PARIS, February 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- "The future of France's small businesses lies in digital, which is why they need to master the tools and techniques involved," says Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe.
"That might seem like a sweeping statement but it reflects a harsh reality: there is a real digital divide opening up between the firms of tomorrow (those who are already part of the digital revolution) and the rest. How do we overcome that fact and provide the solutions small and medium businesses need to take advantage of all the opportunities of digital? How do we equip them with the means to canvass on the Internet, to make a name for themselves? To tap into online advertising and e-commerce, or exploit the advantages mobile communication has to offer? To learn how to use platforms like Google, Facebook, Youtube, etc?
These are the questions I wanted to answer through the creation of Publicis Webformance: a service company dedicated to small businesses, a new business line that Publicis is developing by leveraging our experience in digital, our knowledge of marketing and our expertise in the field of communication.
Publicis Webformance aims to put all the power of the Internet and today's digital media to work for small businesses, to help them grow and develop. We intend to make Publicis Webformance the indispensable toolkit for all small and medium-sized businesses keen to capitalize on the Internet and make the most of all it has to offer.
In addition, I wanted to prove that we could invest in France, create employment and avoid relocating certain jobs to offshore call center platforms. Proximity, quality and speed of services combined with an intimate understanding of the problems of our clients, offset any incremental costs. I have handed responsibility for the task to a young "intra-preneur", Maxime Baffert, who has worked with me on digital issues across the board and who had a thorough grasp of the challenges even before taking on his operational role within the Groupe. I have every confidence he will drive the development of this new business well beyond the borders of France," Maurice Levy added.
To achieve its aims, Publicis Webformance is partnering with key players in the small and medium business environment. In November 2010, Publicis Webformance was selected as a Google Adwords certified partner, and is thus able to offer sponsored link campaign management on the leading search engine in France, as well as video placement on YouTube.
Another partnership has been sealed with the French new business creation agency (APCE), centering on:
- the introduction of a Publicis Webformance special offer for business start-ups: four months' free assistance in setting up their website; - creating content on e-marketing and e-commerce for the APCE website http://www.apce.fr.
A pilot commercial operation has been tested in the Lyon region since October 2010 and has successfully validated the sales channels and pitches and the production processes. The positive results from the pilot led to the decision to launch Publicis Webformance officially on February 21st, 2011. Around thirty people are already working at the company.
Publicis Webformance is also investing in the tools and technology needed to offer future clients the most effective services possible, including the latest and most powerful website creation and sponsored link campaign management solutions. The expertise of other Publicis Groupe agencies, such as Publicis Modem or Performics, have also been called into play to help develop new offers and ensure their quality.
Maxime Baffert, CEO of Publicis Webformance, stated: "by capitalizing on the knowhow of Publicis Groupe agencies, we are creating a high-quality service offering for small and medium businesses, at extremely attractive rates. We are also keen to bring these clients the same level of support and close relations that made the Publicis Groupe's reputation what it is today".
About Publicis Groupe
Publicis Groupe [listed on the Euronext Paris Exchange - FR0000130577 - and part of the CAC 40 index] is the world's third largest communications group. With activities spanning 104 countries on five continents, Publicis Groupe employs approximately 49,000 professionals and offers local and international clients a complete range of advertising services through three global networks: Leo Burnett, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, and numerous agencies including Fallon, 49%-owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and Kaplan Thaler Group. VivaKi combines digital and media expertise, allowing clients to connect with consumers in a holistic way, with Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia worldwide media networks; and interactive and digital marketing led by Digitas and Razorfish networks. VivaKi develops new services, tools, and next generation digital platforms. Publicis Groupe offers healthcare communications with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG, the first global network in healthcare communications). And with MSLGROUP, one of the world's top five PR and Events networks, also provides expertise in corporate and financial communications, public affairs, branding, and social media marketing.
Web site: http://www.publicisgroupe.com
SOURCE Publicis Groupe