How Publicis Transforms Strategic Planning with Social Data

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Publicis Group is one of the largest marketing and communications agencies in the world. Founded in 1926 by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, it grew rapidly in the second half of the 20th century by attracting clients from a wide range of industries.

Today, it has 80,000 employees in more than 110 countries. Headquartered on Paris’ famous Champs-Elysées, it has the third highest revenue of any communications agency worldwide.

According to Gildas Launay, CEO of “Everyday Content” - a Publicis subsidiary - teams at this global agency use social listening data daily to create more impactful campaigns.

An agency evolving thanks to data

Businesses everywhere have been undergoing a digital transformation for a long time now. And it’s the same for large agencies. They need to be able to adjust to new technologies and keep offering even better services to clients.

“With Linkfluence, we’re leading a huge transformation in agencies - the way people work and their approach to strategic planning. Since 2014, we increasingly rely on social data to fuel creativity by better understanding consumer behaviors and trends. Social listening helps us stay one step ahead in the industry and win clients with creative, data-backed campaigns.”

Despite some resistance, Publicis teams are quickly understanding the need to modernize their work. “Some people react badly to that transformation, maybe based on the fear of not understanding. Our way to fight against this is to show everyone that data is not about being a data analyst.”

“If you’re an account manager, a creative, you don’t need to understand the tools. You just need to understand the methodology, and to ask the right questions, to make the most of this data. Once they have that first experience with the data team, they start to understand that they now have more value to sell, and they can create great campaigns.”

Better strategic planning

For major advertising and marketing agencies, the best campaigns rely on quality planning. That means really understanding who an advertisement is aimed at, and what the best ways to reach them are. And social listening provides deeper insights than have ever been available.

“Traditionally, strategic planning was based mainly on sociological studies. The difference between these metrics and what we have today with data is the precision. We can localize data now, and we just have more data.”

This easy access to buyer information lets Publicis bring more authority to its campaigns. It can show clients that it really knows what it’s talking about.

“We're trying to make people understand the value of data for creativity. We can do deep studies that take more than 7 or 8 weeks of listening to better understand consumer behavior or new trends. And this kind of depth lets us build far better campaigns for clients.”

Campaigns fueled by social media data

So what does one of these data-driven campaigns look like? And what can you really learn from a few social media conversations?

"We did a campaign for sleeping pills. All the creative was based on the fact that we listened to people unable to sleep at night and expressing their despair live on Twitter.”

By collecting stories and voices from social media - stories that otherwise nobody would see - Publicis was able to build a campaign that spoke directly to the right audience.

“It was clear that all these people between 12am-5am were desperately looking for support. So we created a social media campaign for our sleeping pill brand, simply around giving them comfort and advice to help them sleep better.”

Responsive social media marketing like this helps to humanize brands, and ensure that they’re delivering what the customer really needs. In this case, just a little support in the middle of the night.

Publicis & Linkfluence: A lasting relationship

Publicis chose Linkfluence in 2014, to help with a campaign for the FIFA World Cup. The project was for a subsidiary, Publicis Nurun.

More than four years later, social listening has grown within the agency. Linkfluence is now used by other departments including Publicis Consulting and Publicis Group, and social media data has begun a prized possession.

We’re leading the change in transforming agencies and the way people work, and helping people see the value of data for creativity.”

Now the challenge is to make even better use of that data. “We have the everyday issue of understanding better people's behavior online, localizing information, and creating even more precise targeting.”

“We have lots of new challenges to face with Linkfluence.” 

gildas round Gildas Launay 

CEO of Everyday Content, Publicis Groupe

Previously Head of Strategic Planning @Publicis Conseil

Turn data into insights

Social listening provides you with plenty of data and information on your customers. 
Discover how to turn that data into actionable consumer insights with our latest ebook, 
Climbing the Social Data Ladder:

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