Within the context of Publicis Groupe’s broader restructure, Publicis Media was born to simplify the group’s media offering while leveraging a more modern definition of scale.
“Although it’s become so much more complex, media has always been about scale and insight,” said Steve King, CEO of Publicis Media. “We weren’t leveraging that scale effectively.”
Publicis Media debuted in late 2015, just months before the ANA and K2 released a scathing investigation into agency nontransparency. It was a fraught environment, but Publicis Media had a clean slate to launch with positioning around trust, King said.
“The timing was fortuitous because we set up a new business,” King said. “We don’t have investments in ad tech, barter companies or positions in principal media, so that positioning around trust was timely, credible, deliverable and differentiating.”
Still, as with any major business overhaul, there are challenges. Chief among them are attracting affordable tech and data-savvy talent to media-buying agencies and retaining that talent during bouts of consolidation and restructuring.
“Churn is a huge issue for us,” King said. “Amongst young millennials, churn is the most concerning. We’re in a highly competitive sector.”
Although it’s been a long road for Publicis, the transformation is far from over.
“When people think about transformation, they think, ‘The butterfly is going to come out of its cocoon, and it’s done,’” King said. “The reality is transformation is ongoing.”
He spoke with AdExchanger ahead of his appearance Thursday at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference.
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