Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis, made a major announcement about the organisation of the Publicis Groupe yesterday – see the video below:
There have been a swath of article and opinions over the last 24 hours regarding whether this is the right or wrong move, comparing to Martin Sorrell’s organisation of client teams at WPP and other smaller more independent agency models. I don’t think we can dictate whether this will be a success or a failure until we see the organisation in action and clients have seen their teams evolve and integrate new skillsets into those with whom they work on a daily basis. And this is what clients should be asking for and expecting – a major announcement like this, as Maurice so beautifully puts it, has to happen in reality (perception or communication) is not enough – I would hope that the major multinational clients will now be engaging with their newly appointed ‘Chief Client Officer’ and looking at how they can quickly gain access to other brands/agencies/offerings within the Groupe without a major increase in fees.
What concerns me most about the new structure is the ongoing separation between the creative (content) agencies and their sister networks the media groups. In this new world of communication we are no longer in a relay race where the baton can be handed off at different steps a long the journey (particularly in digital channels) and hence the IMVHO integration of creative and media is a needed step forward.
Listening carefully to the announcement he did mention the fact that, where possible, client teams across all divisions would be housed together – a massive step to counter the challenge defined above, but without an aligned on business model and fee structure this possibly doesn’t go far enough. Publicis Groupe shareholders will be keen to see efficiencies in the business but not a drop in revenue that could affect the share price.
As someone with a love-hate relationship with the agency world, I can only applaud a group that is trying to find its way into a new era of business – whether this is the right solution only time will tell; the proof of the pudding is in the eating and that is up to the clients.
The press release regarding the new organisation and nominations is available here.