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Web3 is much more than just a fad: FCB's Tyler Turnbull

Tyler Turnbull, global CEO of FCB in a candid chat on the sidelines of his trip to India

Published: Apr 27, 2022 06:31:06 PM IST
Updated: Jun 6, 2022 03:44:39 PM IST

Web3 is much more than just a fad: FCB's Tyler TurnbullAttracting and retaining the best talent will be a priority for Tyler Turnbull.

After the departure of Carter Murray from FCB in February 2022, FCB global saw some restructuring. Tyler Turnbull was promoted to global CEO from CEO of FCB North America. Turnbull rose from intern to CEO in eight short years and he stands as the agency's most trusted turnaround agent. As he visited the India office two months after the promotion, Storyboard18 caught up with him to know his vision for the agency, restructuring at FCB, creativity in the post-pandemic era and acquiring and retaining talent.
Edited excerpts.
Q. You have recently taken over as the CEO of FCB Global post the departure of Carter Murray. Those are big shoes to fill. What are your challenges and what is your vision for FCB?
I joined FCB because of Carter and the journey that I was with him on for the last seven years was really to reignite the creative spirit of FCB, to prove to clients the value of our creativity, to attract the best creative and strategic talent in the industry. For me, going forward, it’s about connecting that creativity with growth. For us, across FCB, we have this phrase that creativity is a great economic multiplier—that really is my core focus.

Secondly, in the world of performance and marketing, we have this big consumer move into digital, into mobile, into tech. And that world hasn’t been the most creative in the last 10 years. It has been very machine-driven. We want to apply creativity in that performance marketing area. Most of the clients are asking how we can do more for less. The macro-economic challenges we face from an inflation perspective, from a supply chain perspective have had big impacts on our brands. They want to make sure they are being as effective and efficient with their budgets as possible, so production for us is a big priority.
Q. The vision you just spoke about and the changing consumer landscape requires specialised talent, especially in a marketplace inundated with specialist agencies. It is important to have a multi-disciplinary approach to creative ideation. How invested are you in acquiring new talent and retaining existing ones, given that talent has been an area of concern for the industry for some time?
That’s been a problem for the last decade—accelerated in the last two and half years. While there were many benefits to working remotely, we saw a lot of our agencies collaborating together; we have seen talent burnout, we have seen them get tired across the sector, we have seen people move to the client side or move out of the industry entirely. Attracting and retaining the best talent is our top priority because, at the end of the day, that’s what our clients work with.
Q. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the rules of the game. It has caused the industry to question decades-old beliefs about how consumers behave and make choices. In an increasingly digitised marketplace of ever-increasing options, influencing consumer choice has become more complex. How are you at FCB approaching this post-pandemic era?
Our focus is on creating timeless and timely brands. We believe that the fundamentals of brand building are the same, they have not shifted dramatically during the pandemic. You still need an amazing proposition, you still need a great product, and you still need great storytelling. There is a shift in the medium in terms of consumption, but the core of how brands are built fundamentally is still the same. From a consumption standpoint, nobody wants to be interrupted from the content that they are watching, and it’s incumbent upon us as advertisers and marketers to add to their experiences whether they are on social, whether they are online, what that means is thinking holistically across the customer experience as a brand and a partner and understanding what people want in each moment. So in FCB, we have developed some tools to help clients understand those needs at every stage of the journey. A part of it is that the media mix has changed, we are seeing a lot of opportunities to connect with the users.
Q. FCB Group India, last year, announced the restructuring of its creative agencies and a new three agency structure—FCB Ulka, FCB Interface, and FCB India. It has been conceptualised as a hybrid new agency for a new era of hybrid marketing and hybrid creativity. Is this restructuring a part of a larger plan? Will we see more structural changes with the agency on an India or Global level?
I love the Indian structure. I love it because it puts the senior management as close to clients as possible. I have long believed that our most effective agencies are working with our clients every day, and the structure in India has allowed us to do just that. When we look at FCB globally in our major markets, making sure that our teams are focused on clients and structures that enable them the time to spend with them is going to be our focus going forward.
Q. How do you see Web3 impacting advertising? With Web 2.0 the power rested with the big tech giants like Facebook, Twitter because they owned the consumer data, but Web3 has decentralised data. 
Owning your own data—what you share and don’t—is always a good thing. For me, the excitement about Web3 is not the fad aspect of it but the fundamentals of what it can do. A lot of brands are experimenting. We have done work in blockchain with NFT creation and metaverse is a topic of discussion globally. I think a lot of excitement around Web3 as an identity is in the experience that the blockchain can do for categories like experiential and events. For us, it’s about making sure the brands are experimenting with this, at the same time, not to lose sight of what helps them grow.

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