Jean-Yves Naouri, the man considered to be one of the possible successors to Maurice Levy when he steps down as chief executive officer of Publicis Groupe, was in Mumbai recently. Naouri, currently chief operating officer and member of the management board of the Groupe and executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, responded to questions about how the Groupe is doing globally and in India.
The year so far has been pretty encouraging, he said. On focus areas going into next year, he replied, "We have defined some strategic areas for the Groupe - one, our expertise in digital, and two, our exposure to fast-growing markets. We've decided to forget the concept of 'emerging markets' because they've emerged a while ago." Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia, Poland, and Argentina would be among the fast-growing markets.
On investment in India this year, he said, "Watermelon is one agency we've invested in and we've made some inroads on the PR side. When we talk about acquisition, we don't only mean in companies, but also investment in talent and new departments. For us, it's the same - it shows our commitment in those markets and helps our clients in their journeys towards their goals."
Declining to reveal any plans to make an Omnicom-like move when they upped their stake in Mudra, Naouri diplomatically said, "India is a priority for Publicis Groupe, and this can be concentrated in different kind of actions, all related to more investment in talent and resources to support our growth in this market."
On a question about whether the Publicis Groupe companies in India could do better in terms of awards next year, Naouri felt Leo Burnett had done quite well. He added, "On the contrary, I was pushing Publicis to be more present at award shows. We've repositioned Publicis Worldwide agencies with a new concept 'Lead the change' and we believe will make its way towards a different kind of work, and hopefully some that will be more noticed in the future."
Lastly, responding to a question on the outlook for next year considering the economic climate in Europe, Naouri said, "Fundamentally, by nature we are optimistic that we can make things happen. If I were to be politically correct I would tell you that we are 'cautiously optimistic'."