The Sapient brand has undergone a dizzying evolution over the past few years. Until 2015, Sapient was a leading digital design and consultancy group with a wide-ranging global footprint. Its main marketing arm was SapientNitro, created in 2009 from acquisition of highly regarded creative advertising network Nitro, and subsequently boosted with the purchase of additional local agencies in different markets around the globe. Towards the end of 2014, Sapient agreed to be acquired by Publicis Groupe for a lavish $3.7bn. Completion of the deal was delayed repeatedly by US regulators because of Sapient's government contracts, but finally took place in Feb 2015. As a result, a newly created Publicis.Sapient division became the umbrella for all Publicis digital subsidiaries including DigitasLBi and Razorfish, which initially operated alongside SapientNitro. At the end of 2016, though, SapientNitro merged with Razorfish to create SapientRazorfish. Another key attraction of the group to Publicis was its Sapient Consulting division, potentially opening a lucrative new marketplace for the French group in IT services and digital management consultancy, countering the steady encroachment of Deloitte, PwC, Accenture and others into the traditional marketing industry. It remains to be seen whether that strategy will work.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 19th Jul 2018: Unconfirmed rumours within the industry, reported by Adweek, suggest that Publicis Groupe may be preparing to retire the under-performing SapientRazorfish brand, with all operations folded into parent entity Publicis.Sapient. That follows the lay-off of up to 100 staffers across several US offices. A company spokesperson declined to give Adweek any specific answer to their question, but commented "As we work to evolve Publicis.Sapient, we have been evaluating our business model to ensure we can be the best digital transformation partner to our clients. As part of that process, we recently made the difficult decision to part ways with a small number of our people." Razorfish has been one of the group's weakest digital networks for a few years, which led to its merger with the most of what was previously SapientNitro in 2016. While its consulting business has apparently remained strong, digital and creative continues to struggle.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Dec 2017: Chip Register, currently co-CEO of Publicis.Sapient, and head of its Sapient Consulting division, is to leave the group at the end of this year to run a non-profit association he co-founded with his wife. Alan Wexler will become sole CEO of Publicis.Sapient. Register's unexpected departure is notable since only a few months ago he was the man tasked with over-seeing the creation of Publicis Groupe's Marcel AI platform, which is due for delivery in May. Publicis has pulled out of all self-promotional activities for the duration of Marcel's gestation, supposedly to free up funds for the project. Publicis said the Marcel platform will now be overseen by group general manager Veronique Weill and chief talent officer Emmanuel André.
Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Aug 2017: In an important victory for Publicis Groupe's consulting arm, Publicis.Sapient has secured a five-year global contract to provide digital and IT services to McDonald's as junior partner working alongside traditional consultancy Capgemini. Accenture had also pitched for the job. The brief is to support the expansion of McDonald's digital capabilities. "We will be part of the team deploying and maintaining their restaurant and digital technology solutions, including kiosk ordering, web applications, mobile order and pay, that help put the customer at the centre of McDonalds' business," Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun told staff in an internal email. "We will also help create innovative digital services internally for employees, in their kitchen and store operations, and for their customers through table service and home delivery." It's certainly a big win for Publicis, but an even bigger one for Capgemini. According to the WSJ, the project is expected to generate around $600m for CapGemini over five years, but only $150m for Publicis.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Nov 2016: As seemed inevitable under Publicis Groupe's new Power Of One structure, despite repeated denials from senior management, the consolidation process has begun. Publicis announced the merger of the two separate digital networks of SapientNitro and Razorfish to former a single SapientRazorfish entity. SapientNitro CEO Alan Wexler retains the top job in the merged agency, with Razorfish CEO Shannon Denton becoming chief strategy officer. No announcement has been made yet as to how the respective local offices of SapientNitro and Razorfish will be combined. As part of the new digital structure, Publicis.Sapient CEO Alan Herrick moves up to chairman, and will work more closely with Groupe CEO Maurice Levy "focusing on strategy and market development at the Publicis.Sapient and Publicis Groupe level". Could this make Herrick a new contender to succeed Levy when the latter steps down in 2017? It suggests at least that there will be competition for current favourite Arthur Sadoun, head of the Publicis Communications division. The former Sapient Inc CEO has the experience of running a publicly quoted company that Sadoun lacks. In the mean time, further consolidation of other Publicis networks is likely. Indeed, Publicis.Sapient chief strategy officer Bill Kanarick told Campaign US, "Clients increasingly care less about the brand... [They] care about getting the right capability, the right set of people assembled against their challenges in the right way, and care less about the source of those people in terms of what brand they do or don't come from."
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Jun 2016: Ads of the Week "Smile". Here's a compendium of holiday horror stories - always hilarious provided they're happening to someone else - collected by SapientNitro for Tesco Mobile. And that scary phone bill will be even scarier in the post-Brexit world!
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