As the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos comes to an end, we can reflect on the implication of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on our industry, our clients and how we work together. At MSLGROUP, this has been a major topic of conversation as we go through our own revolution of sorts in the United States, around the world and as part of a global holding company that is transforming itself as well. 

Revolutions – even industrial ones – are disruptive by definition and sometimes even destructive. One reason for this is the tendency for those driving the revolution to throw out everything that came before or to believe that it’s old, tired and no longer has value. But some ideas and approaches can and should survive even the most intense upheaval. 

One such idea, which is fundamentally relevant to integrated marketing communications agencies is the Service Profit Chain. First introduced by Harvard professor Jim Heskett and several colleagues in 1994, this approach to service business management has the opportunity to experience a resurgence and an evolution by embracing and utilizing the best elements of the revolution we are currently going through. 

[insert “The Links in the Service-Profit Chain” image from Harvard Business Review article]

Image from Harvard Business Revie 

Simply put, the Service Profit Chain says that profit is driven by customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customer satisfaction and loyalty comes from receiving real value from the agency partner. Real value is driven by satisfied and loyal employees. And employees are more satisfied and loyal when they have the tools, ability and autonomy to make a real difference for their clients.

There is no question that the Fourth Industrial Revolution can and must significantly enhance the ability to deliver on the Service Profit Chain – both from a customer and employee satisfaction and loyalty perspective. Innovations such as:

  • Seamless integration of digital and traditional at unprecedented speed and scale;
  • Data that flows without boundaries;
  • The blurring of lines between disciplines, sectors and technologies;
  • The ability to put more information and insights at our fingertips in real time; and
  • Connected networks where influence comes from many corners and conversations can be directly connected to commerce. 

What happens when these revolutionary innovations are applied to the Service Profit Chain and the integrated marketing communications industry? 

Imagine a world where your agencies operate as a single, integrated and seamless offering, presenting the best ideas from every corner because we’re all operating from the same insights, based on the same data and analytics, driven by a discipline-agnostic strategy that is creatively expressed and executed in both the controlled and uncontrolled conversations of modern communications. 

Imagine a world where business value is the North Star for your agency partner because we know it sits at the nexus of customer and employee satisfaction and loyalty and everything we do is guided by that bright light. 

Imagine a world where as an employee of this kind of agency, you could integrate technological platforms, not as mere tools, but as strategic partners in your work, helping streamline process while delivering better insights and results in real time. Imagine that you can now spend more of your time and creative energy thinking about solving your clients’ biggest problems. 

The fact is that everyone in our industry aspires to be this kind of firm and to operate in this kind of world. At MSLGROUP and Publicis Groupe, we are making the kinds of revolutionary changes that we believe will get us there in the most complete and most integrated way. And with the advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution driving us and the Service Profit Chain guiding us, the changes are already starting to be felt 

Guirguis, RonRon Guirguis was appointed the U.S. CEO for MSLGROUP in September 2015. He was previously the New York corporate and public affairs lead at Edelman.