Bidding Goodbye to Legacy Agencies: The End of One-Way Communications

“We cannot be an agency anymore — it’s a word from the 1950s,” say Fred & Farid (Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart), Founders and CEOs in announcing the name change of the global award-winning independent creative boutique network they created ten years ago. The company’s name, logo, partnerships, bureaux, way of working and startup investment platform will now change from Fred & Farid Group to FF, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai and Paris.

“Legacy one-way communications have been superseded by a new relationship between companies and buyers. Instead of entering into a simple transaction for goods and services with a brand, consumers want a closer relationship with the companies with which they do business,” Fred Raillard continues. “They are becoming part of the brand’s DNA. This creates a ‘community of the brand,’ which you can think of as a triangle composed of the consumer, the brand and the company, with the company in the center, at the apex.” .

Farid Mokart, adds, “The pace of change in the digital world is vertiginous, the cycles of obsolescence are accelerating, and the world of marketing and communications has changed profoundly since we founded our agency as Fred & Farid a decade ago. Communications agencies must therefore change their creative structures to survive.”

The New Creative Model

Fred & Farid believe creativity is the result of cross-thinking, and they apply that principle across the more than 30 different industries with which the group is connected. “Creativity needs cross-fertilization,” Fred Raillard says. “Whatever we learn in one industry we can apply to the others. The greater the number of creative minds we have working on a customer brief, the more readily we can identify and develop the emotional connection between a brand and its audience.”

Cross-fertilization takes many forms at FF. For example, since its inception, the network has invested in startup companies directly aligned with its communications objectives. As part of its transformation, FF will broaden its investment outreach to include tech trends which have a deeper impact on society. That includes companies working in such related fields as lifestyle, wellbeing, sport and diet. “As Business Angels, we have invested in about 30 companies. We’re not classic Venture capitalists; we are creative investors, putting money behind inspiring entrepreneurial dreams,” says Farid Mokart.

Additionally, across its network of offices, FF is enlarging its partnership networks. FF Shanghai intends to integrate fifteen franchised creative companies, as well as “satellite talents.” These integrated companies will then add the FF logo to their name: Hard Candy, a Chinese social media platform, will become FF Hard Candy. The company is on its way to signing deals with some fifteen additional companies, doubling the workforce to some 200 people.

Creativity Has Many Sources

Creativity in this new world of communications is more democratic. “Creative ideas don’t come just from those who think of themselves as the ‘creative staff’. It’s about stimulation, provocation, and human connection. It’s about nurturing creative minds, without borders,” says Farid Mokart. “A necessary element in creativity is becoming comfortable with discomfort,” Fred Raillard adds.

Wednesday mornings begin with an FF Creative Breakfast, Friday afternoons end with FF Drinks at the FF offices, to which the entire team is welcome, featuring invited guest speakers from a creative field (Startups, CEOs, art directors, production companies…) who will address community members and answer questions about his or her work and inspiration.

But at the center of FF’s creative discomfort lies a certain harmony, reflected in the new FF logo. It symbolizes the company’s creative DNA: two Fs superimposed, sitting in the center of nine perfect squares. The logo rests upon the perfect Feng Shui number 9: the width of each line is 1/9 of the length, resulting in 9x9x9 — signifying unity and perfection. Says Fred,“We are very conscious of the symbols and messages we create.” Nothing is by accident.




CREATIVE / CULTURE AGENCY. Purpose driven company based in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai.

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CREATIVE / CULTURE AGENCY. Purpose driven company based in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai.

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