Allan Barr new CEO of Scottish marketing consultancy BIG

29 April 2020 4 min. read
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Scotland-based marketing consultancy BIG has unveiled its new Chief Executive Officer. Allan Barr has been promoted to the role, while the firm has also made notable appointments to its Board and Director team.

Marketers face a dual challenge in the current economy. In addition to navigating an increasingly complex and competitive operating environment, they must also grapple with a new leaner era, where marketing budgets are more constrained amid the turbulence of Covid-19, and they must always be able to demonstrate quantifiable value of their work. Marketing consultancies are able to take advantage of this, due to their unique blend of creative capacities and analytical capabilities.

Founded in 2000, BIG Partnership is a marketing advisory firm with four offices across the UK, including its Glasgow headquarters, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Aberdeen. The consultancy has clients in almost every sector, and its services include public relations, marketing, creative, digital, crisis communications, branding, websites, design, event management, copywriting, stakeholder engagement and video production.

Allan Barr new CEO of Scottish marketing consultancy BIG

As BIG looks to build a solid platform to launch its next phase of growth from, the firm has announced the appointment of its first Chief Executive Officer, in the shape of Allan Barr. According to BIG Chairman Malcolm McPherson, the creation of the CEO role is “a significant element” in BIG’s plans for continued growth, driving forward a range of additional steps to strengthen its position as a rapidly expanding agency.

McPherson said, “In Allan, we’ve got a Chief Executive who cares passionately about BIG, our clients and our team. He has played a central role in the company’s success over the past decade and more and has an in-depth understanding and knowledge of all sides of the business – PR, digital, marketing and creative. He is the right person to lead us on the next stage of our evolution to become one of the UK’s leading integrated marketing and communications agencies.”

Having joined BIG as an Account Director in 2007 – after working in senior communications roles with Big Four professional services companies KPMG and PwC – Barr joined the Board in 2010, and was named the firm’s Director of Digital, Design and Marketing. Over the last few years, this has seen him spearhead BIG’s diversification into digital, marketing and design, working closely with teams throughout the business.

Commenting on trends in the industry, Barr said, “At its heart, BIG has always been a creative agency and the talent within the business is stronger than it has ever been. We made the strategic decision to invest heavily in digital marketing and creative services over a decade ago and during that time BIG has evolved from being a PR-led business into a true full-service agency. Over the last few years, we have witnessed an increasing trend of clients looking to take advantage of a one-agency approach. There are huge efficiencies to be gained from a client perspective, and given the current climate, I anticipate that trend will accelerate.”

Elsewhere, the holistic marketing firm has also appointed Associate Directors Gayle Grant and Euan Blair as full Board Directors, and promoted account director Charlene Sweeney to Associate Director. Gayle Grant arrived at BIG in 2010, and is the firm’s Head of Energy, based in the company’s Aberdeen office, while Euan Blair joined in 2015 and now leads the agency’s digital marketing team and creative studio. Charlene Sweeney, who heads some of BIG’s most prominent PR clients, joined BIG in 2010 after a successful career in journalism with Scottish Television, the Sunday Herald and The Times.

McPherson added on their appointments, “Both Gayle and Euan have made significant contributions to the growth and development of BIG and we believe their knowledge and energy as full board members will be major assets for us over the coming years. Charlene Sweeney is also one of Scotland’s leading PR operators and her promotion recognises the central role she plays at BIG.”