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No Silo, No Solo, No Bozo

On December 2nd, Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy made a big announcement via YouTube. In the 20-minute video, Mr. Lévy states that Publicis Groupe is changing the way it works to better serve clients by “putting our organization upside down, reversing our model, and tearing down our silos.” To accomplish a new forward-thinking model that puts the client at the center of the organization, Publicis Groupe is being divided into four divisions:

1.     Publicis Communications

2.     Publicis Media

3.     Publicis.Sapient

4.     Publicis Healthcare

Each of the new hubs will leverage shared tools, platforms, and back-office services to simplify the processes and improve costs without compromising the crux of the business, says Mr. Lévy.

The Service Provider Landscape
This new reorganization comes at a time when many organizations are realizing the need to change internal and external business models and processes to reflect the ways in which customers are interacting with businesses, and not the other way around. It makes sense then, that Publicis and its subsidiaries are changing the way they work to reflect these same principles. As service providers begin to embrace both the philosophy and practice of customer experience management, helping clients reorganize and realign to match customer journeys, service providers are having to look internally at the way they themselves are organized to facilitate services.

But does Publicis Groupe’s reorganization truly fit a new customer-centric model?

In the past, it was not uncommon for Publicis Groupe companies to come up against one another in bids for RFPs – for example Razorfish and DigitasLBi competing against each other to win the same deal. So combining similar agencies under one title – Publicis.Sapient – seems like a logical solution to lessen inter-agency competition and leverage resources on a wider plane. It also, in theory, makes sense to combine practices that focus on the client, rather than organizing practices that were assemled to serve some internal org chart.

In order to leverage this new re-organization in an effective manner, however, the Groupe will have to change not only the way they work but also how they think about projects and how they execute those solutions across teams. As AdAge recently wrote, perhaps Publicis is dropping one siloed way of working for another.

The motto Mr. Lévy employs in his latest video is “No Silo, No Solo, No Bozo.” From what we can interpret, Publicis means to break down internal silos, work together, and no one will be a fool. The new reorganization is a big move for Publicis Groupe. The trick, however, is not in catchy slogans or well thought out perceptions, but of course in creating a new reality in which people from across the organization can re-direct the ways in which they work, and develop new processes by which to live.

It is one thing to state that a transformation is occurring, another entirely to work out the details and practices involved in bringing such a transformation to life. Given language barriers, geographical differences, and even regional and network differences, it seems somewhat farfetched that diverse teams from across networks and across the world will come together under one roof to work for a single client. After all, the networks that are currently set-up are organized regionally, and by talent and by agency – for a reason. But it’s not to say Publicis Groupe’s DNA can’t be altered. The true test will lie in whether an organization as large as Publicis, along with its newly created subdivisions and its subsidiaries, can transform its practices to fit the needs of clients in reality. Or will these new divisions just reinforce the silos that already exist, but in a different way? Only time will tell but we’ll be keeping a close eye on this transformation over the coming weeks and months.

For more information on service providers from Publicis Groupe, or other networks, see our coverage of the landscape here. Have questions? You can reach us here.


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