In a further push to offer clients end-to-end solutions, Publicis Groupe has created a platform called “Publicis Spine,” which will help clients target consumers on an individual level.

Lisa Donohue

Lisa Donohue

The Spine, which has been in the works for the last two years, was developed as a way to further drive digital business and marketing transformation for clients. Lisa Donohue, most recently Starcom global brand president, will serve as CEO of Publicis Spine, overseeing a team of 3,500 engineers, data scientists, analysts and tech leaders. She will be succeeded at Starcom by John Sheehy, formerly president of global clients for Publicis Media. Donohue will report to Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun and Publicis Media CEO Steve King.

“This has nothing to do with trying to beat anyone else,” says King. “It has to do with putting clients at the center of solutions.”

Publicis Spine includes a cloud-based platform called PeopleCloud that uses data to target specific individuals and create unique customer “IDs” to help brands engage consumers with specific messages at the right time and place. King says the PeopleCloud isn’t creating one large data bank, but will work with clients individually, using their own first party data along with data from Publicis and its vendors.

“Most of the first wave of digital advertising has been intrusive and unwarranted with things like banner and pre-and post-roll,” says King. “This will serve up discrete ads that are appreciated by the consumer.”

In addition to the Spine, Publicis Groupe has decided to organize Publicis.Sapient’s digital business transformation assets into industry practice verticals, such as finance, automotive, energy and healthcare. There will be between six and seven verticals overall, says King.

“There are very specific behaviors within particular categories,” says King. “There’s different expertise in healthcare than in education than in energy.”

This vertical structure, aimed at building category expertise, is common among the consultancies and less so among marketing communications businesses due to the fear of client overlap. Nigel Vaz will spearhead the digital business transformation efforts for the group, in addition to his current role of CEO of Publicis. Sapient for EMEA and APAC.

Publicis Groupe has also decided to move DigitasLBi out of its Publicis.Sapient hub and into Publicis Media. The shift, King says, is because DigitasLBi’s data, creative, media and technology assets create a “compelling alchemy that most brands are trying to deliver today.”

The media pipeline, King says, is stronger than creative right now and media clients are looking for data, content and technology, so the shift to Publicis Media will further strengthen DigitasLBi and allow clients to tap into its capabilities.

This article first appeared in

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