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So You’re Going to Transform Your Business? Who’s Going to Staff It?

by Lindsay Stein

One of the hottest areas in marketing is business transformation, but the companies in the space aren't often equipped to find the talent for marketers to help execute the solutions. Flock Associates and executive search firm Grace Blue are out to fill that gap with a strategic partnership.

Flock works with marketers to get their structures and processes in place, while Grace Blue helps brands and agencies bring in chief marketing officers, creative talent and other high-level hires. One of Grace Blue's recent talent placements includes Ari Weiss, who joined DDB as North American chief creative officer in February.

Last year, McDonald's brought in Flock to change the way it works with agencies and "set up to win for this very complex world we're living in," former McDonald's USA Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl previously told Ad Age. Flock worked with the fast-feeder to build a new agency ecosystem, or "the agency of the future," which resulted in Omnicom creating a dedicated shop named We Are Unlimited. The agency, led by DDB, brought in talent from other Omnicom shops, as well as The Marketing Store (TMS), Facebook, Google, Twitter, Adobe and The New York Times' T Brand Studio.

"Part of what we do is go in and restructure marketing, and then we do the processes and help [clients] find the right agencies, and once we set the structure, they need the right talent in place," said Simon Francis, CEO of Flock.

Jay Haines, founder of Grace Blue, said the process of hiring CMOs "has to change to reflect the needs of modern day consumers," and those individuals don't always come from the marketing services side. He added that the landscape is complicated right now and the talent world is changing, with brands and agencies competing against one another and management consultancies for the best creative talent, digital gurus and marketing executives.

"We want to make sure that clients are built and charged for the next 10 years," said Haines.

Neither Grace Blue or Flock bought one another. The partnership has a financial element to it, but the partners declined to dicuss details.

Last spring, Grace Blue, created a global partnership with consultancy and mergers and acquisitions adviser SI Partners to help companies keep up with the ever-evolving digital technology and creative markets. The new alliance with Flock will be kept separate from Grace Blue's work with SI Partners.

Ad Age