(L-R) Susan Credle, global chief creative officer, FCB, and Tina Allan, head of data science and connections, FCB
In February 2021, marketing and communications agency FCB Global's CEO Carter Murray, stepped down leading to some restructuring in the company. Susan Credle was named the global chair and continues as global chief creative officer, and North American head Tyler Turnbull was promoted to global CEO. Tina Allan was appointed as the new global partner, head of data science and connections.
In an interview with Storyboard18, Credle and Allan speak about their new roles after Murray’s departure, the roadmap for FCB and the opportunities and challenges in a post-pandemic world.
Q. As Carter Murray moves on from FCB, what is in the roadmap for the agency and how are you going to steer it with Tyler Turnbull through your partnership?
Susan Credle: I was fortunate that in 2016 Carter asked me to help him write the story for FCB and that was such an incredible partnership and journey. We did a lot of work that we didn’t know was preparing us to deal with the pandemic. We really concentrated on designing a point of view, thinking what are we going to do with the agency next and we bet on creativity, that was our north star. What I loved about Carter is that he is a turnaround champion. With Tyler, we have been doing our road tour that we have actually been able to do since January and it’s been interesting to see what is sticking around the world and what people are leaning into.
Q. It’s interesting that you mention things that are sticking and the things that are changing. In these last two years, many new consumer behaviours were formed that are likely to stick around, like the boost to digital media and e-commerce. What is your advice to your clients who are trying to grapple with this dynamic environment?
Credle: Covid-19 was a catalyst to a lot of great change and in these two years at FCB, what we did with our clients, with the push of Covid-19 would have actually taken five to 10 years. We are using technology in smart ways, so what I’d advise clients is that do not think of the behavior as Covid-19 behaviour but as getting to the new behaviour faster.
Q. Tina, in your new role as the head of data science and connections, what is your vision for the agency? How do you hope to marry data with creativity?
Allan: Our brand's bedrock has always been fueled by data, technology and diversity. Clients are looking for building brand value and building their business and everything with the consumers is speeding up. In bringing data into this, we are very focused on the consumer but also the business and brands.
Credle: We say data fuels our creativity. One of the dangerous things is that clients have got all the data in the world and just don’t know what to do with it and with FCB, we fuel creativity with data. Creativity is not just creating an ad, it means creative thinking, problem solving through the lens of what data is telling us.
Q. If this pandemic has done anything good, it’s probably the boost it has given to digital, tech and innovation. In your new role Tina, what are your challenges and what are the opportunities?
Allan: There is so much availability of data and the challenge is how do we harness that because everything is very quick.
When I look at the Indian market, what are the opportunities we have in a mobile first world and how can we use this opportunity to leapfrog everything we have known before with the ability of data to test and learn.
Q. Susan, what are the clients’ demands globally vis-a-vis the Indian market?
Credle: Mobile market in India will teach us what mobile can do and as, Malcolm Gladwell says, don’t be first, be third. What we are hearing a lot is that there were not a lot of firsts in India when it came to mobile, so everyone else did the dirty work of trying to figure out what to do with mobile, and India just came in with an audience and all you have to do is ride down the street. One of the other important things we are seeing in India also in North America is that diverse mass versus general market—we can’t look at India as one India, we have to look at India as a diverse mass. And what’s beautiful about technology and data is that we couldn’t do diverse mass earlier but today we can.