Saturday, August 8, 2020

Why Thierry Lonziano (Peugeot) moved from Havas to Omnicom

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After this historic change of agency for Peugeot, its marketing and communication director details the challenges: acceleration of e-commerce, international development, need for increased targeting…

Why did you choose Omnicom after more than 30 years spent with Havas and BETC?

Before choosing an agency, we defined a new agency model, we designed our need which had to meet four objectives: to be more international, more local, more digital and more effective in our communication. At the international level, we want to ensure our development on all markets, by having the most effective local marketing and at the same time by having the best coordination of our operations between the central and the countries. We wanted a more decentralized model than today to address our ambitions outside Europe.

On the digital side, we wanted a model that would allow us to personalize our communication much more and develop our e-commerce activity. We are facing an increasing need for content today. Finally there was a search for efficiency and improvement and therefore for precision marketing. We designed this model around the central brand strategy and planning. For creation, it relies on creative assets all over the world. Very important point: regional coordination will allow us to strengthen our presence in the Africa and Middle East, Latin America and Asia regions.

In parallel, we said to ourselves that we wanted to work our production differently, so cut the strategy / creation part from the content production part. There were therefore two calls for tenders, the first won by Omnicom and the second, still in progress, on the production of content in order to personalize and locally adapt the content using COD technologies.

With new uses such as electrification, we have customers who are asking for much more content than before. A customer looking for information on the electric will need four times more assets in his journey because he will look for data on the vehicle but also the technology, its ability to recharge, on mobility when it cannot use his electric car, etc. The tender brought together nine players at the start on the two pitches to retain three in the final. The production decision will be made by the end of July.


Is it a question of pricing in this context of global cost rationalization?

It is clear that in the current context the financial aspect is important but it did not have a central role in the decision. The choice was made on the relevance of the OPEN model, on strategy and creation. The division between strat / creation and production will optimize costs. I would like to add that we have been working with Havas and BETC for over 30 years, but if we are there today, it is also thanks to them. Havas remains our agency until the end of 2020, and remains the agency of other brands within the PSA group (Citroën).


What is the structure OPEN (Omnicom for Peugeot Engine) and who will be the lead?

There is no lead. It’s an agency to this. The contract is signed with the French side, but the model is made up of the best Omnicom skills in the world. This will be done according to regions and trades. We speak with the holding company directly and Jean-Marie Prenaud who is SVP of Omnicom. A team is currently being formed.

We used to have French flagships accompanied by French agencies. After Air France, which returned to Omnicom, is a culture change taking place?

It is probably a circumstance contest or a coincidence of the calendar. What you need to know is that from a strategic and creative point of view, the nerve center of the OPEN model will be in France, but clearly drawing on the international talents of the Omnicom group: its different trades, its ecosystem , its strategic, creative and precision marketing elements with OPMG, and Adzu a solid IT backbone. It is important to emphasize that the OPEN central team is an entity under French law in Paris, under the aegis of Proximity.


What are the axes of the brief and your strategic priorities for 2020?

The objective is to set up a tailor-made model dedicated to Peugeot, which allows us to work on international development ambitions, to support our digital evolution and to have a more effective model in terms of performance measurement, therefore more based on technology. It is a rebalancing of a system very based on creativity towards a more digital and ROIist system, because technology is key in an automotive sector in full mutation towards electrification, technologies and regulations more and more complex and expensive .

The automobile is a sector of activity which must constantly measure the performance of its marketing actions, all the more with the Covid-19. We know that the sector will be impacted in the coming years, even if we are fortunate to be part of a financially solid PSA group, well equipped in terms of technology, with 50% of our range electrified in one year, confirmed by the success of the e-208. The other important point is the development of e-commerce, on which we have strongly accelerated since March: we have sold more cars online in three months than in the last three years. Deployment also accelerated sharply over the period with a new e-commerce site in twenty countries.


What will the crisis change in the way you communicate?

We are indeed adapting our formats and our media mix. We will also have to be very agile because the European markets do not all start at the same speed. We must also have a very local approach in our media plans, and a stronger precision marketing activity in connection with our media agency MediaCom.


What is your roadmap in terms of communication?

For the moment we are in the restart phase. The objective is to have a second half of 2020 better than the first, by capitalizing on our three cars of the year (208, 308 and 3008). We are looking to develop our market share in each of our regions and to continue upgrading Peugeot, achieve electrification with 10% of vehicles and continue to accelerate our online sales.

As Omnicom takes the reins of the budget in January 2021, the first campaigns will be visible at this deadline.

Read also: Peugeot chooses Omnicom as global creative agency

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