Former Tribal DDB U.S. Chief Creative Officer Rob Rasmussen (pictured center) has landed a new role as Chief Creative Officer of Story Worldwide. Story has multiple offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia and bills itself as a "global content marketing agency." Although it's not as widely known as big name shops at which Rasmussen previously worked —BBH, R/GA, JWT and Wieden, he says the agency's content-first M.O. is what he's been looking for all along.
"After I left Tribal [in July] I reached this point between being at the best shops in the world, it's not like I needed to go to another agency that may or may not need my contribution," he said. " I thought I wouldn't want to go into any advertising agency as they exist, or go and try to fix somebody else's advertising agency. So I freelanced, worked with people I respected. Through this process it reminded me how much I love to be close to the work and how much the work that's expected of us is changing. I thought L.A. was a place I wanted to go because it has so many storytellers, filmmakers, musicians. The idea of creating brand stories was appealing to me, but then I found Story in New York."
Story was founded by two publishing vets, Global CEO/Chief Storyteller Kirk Cheyfitz (far right), a one-time director/producer hopeful who hung up his entertainment hat and eventually went on to become a Pulitzer-nominated journalist, and Simon Kelly (far left), who has two decades of experience in custom publishing. Informed by its custom pub roots, the agency promotes a "content-first" approach dedicated to finding and communicating the stories that naturally emerge around a brand.
That could mean anything from overhauling an annual report, for Bank of America, using gamification strategies to compel Columbia University alumni to be more generous during a donor drive, convincing Microsoft to launch a brand newsroom (ten years ago), bringing General Mills' Green Giant into the age of social media with the Valley Report blog, and using interactive video to educate an audience about what cross the line into rape, for charity organization The Havens. "We've spent all our lives aligning the objective brand story, with business objectives, with what the audience wants and needs," said Mr. Kelly. "We find that intersection between those three seemingly dissimilar objectives. We think the audience is just as important as the brand."
"Both coming from content-based background-they figured, publishing, creating stories and sticking brands into them doesn't make sense, but content can come from brands," said Mr. Rasmussen. "Brand are stories--if you tell a brand story, that's creating content."
Mr. Rasmussen's appointment to Story's newly-created CCO role fills what the founders say is the missing piece of the agency's offerings. "We bet the farm on helping brands become content publishers and over the last five to seven years, we've created these ecosystems, and the last piece of this is traditional TV and print."
Mr. Rasmussen, whose CV includes notable projects like the "Sincerely, JetBlue" Story Booth campaign out of JWT N.Y., Nike+ and Nike.com work out of R/GA, BBH's global relaunch of Sprite and the celebrated Beta-7 transmedia campaign for Sega, out of W+K, N.Y., will help to steer the agency's new "traditional" offerings while building brands' ongoing stories. "Rob to me has that rare ability to come up with brand narratives that are not in any sense channel-dependent," said Mr. Cheyfitz."His ideas are fabulous because they are conversation-starters."