Publicis Groupe’s Cape-based agencies have chosen the East City Precinct as their new home. The agencies and the nearly 500 creative souls that staff them are migrating under one roof with the aim of encouraging collaboration and open source thinking.
The new building is now home to the fourteen specialist agencies including: Arc, Digitas Liquorice, Incentiv, Leo Burnett, MSL, Nurun, Performics, Prodigious, Publicis Machine, Narrative, Saatchi & Saatchi, Moon Walk, Starcom and Zenith.
“The move to The Harrington on Harrington Street comes after the reinvention of the group from a holding company to an open, connecting platform,” says John Dixon, Chief Executive Officer at Publicis Groupe Africa.
According to Dixon, there are fourteen individual cultures within the building that give clients unlimited access to industry experts.
“Our approach is to encourage specialisation and to liberate each brand to have its own distinct culture,” he adds. “While collapsing all our brands into a single, multi-skilled agency would have been the easy thing to do, we believe strongly in the benefit of retaining discipline specialists instead of a single, generalist brand.”
Publicis Groupe globally, however, has four distinct strategies to connect the activities of these specialist brands in a manner that will drive deeper collaboration, cross-agency sharing and insight:
A space that connects.
Dixon explains: “You can’t beat being in the same building. All of our people are based in one amazing space that’s designed to encourage collaboration and sharing.
“All working spaces are part of an open-plan design,” he adds. “There are no offices but rather numerous informal ‘destinations’ or communal areas throughout the agency with comfortable sofas, pods and interesting quirky lighting to encourage collaboration amongst our people. Through these gathering places we drive movement in the agency.
A platform that connects.
“Publicis recently launched Marcel, a proprietary Artificial-Intelligence (AI) enabled platform that connects our 1,600 staff members nationally to our global network,” says Miles Murphy, Chief Executive Officer at Publicis Groupe Africa. “This completely reinvents the way that we work - for ourselves and our clients.”
He adds: “At its core, Marcel was founded in a belief that a connected staff complement leads to higher levels of collaboration, which in turn leads to better work and results for clients.
Data that connects.
“Publicis’ much-vaunted data spine provides a common platform for aggregating first, second and third-party data to create unique customer IDs,” explains Murphy. “This data also connects the outputs of all fourteen specialist agencies to ensure that all communication activities are aligned and supportive of the client’s market drivers.”
Leadership that connects.
In order to ensure that clients benefit from the Group’s collaboration mindset, Sharita Daya has been appointed as Chief Client Officer of Publicis Groupe Africa, taking immediate executive responsibility for Publicis key client relationships. “Sharita joins Publicis from Accenture where she was the Managing Director and Executive Committee member in the Africa Communications, Media and Technology practice,” Dixon says.
“She has extensive experience in transforming diverse teams and has particular expertise in sales growth, business turnarounds and large scale transformation initiatives.
“We believe that appointing a Chief Client Officer that comes from outside of the communications industry is transformative,” Dixon says. “She will help us achieve our twin ambitions; firstly, connecting the activities of our specialist agencies on larger, more integrated clients, and secondly, extending our services beyond communications to more broad-based business transformation.”
The new office space includes state-of-the-art photography, sound and editing suites, two coffee shops that employ hearing impaired barista partners, I Love Coffee, a canteen, auditorium and boardroom facilities which are out of this world (quite literally themed around space and planets).
Founded in 1926, the Publicis Groupe is now the third largest communications group in the world with more than 330 offices in 110 countries.
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