In terms of organizational influence, the pandemic, while there were cuts early on, seemed to turn itself around for insights. Generally speaking, insights had more influence on the organization coming out of the pandemic than going into it. Is that a fair statement?
“I guess that really depends on which part of the business. I think, in our world where we’ve got linear, theatrical, streaming, sports, news, I think there was some variability,” says Hritzuk. “I don’t think the insights ever stopped across any of these areas, but we were launching HBO Max during the pandemic. From a resourcing perspective, insights became particularly critical during this launch phase, people were not going to cinema. So suddenly box office was a little bit more muted. Coming out of the pandemic, the app was launched. We were still putting a lot of effort into D to C. But, some of these other businesses have been a little bit slower to ramp back up again. So I think across the enterprise, the resourcing, the impact and the influence is also very much tied to the state of each of those businesses at this moment in time.”
When you look across the discipline, what are you hearing in terms of how influence within the organization is going these days? In other words, with the pandemic over, has the influence on the organization sustained for insights?
“Coming out of the pandemic, we were dealing with a whole new set of business realities that we had to flex to,” observes Hritzuk. “I think what’s happening now is it’s a different sort of environmental constraints, and I think what is happening is all of us are being asked to do more with less, which means that for us to have any impact, for us to really be successful at what we do, we’ve had to become incredibly ruthless at prioritization. If we were doing ten things before, we’re in a position where we’re still ostensibly doing the ten things, but with fewer people, and in some instances, fewer budget. And of course, you can’t do ten things well under those circumstances. Then you have to start to really think, where is the business? Where can we have an impact? Where can we drive value?”
She continues, “But given that, these are the top three issues articulated by leadership, we have to strip the other stuff out. As much as we’d love to do it, as much as people are interested in it, we’ve got to be really incisive about those big questions that the business has, and just deploy all the resources in that direction. And I think, if we go back to the notion of influence and impact, if we’re focusing on everything with fewer resources then our impact is going to be diminished because we can at best be superficial. And I think it’s really a matter of doing fewer things, but doing them well and in an in-depth fashion.”
See the video for more on Seth Adler’s conversation with Natasha Hritzuk, as they explore the year of uncertainty, the media and entertainment world, recalibration exercises, working synergistically with data analytics and more.