CP+B Taps Henry to Get Creative With Insights

Former BK exec discusses partnering with admen

David Henry may be the new executive director of business insight for Crispin Porter + Bogusky, but he’s already well acquainted with the agency from his previous role as the head of global business and consumer intelligence at Burger King, a former Crispin client. Henry spoke to Adweek about his shift to the agency side of marketing.

Adweek: So what’s it like to cross over to your first agency gig?

It’s great. We’re fortunate to have multi-year relationships with clients, which aligns our interests with their long-term interests. That’s very similar to in-house analytics. But there’s a nice difference in that we’ve got a broad cross-section of clients with different strategic and analytical challenges. That allows us to bring that cross-industry experience and analytics to problem solving with richer insights.

What are your plans for growing Crispin’s business insights practice?

As we work ourselves more and more into the bloodstream of clients, I expect this practice to grow with that. There’s not a hard and fast employee count or deliverable behind it, but as we earn our way in, we can show the value of the insights that this data and unified process bring.

How do data influence a creative solution?

What we try to do is understand business models and consumers, and identify where the opportunities and challenges are. Our role is to work in partnership with creatives in allowing us to focus on where the greatest opportunities are to drive brand and business value. So it’s a focusing thing, it’s an opportunity thing and it’s a maximization tool.

How do you balance Crispin’s strong creative legacy with all this math and science?

It’s about us making sure we’re working on the right problems and we’re directing that creative strength to the greatest opportunities. The role we play is more of a partnership role with creative in providing information and a foundation of knowledge.

How did you change the way Burger King used analytics?

To a large degree, corporate America is very siloed with departmental analytics. The consumer doesn’t see departmental boundaries. We brought the analytics out of the specific departments into one central analytical group. We didn’t have operations problems or marketing problems—we had consumer problems.

What’s the most left-brain thing about you?

From a left-brained standpoint, I love to take business issues and break them down into their fundamental elements and understand what causes performance. From a right-brain standpoint, where analytics is really heading is storytelling. Analytics has too often been columns and rows of data, and where that needs to evolve to is creative narratives. There’s a very creative element in driving action out of insights. Left and right brain both need to be used to maximize the impact of what can be seen simply as raw data.