Growth Approach will Help Businesses find Sources of Growth

Vladimir Tkachev, CEO of Publicis Groupe Russia, gave a lengthy interview on the eve of the annual Publicis Groupe conference “Unlock Growth: growth points in a new reality,” held on October 28 online at

Vladimir spoke about how the advertising market will be affected by a big and new for the whole world problem with supply chains, about the socialism of workers, and how advertisers can find new sources of growth using the growth loop. It is now October, and the end of the year is approaching.

How do you assess the outgoing year?

At the end of last year’s Content + Commerce conference, we showed a meme with Matthew McConaughey “Calendars for 2021 are not on sale.” I think he fully justified himself.

If last year was a long, challenging year of great breakdown, then we lived many small years in this year, while 2021 is not over yet. We are entering another mini-year of lockdown and uncertainty, and our industry is directly dependent on surrounding events.

The second moment is a complete bacchanalia with the world’s supply chains growing like a wildfire. The cost of logistics growing at a gigantic pace, the rush demand and record prices for any energy, and the stopped production will have a deferred global inflationary effect.

Companies are already calculating the margin at the end of the year and see huge expenses for energy resources, logistics, etc. Where will they start cutting costs? Optimization of open positions in personnel and marketing budget.

I want to be wrong and support the optimism heard at industry conferences, but I believe that this will not pass without consequences.

Green energy, which the whole world has fallen in love with, is a fundamental right idea. But trying to make the energy transition in 30 months, not 30 years, leads to what we are now seeing – mines closing, coal, and nuclear power plants, and there are no new ones because they cannot be built so quickly.

Winter came, and, as usual, no one expected it. Another mini-year awaits us during the period of active sales (SinglesDay, Black Friday, New Year). There will be a unique situation: the problems with the implementation of the sales plan will not be due to demand but due to supply contraction due to a broken supply chain.

For the first time in decades, there will be a massive reduction in supply – this is a new problem for the world.
The upcoming Publicis Groupe conference is called Unlock Growth – what growth points are we talking about?

What are your expectations for 2022, for business (yours & clients’)?

We understand that we have entered a multi-year period of building a new world order, primarily economic. The modern financial system is built on the cheapest possible supply chain cost, which worked great before the pandemic.

For the last ten years, the media market has worked on the same principle: buy anything cheaply as possible. And what do we end up with? The cheapest method has stopped working, and replacements take years or decades to build.

Therefore, we are globally and locally building a system of growth (unlock growth) that will add value and efficiency to companies’ businesses, regardless of the problematic conditions of the external environment.

And on the other hand, how can companies multiply the significance and return on their marketing assets, on which funds have already been spent, but in 90% of cases, customers do not reach due to a non-optimized consumer path. Why? Because in recent years, the cost of media placement has been cheap, and the focus has shifted to the cost of recruitment.

A year ago at our conference, we talked about merging content and commerce; at the time, it seemed like a futuristic story, but in just a year, it has become a common practice! Now you see that content can sell, and e-commerce platforms can develop content and entertainment functionality.

Again, can you do it? Suppose you are not a digitally native business, which is not so common in any economy globally. In that case, you have to adapt to this model because you are built according to a different logic.

How has the covid reality affected the operations of Publicis Groupe — employees, processes?

Doubly. Our employees have never completed many business tasks with such speed and energy. This was made possible thanks to the work from anywhere approach and the incredible freedom we profess.

We proceed from the fact that people can and should be trusted, and if they systematically fail to justify trust, that’s a different story. But for all my time at Publicis Groupe in various departments, no one stood with stopwatches at the entrance and unloaded timesheets. Self-organization, local initiative, helping each other, mutual assistance – this is what has become more pronounced in the covid reality.

The second is the antithesis of the first; it has never cost people so much physical and mental health. The topic of burnout is genuine, as is the appeal of a full-time job.

Now offering a permanent job is rather anti-advertising. Everyone wants to come to the project, leave, go to study, and return in their mode. A massive shift is taking place. We do not yet have a ready answer on modifying ourselves appropriately, but there is a clear understanding that it needs to be found. And we have already begun to experiment; we will talk about it at the conference.

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