Last month FCB announced that Giorgio Brenna would be joining its Milan office as CEO of FCB Italy, after spending more than a decade at Publicis Groupe.
His arrival marks the latest addition a series of new leadership roles at the agency. In November 2017, Fabio Bianchi and Francesco Bozza came on board as managing partner and chief creative officer, respectively.
In a statement on the announcement, Giorgio commented that a key factor in his decision to join FCB was that “it is a network that still puts people at the center, cultivates great talent and allows creative potential to be realized with powerful platform ideas.”
At a time when advertising agencies are struggling to compete for the best talent against the allure of tech giants and the start-up landscape, LBB’s Alex Reeves asked Giorgio for his perspective on attracting and retaining the best people, in a business that’s all about people.
LBB> What was it about FCB Italy that most attracted you to the role there?
GB> Several months ago, I had reached a point in my career where I felt I had done everything that was possible. More than the dreams that I had had at the beginning of the adventure. I was working with some of the biggest multinational clients across Europe. I had done it all!
So, I decided to stop, go back to study in the US and continue to teach at University in Italy, then see what was next for me.
I only spent three months in this mood, then Carter Murray, Global CEO of FCB and a personal friend of 15 years, called for a new challenge. The challenge was FCB Italy, a very small agency. He wanted to see if I believed that there was a possibility to make FCB Italy a major player in the Italian market. I accepted with enthusiasm. It was an opportunity to restart my job from scratch and go and win the challenge.
Obviously FCB Global, Carter and the global team were key in helping me make this brave decision.
LBB> How would you describe the sort of people that FCB’s agency culture attracts?
GB> FCB attracts people who love challenges, are brave, talented entrepreneurs, people who love this industry and have fun working in it.
LBB> How would you characterize the Italian advertising talent pool? And how do you think the industry can improve it?
GB> Italy is full of talent, with creatives in every industry: Design, Automotive, Fashion, Furniture, Communication.
Over the last three decades our industry has become less attractive in comparison to others for talent. We need to reinforce the freedom to express and the meritocracy in our industry and most importantly stop the financial bureaucracy that ultimately kills creativity.
LBB> How do you spot potential in individuals?
GB> Firstly, you must be a good person, with good positive values. Then personal characteristics should be evaluated, and the potential that this person has. Every one of us has potential inside of us. Our job is to help people to discover the huge potential they have and make it happen.
LBB> What is the key to cultivating talent at each level of seniority?
GB> We have to create a positive ecosystem. An environment that allows and helps talent to flourish, creating big ideas. Talent should be nurtured by innovation, by bravery, by enthusiasm, by freedom, by meritocracy.
LBB> What is the biggest change you would like to make to the industry over the next year?
GB> The biggest change I would like to make in our industry is to create a new attitude, a mental shift: from negative to positive, from bad to good, from ‘yes, but’ to ‘why not?’, from fear to courage, from problems to solutions, and so on.
Globalization, per se, provoked a huge problematic reaction in most of the people living in mature countries. They are terrorized by this oppression beginning so quickly. They have fears about the future, they close doors to protect themselves.
We need people to believe the future is bright. We should be positive and open minded to the new challenges the future will bring us. This is the only way to win again. I believe and hope that our industry can contribute and be one of the key driving forces behind this “necessary mental shift”.