“For a brand to compete today, it needs to constantly inspire, engage, and reach its customers.” – Fred Schuster
The incredible pace at which the advertising and marketing world evolves has always ensured that only the very best can keep up. Today, as rapid technological advances accelerate that rate of change, slimmer marketing budgets make keeping up an even greater challenge. Exceptional foresight and outstanding creativity are crucial to success and to thrive in this arena.
That is why Fred Schuster, CEO of Madras Global, is so successful.
Fred’s brilliant knack for marketing and delivering on cost-effective results has made him one of the world’s most respected marketers. It is a reputation built on hard work and an irrepressible can-do attitude.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
Fred is an inspiring creative and technology-driven business leader with over 20 years of experience pioneering unique approaches to agency network operations, creative and content development and international production delivery.
Over the course of his career, Fred has launched and led four successful global, digital, creative companies: RedWorks Worldwide, Craft Worldwide, Fred&Co, and Madras Global with over $400 million in combined billing.
Fred started his career in 1995 as a Creative Director at Ogilvy where he worked on several major accounts including IBM, American Express, and GlaxoSmithKline.
Ten years later, Ogilvy launched RedWorks Worldwide, their standalone global integrated creative and production company and chose Fred to lead it as the first CEO. Being selected to head an international company at the age of 35 was a momentous achievement and a sign of great things to come.
Under Fred’s leadership, RedWorks delivered top-tier turn-key creative content to over 50 international markets. The company combined this vast reach with creative, low-cost production hubs to develop versatile global execution models for its clients.
In 2011, Fred was approached by McCann Worldgroup to help build and lead a similar content and production business unit which he launched as Craft Worldwide. After that he founded Fred&Co., a global creative operations consultancy where he collaborated with Ad2pro Media Solutions on the operating model that lead to their expanded brand business.
Fred is currently the CEO of Madras Global, a division of Ad2pro. Madras seamlessly weaves emotional brand building and the application of data to drive business performance through automation.
A Wonderful Philosophy for Success
Fred attributes the successes he has enjoyed on his professional journey to the philosophy of 18th-century English poet, Alexander Pope, who said, “Amaze the unlearned and make the learned smile.”
Fred believes that creativity is the most powerful competitive tool an individual can possess in any business, and that the experience he gained as a creative thinker early in his career has been the driving force behind his business leadership and entrepreneurial acumen.
Fred is also inspired by risk takers, both large and small. He has found that the combination of confidence and intuition is what drives a person to believe in themselves and being bold enough to take action is what gives them an edge. That edge is the same, whether it is on a large scale, like Elon Musk and Richard Branson launching commercial rockets, or on a smaller scale, like starting a small business.
Always Challenge the Status Quo
Fred strives to instil in his team the same commitment to out-of-the-box thinking that he employs himself. He has seen how stereotypical mindsets can stifle progress, an especially fatal flaw in the advertising industry.
His advice to individuals who experience the almost-inevitable resistance to change is to remain steadfast in their belief and to persist with the end-goal in mind:
“When someone tries to do something different, not just creatively but operationally, it makes people uncomfortable. Steadfastness is the only answer in this scenario. Sooner or later, people come around.”
Fred’s innovative viewpoint has been vindicated more than once but he reveals that the most satisfying instance was when he met a former colleague from Ogilvy several years after he left the company:
“He gave me one of the best compliments I have ever received when he said, now I understand what you were trying to do. It’s too bad we didn’t help you enough back then. It’s the curse of the entrepreneur.”
About the Company
Madras Global is the first and only Brand Commerce agency of its kind. It operates under a unique new business model that provides creative solutions in near-shore hubs of New York and London, that are cost-effectively executed via its off-shore creative and production teams in Bangalore and Chennai.
“We build continuous content engines for our clients that enable them to remain relevant and provide value,” explains Fred.
As part of its Brand Commerce strategy, Madras Global assists clients with Brand Transformation, Media Amplification, and optimization through Content Automation.
To start, Madras develops strategic and creative ‘bundles’. Each bundle cost-effectively packages strategy, creative, planning, and execution across various media channels that best suit each client’s needs. The individual tactics might include anything from traditional TV and print to customer engagement and OOH to social and digital optimization.
The agency then leverages its proprietary Ad Ops technology platform, JDX, and its resources in India to develop optimization models and deploys the content automation system with close monitoring of their in-market effectiveness.
Under Fred’s leadership, Madras Global has quickly become known for its flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions, combined with business performance. It has grown from one to over 1,000 employees in under a year with a portfolio of clients that include Macy’s, Shark/Ninja, Kork-Ease, Salt Financial, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and many more.