FCB erases the boundaries in strategic restructure, brings in Murray Streets and Dan West

Following on from last week’s news of his departure from Saatchi & Saatchi, Murray Streets has now been confirmed as the general manager for business innovation and strategy at FCB. 

This appointment comes as part of the launch of what FCB is calling “a fully integrated strategy unit”.

The new unit, which will be run by a team of 12, brings together the full remit of FCB’s capabilities— business, brand, communication and channel strategy with digital, customer experience and data expertise—in a single place with the aim of delivering communications across all the available channels. 

Alongside the announcement of Streets joining the team, FCB has also announced the appointment of David Thomason as chief strategist (previously head of planning), Rufus Chuter as head of media and strategy (previously head of media) and newcomer Dan West, who joins from FCB Inferno in the UK, as digital strategy director. 

“As a large integrated agency, we’re in a unique position to bring together this depth of strategy from a diverse group of specialists in the New Zealand market,” FCB NZ chief executive Brian van den Hurk says in an official statement from the agency.  “With digital now routinely integral to all marketing communications, there’s a greater need for connected strategy that creates seamless relationships between what a brand stands for, how it communicates and how it’s experienced. Increasingly this is informed by data from a variety of sources, whether a brand’s own data, publisher data or other third party providers. The challenge for marketers is these specialisms and data sets typically sit with multiple separate agency partners, making realising this connected vision a challenge. FCB’s model allows us to bring the expertise and data together to achieve this.”

While the agency has long been creating integrated campaigns for many of its clients, FCB says this strategic shift blurs the lines further between the departments and thereby encourages the team to think beyond the legacy silos that have defined the industry. 

“The way agencies have historically been carved up doesn’t relate to how we interact with media these days,” says Chuter. 

He explains that the need to formalise an integrated strategic approach is about setting the agency up for the next five to ten years, during which this will only become a more prominent part of the industry.

Alongside changes in consumers’ media consumption, Chuter has also noticed an evolution of strategic roles. 

“The role of strategy has moved on. We now need to work on the campaign all the way through. It’s a much more hands-on role.”

Chuter says West has been hand-picked with the view of emphasising this type of thinking at FCB.  

West arrives at the agency having worked as the lead digital strategist on the multi-award-winning ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, and his credentials also include work for a host of other major clients as well. 

​Chuter says that while strategists were previously required to “sharpen briefs” before delivering them to the creative who then took over, modern campaigns demand that strategists consistently monitor, measure and optimise campaigns while they’re running (particularly online).

Chuter says that in other agency set-ups campaign measurement is often left to an outlying media partner, but this isn’t the case with FCB, which has a full-service media department integrated into the business.

This means that FCB is able to look after a campaign from conceptualisation through to execution and then onto the monitoring and optimisation phase.  

Also, at a time when media agencies are increasingly pitching creative ideas of their own to clients, it certainly pays to have the media thinkers inside your business. 

This restructure of FCB follows on from a 2014 revamp, which saw the agency sprinkle digital across its divisions. That has apparently been ramped up with the arrival of West, who has initiated digital training across the business.

It’s thought FCB big dog Bryan Crawford explicitly decided to keep media inhouse, going against the established industry model that began when media started splitting from creative in the 1970s. That move now seems to have been quite prescient as media consumption has evolved. And it seems the chorus of advocates for the integrated model continues to grow louder.  

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