cannes lions 2022

Holding company chiefs on transformation

As Cannes Lions kicks off we ask the global CEOs on the urgent need for change

By jeremy lee

Chaos. Absolute bloody chaos.

Well that's what the naysayers would have you believe. In truth, and compared to previous generations, the current state of flux in the world, with global instability and soaring inflation, is perhaps, to many, more of an inconvenience rather than a seismic shift in the future of humanity.

Change is, after all, a constant - it would be a very boring world otherwise. But that hasn't stopped an entire industry being built around the concept of "business transformation" (billable per hour) - as if that hasn't been something that hasn't been happening since the dawn of time.

Nonetheless, the need for the advertising business to undergo periodical transformation to adapt to changing times, tastes and needs is apparent (as it always has been). And this needs to come from the very top.

With that in mind, we asked the current crop of chiefs of the holding companies to tell us how they are reframing their businesses to adapt and evolve this during this current period of change and evolution.

Arthur Sadoun, Global CEO and Chairman of Publicis Groupe

We know all too well that when the unpredictable happens, chaos happens, sometimes in our professional and sometimes in our personal lives. During times of chaos, we cannot just retreat to legacy models for solutions, but instead need to be open to Experimentation, Specialisation and Collaboration, anchored in radically transparent communication. At Publicis Groupe, we see chaos as an opportunity to take big bets in service of our clients and for the future of the industry. From next generation creative models, guaranteed performance results, creation of emergent talent roles right through to reshaping the future of work through Marcel and Work Your World.

Yannick Bolloré, Chairman & CEO, Havas Group

While the last two years have been incredibly challenging, we’ve long viewed transformation as a constant state of being.

At Havas, we have always been committed to making a meaningful difference to brands, businesses, and people. During this period of uncertainty, this vision has never felt more relevant and powerful.

For our people, this has meant making sure they feel supported and connected – empowered to create more value through seamless connectivity, equipped to harness the power of our platform-driven world, and inspired to act boldly to make a meaningful impact.

For our clients, we’ve seen their needs change quickly, making agility even more critical. Our Village model, which brings together experts in creativity, media and customer experience, enables us to be agile and flex as our clients’ needs change. We have also become much more of a consultative partner in the co-creation of a brand’s future than we have ever been in the past.

Transformation in our business today means embracing new ways of working, pushing future-forward experiences, deploying new go-to-market strategies, and shaping innovative commercial partnerships – all of which will pave the way for future growth and enable us to make a meaningful difference in our world.

Philippe Krakowsky, CEO, Interpublic Group

It’s definitely a fact that at this point and going forward, change will be the constant.

Our own transformation began several years prior to the pandemic, and has equipped us to help brands and marketers thrive through this period of massive disruption. Because every company and organization today is looking for help in becoming more directly accessible to their users, more precise and data-driven with their communication, as well as better able to create ideas and experiences that engage, and have resonance in a very complex and fast-moving world, where technology and culture are constantly colliding.

That’s what we’re ultimately all about. Delivering marketing and media solutions that combine creativity and technology in ways that connect with audiences at an individual level. And ways that tap into data to drive accountable business results or help our clients transform their businesses for success in an increasingly digital economy.

Mark Read, CEO, WPP

There’s no doubt that clients face a tough situation, with inflation driving up costs just as consumers are also being squeezed by higher energy prices. Clients need to show how they can help consumers with different (typically cheaper) propositions particularly as consumer behaviour can shift in an instant. Brands must also get the right tone in communications to make sure they show an understanding of the pressures consumers are experiencing daily. We’re certainly helping in both areas – in innovation and in communications. What’s interesting is that we are still seeing clients invest behind their brands because at a time of inflation and price increases, it remains critical to remind people of the value and values they are buying.

John Wren, Chairman and CEO, Omnicom Group

As the shift to digital accelerates, we continue to evolve our existing capabilities and invest in new and innovative offerings to meet the changing needs of our clients. These efforts have allowed us to be extremely competitive in the marketplace by providing a suite of services and capabilities that position us well to reimagine and strengthen our clients' products, services, operations and experiences. We seamlessly connect brands with their consumers across the entire marketing journey by leveraging Omni, our insights and orchestration platform. Omni is built for collaboration, acting as a connector between different specialists using a single processing workflow from insights to execution. It empowers our people and our clients to make better and faster decisions, maximizing efficiency and ROI.

Data and digital insights fuel more effective creativity, so while the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of what we do has changed and expanded to new territories within a brand’s business, our people and their creativity remains the constant solution. And it always will.


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