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Action at Publicis Network: New talent, new units, new global positioning

24-October-2007
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Action at Publicis Network: New talent, new units, new global positioning

A string of changes at all levels – new units, new people and a new direction in a sense – have been unveiling steadily at the Publicis Network India. In April last year, Publicis Network was in a transition stage, where the brands Ambience and Zen had begun integrating wholly with the Publicis brand name. While this had kicked in a broad change at various levels in the Network, in the last few months, Publicis has also seen senior talent coming on board in all of its agencies.

This has been coupled with the launch of various new units like design specialist Red Lion; digital agency Publicis Modem and Publicis Healthcare – the latter two would be launched soon.

The result: October 2007 sees a new Publicis Network in India. Nakul Chopra, MD and CEO, Publicis Network, explained, “We have now completed this transition in all respects. There are certain boundaries within which you have to operate when the Ambience part is alive, or the Zen part is alive. What has happened in earnest is the process of creating an organisation that doesn’t work within those boundaries.”

Chopra believes that the people power can make all the difference to the ‘Publicis vision’, and that the top management with the new hands have accelerated the process of fresh thinking in the organisation. He said, “Leaders of the various agencies of the Network work very closely to bring in best practices in the Network. The first change that I see with these people is a buoyancy in spirits, and in the Network thinking.”

He elaborated that a sense of purpose was emerging at Publicis Network, and that there was clarity in the direction ahead. “We are at Bali next month for a Publicis Asia session, where we would unveil our new global positioning,” said Chopra. What would be India’s role in this? Chopra replied, “Publicis has earmarked 16 markets, either by current size or potential, as important focus areas, and India is one of them. India is active both as a recipient and as a contributor to key decisions such as these.”

Another point that Chopra makes is that in the current structure, every unit is placing clear focus on team work. “The credo of the board is that we have stars in the team, but they work as part of the team. What you see across Publicis Network now is a much more collective and collaborative style of working. We have the strongest team, and I say that because everyone here is playing on a team,” explained Chopra.

Very recently, Publicis Group added Capital Advertising to its Network. Chopra explained that since it had been decided for Capital to be a standalone group agency, so far it had not had a direct impact on the group. He added, “It is a Network agency, and since it is a creative agency, there is a sense of competition as well. How we approach group companies is ‘compete when you have to and cooperate when you can’.”

He also divulged that the Publicis Network was growing steadily at over 25 per cent. This year some units like Publicis Ambience are looking at 40 per cent growth already. Individual units like Red Lion, who have clients like Taj, Vogue and Bisleri among others, are also contributing to the group.

Some of the changes that the group has seen in its top management in the last few months are Aniruddha Banerjee coming in as COO and President of Publicis Ambience. Hemant Misra has joined as COO and President of Publicis India. Param Saikia, the then COO of Publicis India, as moved to head Publicis Dialog. Saikia would also head Publicis Modem, the soon-to-be-launched digital agency from the group. The board also saw the elevation of Partha Sinha to a broader role as the Regional Strategist, Publicis APAC.

Soon after, these leaders started creating their own teams and launched new offices. Where Publicis Ambience saw Prasanna Sankhe and Ashish Khazanchi coming as NCDs and Kaushik Tiwari launching the south operations for the agency, Publicis India saw Emmanuel Upputuru coming as NCD. The list only got longer in the following months. Not to mention, Publicis has seen changes at the international level in the same period. Asia saw a change in guard with Publicis Worldwide promoting Matthew Godfrey and Calvin Soh to lead Publicis Asia, as Guillaume Lévy-Lambert prepares to shift to a non-executive role after 10 years as regional chairman. Godfrey became CEO, while Soh became Vice-Chairman.

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