Futurebrand Australia makes first senior hire under new ownership to cater for shifting customer expectations

Brand transformation agency FutureBrand Australia has hired former London-based PwC experience director, Stephen Barber, to the position of brand experience director with immediate effect.

Curtis has made his first senior hire as owner of FutureBrand Australia

The hire is the first senior appointment for Futurebrand Australia since the business was brought into local ownership from IPG by CEO Rich Curtis in July this year.

Barber has 20 years of industry experience including customer experience leadership roles at PwC and Interbrand globally and has also previously served as director of digital strategy for Futurebrand London.

Curtis told Mumbrella, “What we’re finding is that changing customer expectations are reshaping how businesses are managing their brands. So capabilities like brand experience are helping us strengthen the link between brand purpose and everyday experience for our clients.

“You could say that our further investment in this capability now is a sign of us concentrating our efforts to help our clients adapt to the changing market.”

Curtis added, “We’ve been working with Barber [on a contract basis] on several client projects since the start of the year and his contribution has shown how valuable this capability is to our clients and their growth.”

Barber joins FutureBrand Australia having worked at PwC and Interbrand in the UK previously

Barber said, “Joining Futurebrand Australia makes perfect sense for me right now. Following the acquisition, the company has the best of both worlds: local, specialist expertise combined with the relationships and resources of FutureBrand globally, which I know well.”

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Curtis told Mumbrella the agency was still seeing growth and that the transition from APAC operation of a global agency to independent agency had so far gone smoothly.

“Both current and prospective clients have been very supportive – they seem to buy into the idea that I believe in the FutureBrand business so much that I literally bought into it,” he said.

“While it means we’re independently minded, we also have the global relationships and resources of Futurebrand worldwide, so I keep hearing from people that we have the ‘best of both worlds’.

“Times might be tough amid the pandemic but the response has only reaffirmed my belief in never standing still. As for how we might continue to evolve and expand, we know that branding is no longer simply a linear process – what’s more, we know it goes beyond marketing. That’s just the start of a bigger discussion but those are just a couple of the insights that are informing our own growth and evolution.”

Futurebrand Australia’s current client list includes Air Trunk, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, Flight Centre Travel Group, Football Marketing Asia, New Zealand Natural, New Payments Platform, Vocus and Zenitas.


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