Publicis Groupe's Latest Strategic Plan

Eight years ago, Publicis Groupe was considered a leader in digital services. Since then, however, the world has evolved.

"The value equation is changing," said Maurice Levy, CEO, Publicis Groupe. "When they say I want more for less, we cannot say the client is stupid. We have to say okay and have to organize ourselves. We have to get more efficient and get to a new value chain, and to help the client in business transformation." 

Today, Publicis unveiled its 65-slide Bastille Day strategic plan that executives say will enable the holding company to thrive in this disruptive world.

"The network is moving to an empowered and consumer-focused age and a convergence — screens rather than channels — age," says Levy. 

The core of this model delivers a new framework that combines insights, strategy, creativity, consulting, technology, content, execution and measurement. Rather than silo expertise into specific agencies, Publicis' new client integration models will provide unified access to the best of Publicis Groupe.



As such, clients will be able to work across all agencies: Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, Starcom Media Group, Zenith Optimedia Group, MSL Group, and Publicis Healthcare Communications Group.

In addition, there will be a new united global platform that will connect to a wide variety of technology and data partners, including Adobe and Acxiom, as well as a united partnering point for critical e-commerce enablers, such as Hybris and IBM.

This plan focuses on four key points of differentiation. First, to creatively tell stories and build brands that consultants do not have. Second, to identify, segment and distribute stories across screens, which neither tech platforms nor consultants can. Third, to deliver tech enablement, commerce and CRM at scale that other holding companies and consultants cannot. Finally, offer the ability to deliver today to get the client to tomorrow with deep knowledge of brands and consumers emotion that consultants have not.

"We built the strongest hard-to-duplicate portfolio of digital assets for the digital age," says Levy. "No one can match. No one. We are uniquely positioned to deliver."

Publicis' recent acquisition of Sapient is key to this transformation. "It is moving us from a digital leader to marketing business leader," says Levy. "As soon as the business acquisition closes, we will have 50% of our revenue from digital and we will have a massive acquisition of business talent."

Once the proposed acquisition is completed, added Levy, "Publicis will be uniquely positioned to help all clients with true depth of expertise in all key areas for the future of marketing. It will organize in modern ways and work with the best of technology platforms and data to ensure our clients win in the converged era and empowered age."

One advantage to the Sapient operational structure, said Levy, is its open platform, which enables it to work with outside parties, such as Adobe. 

Still, emerging markets aren't as essential to its future growth plans, since Levy says it is too hard to predict their growth. He also says Publicis will continue to invest in other agencies. "The minority vs. majority investment question is something we struggle with all the time. We see it kind of like watchdogs and lighthouses. They let us watch what is happening and allow us to see the next wave," he noted.  "We decide according to the best interest in our clients where we have to put the money. We prefer not to bet on only one way."

Looking forward, December 10 marks the end of the initial 20 business day tender offer period for the Sapient acquisition, which is expected to be renewed until all conditions precedent are satisfied. 

By 2018, Publicis expects 50% of its revenue will come from digital, 35% from emerging channels, and 10% overlap for a total of 75%. This transformation will lead to more than $1 trillion in billings in the coming years through $134 billon from consulting, $400 billion in marketing this form of new storytelling and content, and $900 billion in technology solutions.

3 comments about "Publicis Groupe's Latest Strategic Plan".
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  1. Richard Fielding from Kantar Media, December 4, 2014 at 5:05 p.m.

    WPP call this "Horizontality" and have been doing this for a number of years already. They're a little late to the party on this one I feel.

  2. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, December 5, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

    Noteworthy here is that the statements of purpose are fairly straightforward. Levy and his management team have separated what their agencies expertise enables them to do that consulting firms don't - creative. and distribution of the creative to targeted audiences. There are no buzzwords around "synergy," "scale," and so on. This is a plan that acknowledges the changes affecting advertising and marketing communications, with a vision for making the most of it going forward. Now to execute on it.

  3. Gil Bashe from Makovsky, December 10, 2014 at 4:39 p.m.

    "When they say I want more for less, we cannot say the client is stupid. We have to say okay and have to organize ourselves. We have to get more efficient and get to a new value chain, and to help the client in business transformation."

    Storytelling is as old as the pre-common era great Greek authors and 18th Century Hasidic leaders. What's new is that much like drug developers seeking to recap their tremendous investment for medical innovation, business leaders are saying -- "That model doesn't work for us." Maurice Levy is just telling it as it is -- marketers are under pressure to control costs and improve customer connection -- they are sharing that angst with us. Maurice is looking at what matters most to clients. Insightful.

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