In September 2018, Publicis Groupe relocated its entire Brisbane operation onto one floor at Fish Lane. We were the first Australian office in our group to move to the ‘co-location’ model. One year on and the absence of walls has driven greater inter-agency collaboration and delivered tangible benefits to our clients.
To drive a collaborate culture and way of working, the space was designed to enable activity-based working including spaces to work as a cross-skilled team, work independently on a presentation in a quiet booth, work with double or triple screens in digital or design, debate work that’s up on the wall together, or even work casually on a couch or outside on the deck and with the ability to ‘change’ work space during a day.
Now at the beginning of a day, people can now think about what their day looks like, who they need to work with and the space they want to work in.
What we’ve found is most people love the flexibility of moving around but they do love a ‘consistent home desk’. The most significant benefit is the ability for cross-functional teams to work together in collaborative spaces to solve problems. So a creative strategist, designer, media planner and digital developer can come together for half a day to ideate and create a solution. It makes how we deliver less linear and so we also get to creating the solutions faster.
With creative, digital, media, public relations, cram, shopper marketing and production in the same building it means people from our agency brands work together to solve client problems – it’s about putting together the right team and skillset for each problem.
The Publicis Groupe is implementing the “Power of One” model for clients across the world with benefits being realised in Australia for a multitude of clients. The benefit for clients is they can choose the ‘whole of agency skillset’ or cherry pick what services and skillsets they need. And we couldn’t do it to its maximum benefit without a collaborative workspace.
Being in the same space has enabled strong working relationships across all of our agency brands to develop. Teams are naturally bouncing ideas off each other or seeking feedback informally every day.
This approach has extended into thought leadership or inspiration sessions where all of our own people and clients are welcomed and encouraged to attend – whether it’s being driven by our creative agency Publicis Worldwide, one of our media agencies Zenith or Starcom, or a strategic partner.
An example is PubTalk where we invite our people and clients to be exposed to the best creative work in the world and we debate why it’s effective.
Collaborative thinking as a group is delivering better results than as brands operating on their own. There are a number of shared clients across our group and the ability for inter-agency client teams across multiple disciplines to sit together, or quickly come together for meetings is delivering real results for clients.
Having the creative agency and the media brands together has allowed for everyday collaborative debate and so this results in shorter turnaround times and the ability to be adaptive in getting campaigns to market. One recent example of this collaborative approach was when we went from briefing stage with a client, to being in market with a brand new positioning and integrated multi-channel campaign including tv production in five weeks.
The one-office, one-team has allowed inter-agency teams to deliver in an integrated seamless way. For example our client Sanofi Healthcare expect us to deliver integrated solutions across the full customer journey from brand building awareness through to point of sale purchase at the counter. This means a shopper specialist is integral to deliver seamlessly in the team. This is the modern version of a full service agency.
When we were ideating earlier this year for Tourism and Events Queensland, the winning idea would not have come to life without cross-agency collaboration – it was a tight knit team across strategy, creative, production and PR that delivered scUber – the world’s first rideshare submarine experience.
One of the principles we had when designing the space is we wanted it to also be a client working space. Most of our clients love working in the space with many spending a day combining agency-client meetings with some solo quiet time away from the demands of their own office and with full use of our facilities including kitchen, coffee, wi-fi and printing. The sparkling water on tap is definitely a much-loved feature.
It has also allowed many of the Groupe initiatives being rolled out by our People & Culture teams to be delivered consistently across our agencies. The messaging and implementation of many of these initiatives around flexible working, parental leave, and health and wellbeing have truly become a collaborative effort, with the local leadership across all the agency brands coming together to launch and implement the initiatives as one team, rather than across individual agencies.
Recently the whole Groupe in Australia closed for Mental Health Day to demonstrate its commitment to all people across all brands to prioritise their health and wellbeing first. Our work relies on our brains creating ‘new solutions’ everyday and so it’s become very important for us to help our people to find time to decompress so they can be their best.
Publicis Groupe Brisbane has provided a great example of what the co-location model can achieve for a business, delivering great results for clients and our most important asset, our people.