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Publicis Groupe Indonesia names FCB's Sony Nichani as new managing director

Publicis Groupe Indonesia names FCB's Sony Nichani as new managing director

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Publicis Groupe Indonesia has hired former managing director of FCB Jakarta Sony Nichani as its new managing director. Nichani (pictured) will be tasked to run and handle the international businesses, as well as support the CEO on running the group P&L along with the management team. She reports to Brian Capel, CEO of Publicis Groupe Indonesia.

In an exclusive statement to Marketing Interactive, Capel said with the Publicis Groupe’s Power of One, the agency needed a talent with industry credibility to join the management team and deliver it for the Groupe in Indonesia. He added that Nichani brings a lot of experience and Publicis aims to strengthen the overall business acumen of its leads in order to be its client’s business partners.

Nichani is no stranger in the adland. She first joined Ulka (now FCB Ulka India) in 1997, and has since counted over two decades in the industry. While working on the TATA corporate assignment at Ulka, she got poached by the client to work on the launch of its telecom business. She crossed over to the client side and was part of the Tata Indicom team for five years.  Having worked with FCB as her agency partner during her client days, Nichani moved to Jakarta to start the strategic planning function in April 2008. Shifting from planning, she took over leading the business and working on mix of global, regional and local clients since 2011.

Nichani left FCB in February 2020, shortly after FCB Global and McCann Worldgroup in Indonesia confirmed a new legal ownership structure, under the entity Digital SEA Indonesia. In December 2019, news broke that Digital SEA Indonesia will retain relationships with both global networks as an affiliate, and under this arrangement, both McCann Worldgroup and FCB networks will continue as independent brands, servicing their respective clients.

Meanwhile, Capel also shared with Marketing Interactive the direction and strategy for Publicis Groupe Indonesia in 2020 given the new heavy-weight hires it has been making. The agency recently brought on board Ali Shabaz as chief creative officer and has bagged clients NIVEA and Mondelez.  To Capel, 2020 is a year for consolidation and growth, adding that 2019 was not “kind” to the industry. 

“Clients were and still are facing tremendous challenges when it comes to delivering work that is effective and efficient,” he said, explaining that Publicis Groupe looks to deliver against these challenges with the right talent in place as well as the right structure and model. He added that the Power of One model helps to build the right pool of talent for each client and create mini agencies within its system to put together dedicated teams that answer the most challenging business issues.

At the end of the day, the power of one is the strength of the agency and the group, he explained. “The focus for us is to go after what we call ‘power of one’ clients where we can provide services that are truly end-to-end. Globally, we have done this on some of our key clients such as Mercedes-Benz, Mondelez and more recently Nivea. We want to drive this thinking and model for Indonesian clients, as we are seeing a lot of faith in the expertise that we put together,” Capel said. 

Currently, the state of advertising in Indonesia is facing tough times and no one has it easy, he added. Clients are now demanding more from agencies and he stressed that old agency models are not going to work. 

“Indonesian advertising has come a long way and the work that is happening on digital here is exceptional considering how it was 12 years ago when I arrived. A lot has changed and it will keep changing. The Indonesian start-up culture has taken creativity to the next level with both innovation as well as speed,” he said, adding: 

Advertising agencies can no longer count things that used to work before and there is a need for some drastic evolution.

“Every agency has its own approach to tackle the new challenging times and us at Publicis have our Power of One model,” Capel said.

Read also:
Meet the CEOs: FCB Jakarta's Sony Nichani
FCB Jakarta's Sony Nichani on women supporting each other in leadership roles

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