In just six months, Publicis has created its new approach to emerging markets ‘Publicis One’ and it believes it could be a new model for agencies across the globe.
The advertising holding group announced a huge overhaul to its business in late 2015, perhaps the most dramatic being to put every market outside of its top 20 under one P&L.
In charge of this is former Leo Burnett APAC president Jarek Ziebinski, who is now CEO of Publicis One. With six months under his belt and all markets now fully operational, he’s confident that they’ve not only found a model that works for the group but a model that could become the blueprint for modern agencies.
“I believe that Publicis One is not only the most interesting thing in the group’s restructure but I think it’s the most interesting thing that’s happening in the whole industry.
I believe in three years that this will be the model for the world. All of this nonsense of silos, separation and separate P&Ls will die. Collaboration is the future. We live in a very complex world and we have to organise with all the problems on the agency side being hidden and reserved for us. Clients cannot feel it and the only way we can do that is through collaboration. Leveraging of our assets is what we need to do more of and we have to be smart about how we produce growth and profitability. We have to be competitive in the world for talent and if we don’t improve our financial health, talent will not stay with us,” he said.
Hiding organisational problems from clients is core to the Publicis One model. Putting all the Publicis agencies under one P&L in these markets should, theoretically, mean that talent and resource can be taken from anywhere to get the job done. Each country will have one CEO, rather than multiple CEOs for each agency in each country.
“The way our business has developed over the last 25 years is incredible. It’s fragmented at a rapid pace. We are at the point today where complexity in our industry is like never before and to navigate through this complexity is a nightmare. Clients go to market and they need multiple specialists. How do they find them? Where do they go? How do they create teams of specialists who go and work together? This is all challenges that costs time, costs money, it sucks in resource and this is before you’ve even put a brief on the table,” he explained.
The group’s restructure aims to be client-first and included the creation of new group-level ‘chief client officer’ roles.
“I met one of my clients and we were having a chat and he said, ‘you know how I spent my day yesterday? I had to meet five agencies in five separate meetings and I had to brief them separately because they couldn’t be in the same room at the same time. If you could do it in one room, one meeting and I could brief in one go... If you could come back to me in a few weeks with a proposition that is an integrated solution that is organised and synchronised, then I will give you all of my business’,” he said.
This doesn’t, however, mean the end to each of the individual agencies. Separate cultures and brands are what helps drive talent, according to Ziebinski.
“We believe in our brands; Leo Burnett, Saatchi and Saatchi, Publicis, Zenith and Starcom are powerful brands and they will be in our portfolio under the Publicis One umbrella because they offer huge value to us, to our clients and they are aspirational for talent. The brands will remain. As much as we want collaboration and integration, we also need separation and walls because we have to respect our client’s confidentiality and interests,” he added.
Ziebinski has a complicated task of overseeing a range of markets that are vast in their diversity. His experience in APAC, an enormously varied region, is paramount to his new role, according to Ziebinski.
He remains enthused about the market he's called home for the past seven years; “The economical center of gravity will be somewhere between India and China before the year 2040. You cannot ignore what is happening with global demography, the numbers are overwhelming and you cannot ignore them. It will dictate the future economy. Being in Asia is like being in the entrance to the future. It gives immediate opportunities but it needs a longer term perspective to build and establish a base because this is where your future will come from."
While the economical center of gravity may be shifting east in his view, Ziebinski is actually doing the opposite and soon leaves Singapore to lead Publicis One from his new home of Paris.