The connected platform at work



Tangible Media

In Association With Publicis Groupe

Over the past two years, having been through the world changing experience of a pandemic, the playing field has shifted. New challenges are facing businesses as a whole and the advertising industry in particular. Businesses such as PUBLICIS GROUPE have innovated and adapted to the circumstances, while others have failed to strengthen their risk mitigation strategies or improve their resilience to a more uncertain and chaotic future. The advertising industry is facing disruption. The pandemic precipitated a tech revolution, resulting in a significant attitudinal change in the minds of working from home employees. At the same time, there has been a hasty rush towards automation, from programmatic ad buying to third-party automation software. There have also been significant societal shifts. Remote working and flexible work hours has changed employee expectations. This has forced companies to adapt their company culture and employee motivation. The demand for efficiencies, has meanwhile, seen a need for more collaboration across sectors but has brought with it the conflicting demands of redundancies and an expertise shortage. Against this background, NZ Marketing put a series of questions to Publicis Groupe CEO, ANZ, Michael Rebelo. 1. HOW HAS PUBLICIS GROUPE EVOLVED IN THE PAST TWO YEARS INTERNATIONALLY AND IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND? Our transformation as a business began back in 2016, long before we had even heard of the word Covid, and as a result, we have been incredibly well positioned for the challenges the last few years have brought. We transformed from a collection of individual entities, into a connected platform of companies and capabilities that don’t operate in silos, but instead multiply our efforts to unlock growth for our clients in a complex world. Our connected platform is made possible by our unique commercial structure – having a single country P&L and Groupe CEO which means we build teams and solutions for our clients with their interests and ambitions at the heart. Pre-covid we acquired market leading media agency MBM and data marketing and CRM business Affinity ID, now renamed Digitas. MBM has continued to dominate the media landscape with back-to-back IAB Agency of the Year wins across 2019, 2020 and 2021, and we also launched Spark Foundry into the market with Westpac as our founding client. Saatchi & Saatchi has gone from strength to strength this year with iconic campaigns, winning both the Axis and Effie Grand Prix’s, and a host of new clients added to the roster. We also launched MSL our global PR firm in 2020, which has already doubled in size. I think we are the only multinational in New Zealand to be acquiring and launching new brands at the level we have over the past two years. Coupled with digital, data and e-commerce acquisitions such as Sapient, Epsilon and Balance Internet we’re the only holding company in Australasia that can deliver end-to-end marketing and digital business transformation solutions to clients with this depth and breadth of capabilities. We’re really excited about how our businesses in New Zealand are performing – we have some new agency leaders such as Lee-ann Morris, Nicky Greville, Mark Cochrane and Gavin Becker who will accelerate our next phase of growth and drive a connected culture. 2. HOW ARE YOU COPING WITH THE TALENT SHORTAGE, ESPECIALLY IN THE DIGITAL TECH SPACE? This year we are experiencing a significant societal recalibration. People are looking at their lives, their purpose, their priorities and thinking twice about how they want to live and work. The big shift for us as an employer has been from creating a great Employee Experience (EX), to a great Life Experience (LX). We are always looking at how we can further align with our people’s diverse, lived experiences. In 2019 we launched a new flexible approach to working called Liberte’ as back then we had started to see a shift in attitudes, and this was exacerbated during the pandemic. This has become a key requirement and expectation of talent today which we are leaning in to with Liberte’. We filled over 600 roles in ANZ last year with great talent – with close to 50 percent of those hires generated as a result of new business wins. We believe the multiple initiatives we have had in place and our commitment to continuous evolution of our talent offering has positioned us well for the current market conditions, and whatever may lie ahead. 3. DIVERSITY AND GENDER REPRESENTATION ARE KEY TOPICS FOR ANY BUSINESS TODAY. HOW HAS PUBLICIS ADAPTED IN AN INDUSTRY HISTORICALLY KNOWN TO BE DOMINATED AT LEAST AT SENIOR LEVEL BY AGING WHITE MALES? For starters, look at me, I’m not your typical white, aging male CEO! Then take a look at our agency leaders across the Publicis Groupe which is an even 50/50 split female to male ratio. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) are vital pillars of our organisation. Our strategy is driven by a genuine belief that when people feel respected, supported and valued they are enabled to deliver stronger solutions. Through our sub-committees such as Viva Women and Egalite, we drive positive change and foster inclusion. One area we, and the industry, need to do more work on is attracting and retaining more female creative leaders. This is a priority right now for us locally and regionally. We have launched programmes to help understand the core challenges as well as foster and nurture aspiring female creative leaders. We have also vastly improved our parental leave benefits and flexibility. 4. BEARING IN MIND THE LOCAL ACQUISITION PROGRAMME PUBLICIS EMBARKED ON IN THE RECENT PAST, HOW HAS THE OBJECTIVE OF INCREASED COLLABORATION AND CROSS AGENCY CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS BEEN ACHIEVED? “Culture eats strategy for Breakfast”. Whilst our connected platform is a unique competitive advantage in terms of its operational design. It’s our connected culture we have built and continue to nurture that is our real strength. Connectivity is a team sport. We are always working at becoming better at authentic collaboration and our efforts are reflected in the quality of work and how this is being received by our client partners. 16 of our top 20 clients now work with three or more Publicis Groupe agencies. Not every client we work with is looking for this model, however for those that do we’re able to offer a truly integrated marketing platform and it’s the multiplier effect this delivers that’s offering the strongest results. 5. OMNICHANNEL MARKETING INVOLVING THE SEAMLESS INTEGRATION OF BRANDING, MESSAGING, AND ONLINE AND OFFLINE TOUCHPOINTS IS TODAY SEEN AS AN ESSENTIAL CONSUMERCENTRIC APPROACH. HOW HAS PUBLICIS MANAGED TO ADAPT TO THIS REQUIREMENT? This complexity facing brands and marketers was the catalyst for our transformation six years ago. We saw this emerging as a core need from marketers and it is essentially at the heart of our strategy. Today we live in a world dominated by big tech platforms. The ability to navigate and orchestrate all the parts required to unlock growth in this platform world is what we do at Publicis. Our agencies can connect in a way that help our clients; find, know, engage, and own customers. The connected platform allows us to offer talent from disciplines across the agencies to solve a problem as one. This is driving not just efficiency, but effectiveness and clients are connecting with us specifically for this experience. The seamless orchestration of marketing specialists to unlock growth for clients is resonating right now. 6. HOW HAVE YOUR CLIENTS’ NEEDS, AND REQUIREMENTS CHANGED SINCE THE PANDEMIC? New Zealand is in a transitional moment across various categories. The changing landscape of transportation and mobility, the way we work, where we work from and the rising cost of living. Financial literacy is an important change moment for customers. Alongside this, sustainability is becoming increasingly mission-critical as we come to terms with the climate emergency. These shifts mean that it’s not just about customer acquisition – its audience orchestration across the full customer experience. And showing we are listening, understanding and in tune with the multiple challenges customers are facing. The trademark optimism of New Zealand is under pressure and we’re finding that consumer confidence is challenged. What’s important is that brands understand that it’s less about selling things and more about working with customers to achieve the things they want in life, cultivating optimism as well as lifting their spirits. Soon, brands will no longer be able to harvest people’s data which means to gain access to personal information, brands need to figure out the value they provide to a consumer. Whether it’s to entertain, educate or as a utility, when brands create products and experiences that enhance people’s lives, it builds trust and brand affinity. And it is through creativity in culture that brands can help drive the spirit of optimism and confidence for New Zealand. For more on how Publicis Groupe can progress your business, email Chief Growth Officer Mark Cochrane