of technological change remains a huge challenge for us (and all consumer-facing digital entertainment brands). And engaging consumers as they hop from computers to tablets to smartphones is also a Pottermore priority.

Were you a fan of Harry Potter before becoming the CEO of Pottermore?

I've always been deeply engaged in content that is a meaningful part of popular culture, including Harry Potter. I've experienced the Harry Potter brand through the reading of the books, seeing the movies, visiting the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando Resort. And of course, I have my own wand (cedar, with a unicorn core, 12¼" in length) and house affiliation (Gryffindor)!

What are the next big plans for Pottermore?

We are spending an increasing amount of time more deeply knowing and engaging with our community and ensuring that the products we develop are truly innovative, authentic and desirable for them. In addition to building upon our core offering on and the Pottermore Shop, we're evolving our partnership model to ensure brand consistency with local relevancy.

What made you decide to speak at the Festival of Media Global this year?

My prior role at Sony included management of a media AOR and I've spent many years as a marketer in the nexus of content and technology. The Festival has assembled a terrific group of executives to exchange views about topics truly relevant to the global media and marketing industries and I'm excited to be involved in that dialogue. And like anyone else attending the Festival, this is an important event to learn about cutting-edge strategies, make new contacts and network like crazy!

Without giving away too much, give us a hint as to what you will be discussing?

In my session, I'll be talking about the power of storytelling to build an entertainment brand like Pottermore and how it leads stronger engagement and a meaningful community experience.

Why do you think events like the Festival of Media Global are important to the industry?

Events like the Festival of Media Global serve an opportunity for key global thought leaders to discuss, debate and address timely and relevant topics facing brands, agencies and marketers.

FOMG speakers: Q&A with Dominic Proctor

Given the size and global scale of GroupM, what are some of the key challenges you face?

The key challenge is how to keep the agencies growing and how to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. We aim to further increase our market share as well as widen our offering. In all key markets we want to be brand leader as well as market leader.

What have some of your priorities been after taking over at GroupM?

Making sure that everybody is marching in the same direction. It is difficult because we have so many moving parts but the level of collaboration is great. It is our secret weapon and a serious competitive advantage.

GroupM estimates an 11.6% growth in ad spend this year. Is this what you would consider a positive outlook and what is contributing to this?

We are bullish overall and the UK is performing well. No doubt digital is fuelling growth to some extent. Generally companies are sitting on healthy balance sheets and there is a bit more confidence in the market.

Are there any markets in particular that GroupM will be looking at targeting this year?

Yes. Our strategy is clear on this. We have a strong position in "emerging" markets and will continue to invest in them. That said, we recognise that 'emerged' markets such as UK, Germany, USA are still the majority of our business and their economies are doing fairly well.

When it comes to specialist services, what works better, growing them organically or via acquisition?

Depends on whether you are in a hurry. Most of our growth has been organic and therefore more controlled. But recently we have been more acquisitive, especially in digital.

What made you decide to speak at the Festival of Media Global this year?

I think that all these gatherings have a positive purpose and are a sign of a business growing up. We just need to be careful that there are not too many! By the time you factor in the FoMs, Cannes, CES, internal conferences, you could spend too much time away from the work!

What do you hope to get out of your participation?

Networking, debating, learning.