Like many companies in Adland, Publicis Groupe has had to implement extraordinary cost measures during the pandemic as organic revenues have declined through the first half of the year.
And company CEO Arthur Sadoun said those measures and the firm’s overall strategy and focus have helped it maintain sound financial footing to get through the crisis.
Clients, he says, “are asking for the same things now as they were asking for pre-crisis.” That said, he adds “there is now a sense of urgency” to accelerate ongoing initiatives.
He points out that over the last few weeks, the company has seen an increased demand for the capabilities that have driven its strategy in the last few years: first-party data, “breakthrough” creativity and digital-first media and technology.
Sadoun believes the Groupe stood apart from its holding company rivals during the crisis with some innovations, specifically its Cannes Do Awards which served as an internal motivation tool and The Pact, a media package aimed at small to mid-sized businesses that guarantees results.
He also cites the launch of Marcel as a notable accomplishment, particularly since the platform has proven critical during the crisis. It went from a “nice to have” to “must-have” tool, he says. He remains an active user and says one particularly useful feature has been its ‘Gigs’ portal that enables anyone to accept an open assignment. Sadoun also states 18,000 U.S. employees participated in its seven-hour program devoted to racial justice and inclusion.
Diversity continues to remain a top priority within the company. “We are not going to fix in months what has been an underlying problem for years,” he explains. However, his previously announced three-year plan will hopefully result in making a “meaningful impact.”
While Sadoun is optimistic about the Groupe’s financial recovery post Covid-19, his top concerns regards his team’s anxiety. The level of stress and their mental health needs attention, he feels. He recognizes people experienced isolation and uncertainty during the lockdown, and may now be struggling with burnout and general anxiety.
He hopes to boost morale in the coming days and weeks. This Friday Sadoun will fly to New York City to meet with local Groupe leaders for an outdoor meeting. Sadoun says he is “happy to see people.”