Publicis Groupe unveils Marcel; transforming the Groupe to an 80,000 person enterprise platform

Sadoun-Publicis.jpgPublicis Groupe has today unveiled Marcel - named after Publicis Groupe founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet - AI-powered innovation that will accelerate transforming the organization from a holding company to a platform, creating the first truly borderless, frictionless enterprise workforce, comprised of 80,000 employees worldwide, and usher in a new era of creativity and innovation.

Says Arthur Sadoun, chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe: "In June last year, Publicis Groupe announced the creation of Marcel, to connect our 80,000 employees and completely reinvent the way that we work, for ourselves and our clients.

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"Since then, our industry has gone through unprecedented challenges, demonstrating that incremental change is not a solution. The need for reinvention is stronger than ever.

"At Publicis Groupe, we haven't waited to act. We have broken the divide between data, creativity and technology. We have broken our silos through the Power of One. Today, we are breaking the barriers between talent and opportunity with Marcel.

"Marcel is a journey to shift Publicis Groupe from a holding company to a platform and give creative minds the freedom to progress and thrive in this ever-changing industry.

"Marcel is the proof of our commitment to our people. At Publicis, we will put them first in our transformation, and give them the opportunity to learn, share and create more than anywhere else.

"Marcel is the proof of our commitment to our clients. They will be able to leverage our incredible diversity of talent to bring to life the ideas they need to grow their business.
And, of course, Marcel is the proof of our commitment to our industry. We will be a force for good, by leading the change.

"Tying the development of Marcel to our one-year industry event hiatus was a controversial decision, but a necessary one. It drew a line in the sand and left no doubt that we are determined to do whatever it takes to reinvent an industry that has struggled to evolve over the past 40 years. So I'm grateful to our people, our clients, and our partners at industry festivals around the world for their support and solidarity during this period, which will end in July 2018.

"And, last but not least, I'd like to thank everyone at Publicis Groupe who, both directly and indirectly, have contributed to the ideation and production of Marcel. Marcel is the power of all of us, working as one, and we have already begun to prove that."

Marcel: The Vision

People-First Focus: Empowering Every Employee to the Power of 80,000

In a world where people no longer want to work for companies and instead expect companies to work for them, Marcel is the first enterprise platform designed with people-first benefits and experiences in mind.

At its core, Marcel is about empowering every single Publicis employee to the power of 80,000. Founded in a belief that an augmented workforce leads to higher engagement, which in turn leads to better work and results for clients, Marcel is built on the foundation of four key pillars: knowledge, connectivity, opportunity and productivity.

The power of knowledge serves to educate and inspire our people through creative work and illuminating business, industry, account and cultural intelligence.

The power of connectivity finds, matches, casts and suggests the most appropriate people within the Groupe to connect, depending on people's needs, interests, behavioral patterns
and desires.

The power of opportunity provides a multitude of ways that each person can contribute, participate and flex their skills and passions on other projects beyond their day-to-day accounts.
The power of productivity turns the often tedious and highly-manual processes like timesheets and expenses into seamless and incredibly easy tasks. Fueled by a live organizational data graph and Microsoft AI technology, Marcel will deliver a fluid, intuitive, intelligent and rich experience for the 80,000 strong workforce.

Enterprise-level Innovation: Introducing the Marcel AI Platform

The bold ambition to transform Publicis Groupe into a platform required that the Groupe take on very significant enterprise business challenges. One important challenge is around data. With more than 80,000 people and over 1,200 entities, spanning 200 specialties and thousands of clients, the Groupe has vast amounts of data. Publicis Groupe estimates well more than five billion data files.

In order to unlock the value of this data, the Groupe created the Marcel AI Platform built on Microsoft AI and Knowledge Graph technologies. This Knowledge Graph connects both structured and unstructured data that exist across the organization and then maps relationships within it. This centralized, integrated source of our own data will power Marcel as well as other enterprise initiatives. The Groupe will use Microsoft's sophisticated AI tools to process, filter, connect and organize the data to make it useful for its people. Improving the Marcel
AI Platform will be an ongoing effort, foundational to transforming the Groupe in to a platform.

Publicis Groupe Agencies Lead User Experience Design & Brand Identity
The creation of Marcel has been a truly transformative initiative in support of Power of One, with technology and consulting arm Publicis.Sapient developing the Marcel user design and experience to build the Marcel platform. Publicis Communications' BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty) created Marcel's brand identity. This undertaking brings together the expertise and inputs from a diverse team of more than 100 people across the company including Publicis.Sapient, Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Re:Sources, IT, legal, data privacy, procurement, and human resources.

Microsoft: Our Technology/AI Partner
Publicis Groupe found in Microsoft a partner with a shared vision to empower every employee with knowledge and the innovation to make the Marcel experience best in class. Microsoft AI is being used to power the knowledge graph behind Marcel, and the conversational AI experience that is bringing this knowledge to every employee. Microsoft's deep technical knowledge and industry- leading cloud capabilities including Azure and Office 365 made them the ideal partner.

Cannes Lions: Our Learning and Inspiration Partner
As part of Marcel's power of knowledge proposition, Publicis Groupe has entered into partnership with the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to access The Work, a unique digital platform that showcases over 200,000 pieces of award-winning creative work from 2001-2018.

Employee & Client Data Security & Privacy Measures Built In
Data security and privacy were of the utmost importance in creating Marcel. Our data privacy and security offices were involved in the process from the beginning, thereby ensuring protocols including GDPR. Publicis Groupe is committed to its people and clients that their data is confidential and secure. Employees are not required to use Marcel and all of the interaction and data employees provide is fully opt-in.

Using Marcel: Mobile, Rapid-Response, Customized Experience Prompts
Built for today's technology-savvy work force, Marcel is launching as a mobile application for both Android and iOS. Future versions will include a desktop version or other interfaces as the need arises.

Designed to be as user friendly as any consumer app, employees can use Marcel through voice or text input. The AI engine will suggest refinements to queries that provide large returns to help someone rapidly make connections and complete goals.
Marcel will do more than respond to requests. It will also proactively present relevant knowledge, connections and opportunities. Each workday, Marcel will serve six prompts tailored to the person's role and interests in the form of a daily digest. Marcel will refine what it presents each day based on an employee's interaction and feedback.

Rollout Plan:
Today, Marcel is tested by a team of 100 alpha users. In June the Groupe will release a beta version to 1,000 people selected as an exact Publicis Groupe representation, by agency, role and geography. This group, will provide feedback that will help refine the app. As it has been said during the Investor Day, we have the goal to reach 90% of our people by 2020.

This beta phase will include:
- a precise onboarding process defined to ensure beta user profiles are complete
- a training module available to get the individual familiar with the Marcel platform - a feedback function included for employees to provide real-time feedback

The aim of this real-time exercise will allow Publicis Groupe to:
- refine the app constantly
- course correct as needed
- improve the user's experience
- add functionality along the way

There will be multiple, updated versions until the optimal state-of-the-art product developed for rollout to the entire Publicis Groupe. Publicis Groupe will begin Marcel rollout to its 80,000-person workforce in January 2019.

17 Comments

LOL said:

The app has a Cannes award archive feature. Prediction. 2018 going is going to be a little light on.

Less AI than AS said:

So all the hoo-ha was to create a voice activated searchable database with some social features?

YIKES! said:

LinkedIn looks great!
What incentive do creatives have to tweet ideas to another country? Will they get to have creative control over the job, or is it just a case of - work for free on this job and hope it's as good as something in the Cannes archive?

The holding company said:

This is like the press release written in a Utopia-style comedy about advertising

Casual Observer said:

Forgive my stupidity, but if Marcel is something new, what has Nobby been doing for the past year?

Guffman said:

This is wind.

Theory said:

The theory of collaboration across offices is cool and all, but how does the AI have any idea how busy someone is? How would an agency manage head hours and allocate staff if all of sudden you’ve got people in your local office working for other offices on “cooler” projects? I don’t know what fantasyland this is, but I’ve never worked in an agency where people are at a loose end. Individual offices struggle enough to service the needs of their own clients let alone someone else’s.

Mirky said:

Let’s see what happens. If this helps get Leo’s and Saatchi back making great creative work in this country then it’s worth it. Unfortunately I don’t think an app will help tired creative direction but you never know.

Lover said:

I love this. I love the functionality and the vision. It will make planners better at their shit, for sure.

The only thing I don’t understand is the money bit.

Does my office bill shanghai for the time I spent coming up with a name for a tea brand? Does my name get on the credits, enabling me to make more money?

Because eventually, if they are to make money off this, you’ll have all your resource in Eastern Europe / Asia / South America working for peanuts, while creatives in local markets will get fired.

Without proper revenue in place this is mass outsourcing for the creative industry and that makes me fearful.

Transformer said:

'...incremental change is not a solution. The need for reinvention is stronger than ever.'
Yes.
Taking this thinking on makes the difference and distinguishes those safe-players from the pioneers.

Richard said:

Looks like the best way to make yourself an indispensable creative within this network is to put your hand up for all the briefs that aren’t sexy. So about 70% of them.
Kind of like a normal local agency. Where at least you’ll get to make the work yourself.

Traffic said:

TRAFFIC: Hey got a new brief for you.

CREATIVE: Yeah, nah, I'm busy ay.

TRAFFIC: I don't have you down as busy.

CREATIVE: Yeah, I am. Workin' on a new vending machine idea for Mark Tutssel in Chicago.

TRAFFIC: Well who's going to do this eDM due tomorrow?

CREATIVE: (Yelling across the agency) Hey, Mike! You finished writing the Super Bowl stuff for BBH New York? There's eDM due tomorrow.

MIKE: Yeah, nah, I'm busy ay.

Smoke n mirrors said:

Not sure creatives will fall for the whole "With Marcel, you'll be able to work on the best briefs around the world". I reckon if a suit tried to tell me I'd be competing on this local brief with 100 other creatives throughout the network, i'd be looking at joining a new network. Crowdsourced credit lists will be fun to see.

George said:

What the video doesn't talk about is the back-end resourcing algorithms - and I can't believe that, given the minds above have raised this as an issue, it hasn't already been considered.

So, what Marcel will also do is incorporate time sheets and traffic, to calculate which agencies and people are busy and which aren't. It can then produce 'efficiency reports' which work out which agencies and people are extruding the greatest amount of creative sausage for the least cost.

Which, if you think about it, is the only way they'd have gotten the whole concept through Publicis finance and the board in the first place.

It's not a collaboration tool, it's a management tool.

1234 said:

Publicis Groupe can now cull their staff by at least 30% world wide. cost savings always was the target.

Read said:

The Picture? Hypnotic.The Platform? Revolutionary. Hotel? Trivago.

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