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Change is Navigable Now

BY Mansi Sharma

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Change is scary if it is ahead of us. Then it’s unknown, and unknown is uncomfortable. But we believe that change is already here, and we are building strategies that can help our partners co-create solutions by leveraging creativity to make this ever evolving change navigable,” Dheeraj Sinha, CEO, FCB Group India and South Asia briefed us about FCB’s latest initiative that aims to align advertisers, publishers, and the group towards a common goal – identifying new-age solutions to modern challenges. Joining him were Rohan Mehta, one-half of the blue-eyed duo behind the group’s seemingly most-prized possession – FCB Kinnect, and a promising new face Preeti Oza, an import from Sinha’s former fort, Leo Burnett. In suite 105 of the swanky Jio Convention Center Mumbai – beside which the chatter of an ongoing day-long symposium attended by some of their top clients and partner publishers like Meta, Sharechat, Amazon, Google, and LinkedIn was still on – the trio decoded for IMPACT and its readers what FCB NOW is all about and where the FCB Group is headed with ventures like these.

All About Intelligent Integration
When we talk about tech-led creativity, a lot of jargon and complicated technicalities cloud the discussion. Advertisers are forced to think about numbers, kilobytes of data, megabytes of keywords, and gigabytes of content production with no particular knowledge of how to merge all of this for results. FCB NOW is an attempt to let the sun shine on this clutter so the dampness of confusion evaporates.

Sinha explains, “We are in the business of commercial arts – we have to create content for the people. As our global chair and IPG’s creative advisor Susan Credle says, ‘we have to create work that people thank us for, and not just think about the next big disruption we can make’. With FCB NOW we are looking beyond disrupting content and driving new-age solutions that can help advertisers understand the value of each publisher platform and the unique benefits it drives for them.”
When asked if he means only digital channels when he says platforms or traditional ones too, Sinha clarifies that for the time being, the focus is only online. But they are ready to even produce a feature-length Bollywood film if that is what it takes to drive the required results for a brand.

Preeti Oza, Senior VP, Content & Partnerships, FCB Group added, “The clients are spending a lot of money, but there are just so many platforms and so much content that it sometimes becomes tricky to figure out what all to do and what not to. They want to be intelligent about their spends. With FCB NOW, we are giving them direct access to publishers, wherein they can know what kind of content on which kind of platform reaches their audience. This allows them to do intelligent integrations and create and activate effective content.”

Creativity Goes Beyond Content
FCB Group, primarily, has been a creative network. Especially under the aegis of Sinha’s predecessor, Rohit Ohri – whose mandate was to transform the creative reputation of FCB in India – the group truly attained the crown of a creative powerhouse, launching several high-profile campaigns, winning multiple national and international awards, while considerably growing the revenues.

However, the brief of FCB NOW, till this point, sounded very much like a media-centric intervention. Does this mean that the network is pivoting from its image and aiming to focus more on the media and digital aspect of the business?

Sinha denies as he explains, “We need to stop seeing media and creative differently. It is creative and media together. How do we integrate our capabilities that now span across channels including influencers, programmatic, production, customer experience, media, and much more to deliver optimum results?”
He adds that the group recently hiring three new chief creative officers also indicates that they are still as serious about creative output as they were eight years ago when Ohri was brought onboard, who later got Swati Bhattacharya in, as well.

Rohan Mehta, CEO, FCB Kinnect & FCB/SIX India further commented that people need to stop seeing creativity as something that just belongs to the film or written word or a social media post. He explains, “Creativity goes beyond all this. We need to see and deliver creativity in media mix, in tech, in reputation management, in customer experience, and everything else. We want to integrate creativity in all aspects of our business.”

FCB of Now and Future
So, how does this initiative fit in with the future goals of FCB Group in India and globally? Sinha explains that much before he got on-board, the group was effectively looking to pivot in the direction of data-led and tech-driven creativity that can help their clients make the best use of new-age tools and technologies. The acquisition of Kinnect is a strong testament to this fact. With FCB NOW, the group further plans to make it easier for their clients to navigate the ever-changing technology landscape by the power of effective partnerships. He also mentioned that FCB NOW can allow the brands to see beyond the uni-dimensional understanding of any platform and see it for what it can truly deliver, when they use it to target the right audience with the right kind of content.

“We are excited to bring together some of the most influential platforms in the digital space to inspire our brands with solutions for the future. This programme aligns with our company’s core mission of building Timeless and Timely brands, with creativity fuelled by diversity, data and technology to drive big brand success,” he quipped as he hurriedly wrapped the discussion before stepping out to deliver one more session at the launch event. His team of two followed his footsteps as they moved out of the room, leaving behind an indication that creativity is now married to technology and cannot stand apart from it.

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