SapientNitro And Razorfish Merger Busts Silos, Scales Digital Across Publicis Groupe

sapientrazorfishPublicis Groupe has merged digital agencies SapientNitro and Razorfish, it announced Thursday.

The combined agency, SapientRazorfish, will sit under the Publicis.Sapient umbrella, which houses the holding company’s digital and technology assets.

SapientNitro CEO Alan Wexler will become CEO of SapientRazorfish and co-CEO of Publicis.Sapient as current CEO Alan Herrick moves to a chairman role. Chip Register will share the role as CEO of Publicis.Sapient while remaining CEO of Sapient Consulting. Razorfish CEO Shannon Denton will be chief strategy officer of SapientRazorfish.

The merger is part of a larger reorg at Publicis Groupe, started last year, to consolidate services and break down silos between agencies.

SapientNitro and Razorfish have similar capabilities in digital experience and design, and combining them will help scale technology within Publicis.Sapient, Wexler told AdExchanger.

“What we’re finding with our clients, especially as it relates to transforming the business with digital at the core, is they’re looking to move faster and connect capabilities from consulting, through creative and experience through technology at scale,” he said. “In a few cases we’ve had clients come to each of us asking us to help on their transformation journey. It made the most sense to join forces.”

SapientRazorfish’s clients will benefit from the combined power of each agency’s differentiated data capabilities, Shannon Denton said.

“Hiring three or four companies to do that is just not efficient,” he said. “SapientNitro has made investments in data platforms and capabilities. Razorfish has been making investments around machine learning technologies. This allows us to put those together.”

The merger will more than double the number of data scientists at the agency.

“Scale matters,” he said. “We have more intellectual property and talented people, and that allows us to leverage data science across all of our clients.”

With the merger, Publicis.Sapient will house three brands: Sapient Consulting, which offers industry-specific advisory services, DigitasLBi, known for performance marketing and customer relationship management, and SapientRazorfish.

SapientRazorfish will support Publicis Communciations, which houses the group’s creative agencies, as well as Publicis Media. Both SapientNitro and Razorfish had been collaborating with those agencies for years, and combining them will provide a single point of access to digital expertise across the group, Wexler said.

“In bringing Sapient and Razorfish together, there’s one access point for Publicis Communications and Publicis Media, as opposed to having to navigate that before,” he said.

Publicis acquired SapientNitro in 2014 to form Publicis.Sapient, which housed all of the group’s digital assets under one umbrella and added consulting expertise in the face of new competition. Since then, the network has added expertise in digital retail, user experience, consulting and design.

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