ICrossing on Tuesday appointed Patrick Stern as its first ever chief creative officer. A veteran creative director from R/GA and TBWA\Chiat\Day Media Arts Lab, Stern is tasked with forging a global creative practice for the Hearst-owned direct marketing agency. We spoke with him about how he plans to do that and where iCrossing will draw the line between marketing and publishing.
ClickZ: How much work lies ahead in creating a global creative practice for iCrossing? Is it a matter of hiring people in the right places or simply redistributing resources?
Stern: It’s a matter of hiring great people in some key roles and building out some disciplines more fully – like copywriting. There will be some entirely new skills introduced to the agency based on client opportunities as well.
CZ: How many people do you think will ultimately be involved in that practice?
Stern: That depends on how we do in the next year! I certainly expect creative to continue to grow.
CZ: What are the practice's first projects likely to be?
Stern: I’m focused on two areas in the short-term: opportunities within Hearst to help grow the business here and make it more innovative and interesting to our top clients; and opportunities with our biggest and best existing global clients. One of the reasons I was attracted to this role is the phenomenal list of clients both iCrossing and Hearst bring to the table. Most agencies don’t have access to the breadth and quality of the client list we have here.
CZ: Will you be focusing at first on doing global projects for existing clients or pitching new global clients?
Stern: I will be doing both. My focus for the first several months will be on growing our U.S. business – and specifically building the New York office. Our global business is growing quickly and I’ll obviously be very interested in some of our bigger clients in other key markets.
CZ: Will you have any involvement with the publishing side of Hearst?
Stern: We’ll be involved in a range of things at Hearst including the publishing business. If you think about what Hearst brings to the table, it’s audiences. We can provide a lot of value with in terms of both understanding audiences and, if I do my job, creating big ideas for audiences through digital channels.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014