You're talking about this expansive idea of creativity. Can you explain what that actually means in terms of practice?
Bill Kolb: One of the things we take stock of is, we've been 25 years of Worldgroup–what will the next 25 years look like? We very much as an industry have talked about creativity as a function within a group. We say a lot of platitudes and words around creativity is everybody's job. But what [McCann Worldgroup] really wants to do is start to be the irrefutable leader in the business of creativity. And to Alex's point, that horizontality also then allows us to have conversations about, ‘What does that mean in the sense of, what other businesses should we be in?’ Because our industry is fighting over share. We’re not fighting over growth.
How specifically can you do that?
Kolb: The opportunity is to extend what we do. We are fabulous storytellers. That's what we do for a living in many cases. So why don't we have a film studio? I'm proposing that just as an example, but it kind of keeps us as a business from doing the same thing rather than evolving it. What we're talking about is over the next 25 years, what are our chances to not evolve it, but to revolutionize what we do as an industry? Alex's work that he did internally in one of the great companies that lives innovation day in and day out, that's the thinking we need to bring in.
Are we talking about more ways of building agency out or building new disciplines, or is it more like trying to bring new creative solutions to your clients or both?
Kolb: All of the above. The other thing that Alex has is, because of the position he's had, he's driven integrated teams from the physical TV to print to digital. That horizontality across our current businesses is a huge value to drive integration, No. 1, to also drive and elevate what is currently our creative product and it brings a whole new pool of people that he knows that maybe we don't. That's really important as we look to build out Worldgroup for the next 25 years.
Lopez: We really sometimes narrow creativity to the creative product and not the way that we should do the work. Everyone focuses on the what, and what is that end product? But the why and the how is really the fuel that helps to drive that engine. If we're able to get everybody understanding that they are working together to really help to make that happen, I think that unlocks a lot of great potential. At Nike, every one of the 74,000 employees understood that we were there to make athletes better. Regardless of where you were at in the organization, you were there to either help to inspire or to innovate to help make athletes better. That mission statement of bringing innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world is something that every employee could tell you from the sales floor to the corporate suite. That idea of everyone understanding that we're here in service of creativity is vital.
How do you execute that?
Lopez: My job is not isolated to a single thing, a single narrow vertical. My job is to solve complex brand and business problems in the most creative manner possible. Where that has led me over my career has been making great campaigns, but also integrating them across the business, also heading up functions like media planning and media buying and how are we really creative in that space? Brand experience, how do we show up in real life for the consumer? Social media, what is our strategy? Entertainment. Bill talked about, what if Worldgroup created a film studio? I led the creation of the film studio in Nike, Waffle Iron Entertainment. So, I've been really thinking holistically around how we show up is important and really understanding that there is a whole opportunity, a wide breadth of ways that we can be solving branding business problems creatively.
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Can you explain how that evolves the traditional chief creative officer role?
Lopez: It's really taking a look beyond just the end product. A lot of times, we get caught up in the end product and how our copywriters and our art directors are bringing it to life and then how our producers who are making the work are bringing to life that end product. I've never focused so narrowly in that space. I've really been someone who has been connected to the business. What are the business needs? What are the business opportunities? What is our team looking to do? Where are the places where we can grow and where we can expand? And more importantly, where's the consumer and where's the culture?
A lot of times when we've focused solely on that end product, we do it in isolation and we forget all of those other parts. Part of what excited me about coming to Worldgroup is the units that we have—whether it's MRM, whether it's Momentum, whether it's Truth Central—are equipped to really unpack a lot of these things that sometimes get left to the side when all we think about is ‘Let's make a great Super Bowl ad.’ Yes, we want to make a great Super Bowl ad, and we want to drive a real powerful business and brand solution for our partners.
Kolb: One of our top strategic priorities is business transformation. Alex and I have had long conversations about it. This role has to be different. What we've done as an industry for the past 100 years is probably not going to get us to the next 100 years. So, we have a pretty good idea and alignment on what this is going to be. Alex and I and the team will evolve it. We'll morph it, and we'll continue to change because we have to. Like I said, we're continually fighting over share and we're doing the same thing. If you're the chief creative officer at Worldgroup, you're doing the same thing as the CCO at Ogilvy or a CCO at Wunderman Thompson. We're looking to change that because we're looking down the road.
Lopez: Early on, I told Bill, if this is just about coming in and working on with the creative teams, I wasn't interested. Because I think that that shortchanges creativity, and I really am a strong believer that every single employee we have is here to serve through the lens of creativity. I’m in a unique position in that I've sat in the client chair. I've done the type of work that most of them probably want to do. I understand the hurdles that they go through inside. I understand the P&L sheets. I've had to lead, and I've had to oversee P&Ls. I've had to land our quarterly and annual budgets. I've had to do all those things that they've needed to do in the service of making this work. I also know on the other side how hard it is to make work that never actually comes to fruition and understanding how to make the best work in the world that actually is going to see the light of day and connect with consumers is something very unique.