Possible has made a strategic move by hiring Zach Gallagher as its chief strategy officer, Americas. Gallagher will report to Brandon Geary, global chief strategy officer and will work in partnership with the Americas leadership team out of the Los Angeles office.
Gallagher comes to Possible from Deutsch LA, where he was EVP of digital strategy, leading marketing efforts for VW and Taco Bell. Before Deutsch, he was director of interactive strategy and emerging platforms at Wieden+Kennedy and previous to that he held executive level strategy positions at IPG Media Lab, TBWA Chiat/Day, Saatchi and MRM.
“At Possible, we believe culture is key and great culture is about hiring and grooming amazing talent,” said Jason Burby, Possible’s president of Americas. “Zach is imminently qualified for this role and has some stellar work under his belt but more importantly he’s an incredible leader with a deep understanding of what our clients and our people need to propel them forward. We’re excited to see what comes next with Zach at the helm of our Americas strategy group.”
At Possible, Gallagher will be tasked with bringing the company’s content, commerce and customer experience management strategies to the company and clients, driving growth, furthering strategic tools, identifying new opportunities for growth and developing and leading the Americas Strategy Group.
Gallagher made the move to Possible for several reasons, a big one being that he was impressed with the staff at the agency.
“I've always found that the best moves in my career have been chasing people that I want to work with and everybody that I met at Possible have this really collaborative, open, not calcified vibe to them – a real openness to working differently and then an openness to continue to change and evolve as the world around us changes. I just clicked with everybody that I talked to,” said Gallagher.
Another reason for the change was that he felt insulated from the business and the accountability to the business after working so long at big brand agencies.
“When you're thinking about all the different things that you can do with people in digital, I like to be on the same page with a client in thinking about how we're going to drive the business. I was looking to move upstream in that accountability chain and in talking to Possible, they were leading with data and inspiring. I love creativity and creative that connects with people emotionally, but I also love the idea of finding insights into different places — and looking at data as a place to find insights not just as a report card for the work was something that was really intriguing to me,” he added.
Gallagher comes to Possible with a uniquely diverse background, with strategy at the center but with deep digs into the digital realm, creativity, accounts and management. It’s that broad spectrum that has allowed him to see things strategically.
“I came in through this UX information architecture background. It's a really strategic way of looking at the world and putting yourself in people's shoes as they go through an experience that you're trying to create,” he said, also saying that he gravitated towards creativity but when positions came open in the strategy area, he felt comfortable in that arena, especially as the industry waded deeper into the digital realm.
No matter which position he, or anyone else, may hold in an agency setting, Gallagher believes that being able to put yourself in the client’s shoes and understand what drives them and their business is extremely important.
“Having that understanding of what you need your work to do and what you need it to achieve I think keeps you from turning into just sort of off in the clouds trying to create art when really what we're trying to do is drive commerce. We're trying to sell stuff, bottom line,” he said, adding that there is room for art in marketing so long as it doesn’t get in the way of business.
Since Gallagher will continue to be based in LA, he has a perspective that leads from the Left Coast.
“I think the convergence of content, and entertainment, and tech that are happening here, it's forcing everybody to make connections that they wouldn't normally have made and to start partnering with people that maybe wouldn't be something that you'd think to do in the past. I think collaborations are going to become more and more the norm. Being in LA, we have access to some pretty amazing collaborations, whether it's with platforms, or influencers, or entertainment properties – there's a lot going on in LA that we can bring to bear for clients across my purview,” he said.
Ultimately, Gallagher is excited to start his tenure at Possible, working closely with those on his team and the global team, including Burby, Daniel Chu, Geary, Shane Atchison and Danielle Trivisonno Hawley. He wants to discover the strengths of each office and reach across global boundaries to include the best people within the Possible network to solve client problems.
“I want to be able to come at each problem a little bit from scratch and have an understanding of, ‘Let's put the right person on this based on the problem we need solved not based on which office they work in,’ and it's really exciting to be able to think that way with Possible,” Gallagher concluded.
Additional reporting by Doug Zanger.