Havas is aiming to prove its customer experience credentials, not by launching a new agency but by bringing existing agencies in the group under the umbrella brand of Havas CX, combining 1,200 staff and nearly a dozen chiefs to boot.
Some 20 global agency groups and local agencies, plus additional CX specialists from across the Havas network, will join forces under a common structure, governance, methodology and mission.
Havas CX will span 18 major Havas Villages around the world, with key hubs in London, Paris, New York and Mumbai. It brings together global agency groups including Havas Helia (customer engagement), ekino (digital transformation), BETC FullSix (customer experience), and award-winning leaders in their markets including Plastic Havas, Langoor, Boondoggle, Gate One, Think Design, Host/Havas, Project House and Intellignos.
The French-owned group insists that Havas CX’s competitive advantage lies in its ability to combine “deep-rooted, newly coordinated CX expertise with Havas’ rich insights into modern consumers”.
These include its proprietary Meaningful Brands study of 350,000 consumers, the Prosumer studies of consumers, and the X Index, a new barometer for measuring and managing customer experience, alongside its Havas Village model.
The overall aim is to establish the ability to look at customer experience from a more holistic, comprehensive and less siloed perspective.
The group insists this combination provides the network with the ability to marry the technological, functional aspects of CX with its clients’ brand promise and the personal and cultural context devised from Havas and BETC’s consumer insights.
The move to establish a dedicated CX network follows the successful launch of the BETC Fullsix agency model in Paris and the acquisition in 2019 of digital engagement specialist Langoor, user experience shop Think Design and digital and transformation consultancy Gate One.
The component agencies’ branding will be updated to reflect the new network identity. The network already boasts clients including Reckitt Benckiser, Tesco, Maersk, Club Med, AbbVie, Airtel, Starbucks, Canal+.
The Havas CX network has more senior management than you can shake a stick at, with global chief operating officer Yann Doussot heading up by an executive committee chaired by Havas Creative global CEO Chris Hirst, BETC FullSix chair Mercedes Erra, Havas Health & You global CEO Donna Murphy and Havas Media Group global CEO Peter Mears.
And just in case they can’t decide how to go about things, there will also be a strategic committee chaired by Hirst, including global chief marketing officer Tracey Barber, Havas North America executive managing partner and global chief client officer Stéphanie Nerlich, BETC FullSix CEO Olivier Vigneaux, and finally Havas London CEO Xavier Rees and Havas UK chief strategy officer Mark Sinnock.
Havas Group chairman and CEO Yannick Bolloré (pictured) said: “Having pursued an acquisition strategy of cutting-edge agencies in the customer engagement space over recent years, we feel the time is right to unify our agencies under one joined-up, global network brand.
“In Havas CX, we believe we have the most comprehensive customer engagement proposition the industry has to offer – and it’s one we intend to continue to strengthen by hiring top talent and making further best-in-class acquisitions.”
Hirst added: “Today customer experience is the bedrock on which a brand is built – indeed, the majority of a consumer’s experience of any brand won’t be through advertising, but their personal interactions with it. As technology advances almost any conceivable purchase is just a couple of clicks away and the opportunities for brands to get it right, or wrong, are manifold. CX is the new battleground – and the brands that get it right will win, and those that don’t will lose; it’s as simple as that.
“Now is the right time to be overt in our commitment to the one discipline that today underpins all others by bringing our 1,200-plus specialists into a single brand. With our integrated Village model and our proprietary consumer insights, the Havas CX Network will significantly extend the power and capability of our offer.
“The network will be guided by our leaders in France, the UK, the US, Asia and LATAM, ensuring we share learning, best practice and capabilities to make the network greater than the sum of its parts and helping our clients build deeper and more meaningful connections with their customers.”
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