Blog

A big week, a big moment, a bigger future

By Jon Lonsdale on 19th February 2021

WOW. What a MASSIVE week it’s been for Octopus Group. After nearly 20 years as an independent agency, we’re joining one of the biggest agency groups in the world in Publicis Groupe UK.

We’ve been enjoying all the lovely messages of support and congratulations from our clients, our agency peers and all the people who have contributed, past and present, to where we’ve got to today.

Now, I want to talk to you about what it means for the agency, our aims and (above all) our people.

We know we’ve got something special here at OG. A brilliant culture, strong work ethic, unique values that support us, and a killer Brand to Sales proposition that B2B brands love. But adding OG to a Publicis Groupe UK stable, with the exciting roadmap we’ve got, really is a game-changer.

We have this thing we talk about all the time when we do our kick offs and quarterly reviews. It’s our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (or BHAG for short):

“Use Brand to Sales to leave our mark on the industry by becoming the leading B2B marketing agency in the UK”.

My constant reminder to the business is that it’s not just slideware and a lofty internal goal. It’s a genuine, real ambition.

Now we can really achieve it.

Why now’s the time to supercharge B2B

B2B is at a tipping point, in part brought about by rapid tech transformation. Many of the industries we work in – telecoms, energy, automotive, financial services, logistics, aviation to name a few – are going through seismic changes. And in order to reorganise and build new business models it’s vital that they get B2B partnerships, channels and communications right.

We think our Brand to Sales model gives the perfect balance of strategy, creativity, awareness and sales expertise to help brands prosper as they change. Our new partnership means we can now combine our entrepreneurial, quick-building mindset with depth and scale in a wider group.

There is a real opportunity to build something unique.

How we plan to start something exciting with Publicis Groupe UK

For a start, we’ll be working with some of the biggest and defining names in agencyland. And we get to learn from and collaborate with them. Sitting in the same room as trail-blazing agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, BBH, Leo Burnett, MSL and Digitas is a dream ticket for any aspiring agency.

On top of that, access to tech, data and insights at the Groupe is mind-blowing. Publicis Sapient, Epsilon, Zenith and Starcom are at the leading edge of business transformation, data management and media platforms. So our Brand to Sales stack of tools and technologies can really grow with their help.

We’ll also get much better geographic reach, which is essential when so many of our B2B briefs are international. Publicis Groupe and its brands have offices in 100+ countries, and they’re excited about helping OG spread our tentacles across the globe when we get the right opportunity.

And to top it all off, there’s a new physical home when we can all get back together. We’ll be moving up the road from Farringdon to Chancery Lane to our very own space in the Publicis Groupe UK campus. Moving into that office with its own pub, barista bar in reception and working lifts (ours are shocking), alongside our new agency friends will be great. (See you in the Pregnant Man folks.)

Keeping all the best bits 

Change is always a bit uncertain. Even when it comes with so many opportunities. So cultural fit was vital for us in a new partnership.

One of the many things we love about Publicis Groupe UK is their “Viva La Difference” motto of celebrating distinct agency cultures, but working closely together to innovate and grow.

It means that our Octopus Group culture will remain proudly in place, as will all the special things we do like the Brand to Sales Academy, Celebration Thursdays, Roctostock (our very own summer festival) and our focus on workplace mental health and, of course, D&I. Meanwhile, Publicis Groupe UK has some impressive programmes that we’ll be looking to get involved in.

And for our brilliant clients nothing changes, other than our hope to bring them the best of our partnership in the future. I want to say a personal thanks to all of them for being universally supportive and excited to join us on the journey ahead.

The new exciting road ahead

As anyone who knows us will testify, we all care about this company very deeply. For some of us, it’s been our life’s work. Despite having the odd grey hair (well I have), pushing through our third recession and navigating our first pandemic as best we can, we’re still launching careers, doing great work and having a laugh while doing business the right way.

That definitely won’t change.

What joining Publicis Group UK gives us is fresh impetus to accelerate our growth to the next level. This means a new and exciting chapter for the agency, and all who are part of it. It gives us all, opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally.

I’ll sign off now just by saying I’m so proud of what this company has achieved so far, and to celebrate this big milestone, but I’m even more excited to see what we can achieve together in the coming years.

Let’s smash it.

Jon

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