At Havas, we’ve always tried to make a difference to the world around us by embracing innovation and pioneering new business models. When I joined Havas in 2013, we launched our ‘Together’ strategy, which was a game-changer at the time, setting us apart from our competitors. The idea behind the strategy was simple: to serve our clients’ needs by bringing together our most talented employees from all disciplines – creative, media, digital and design.
We also created Havas Villages – unique office environments where teams work collaboratively to deliver great work to our clients. We now have more than 60 Havas Villages across the world, all sharing a common ethos and creative energy. Above all, these villages are designed to be welcoming, healthy and inspiring environments for our most valuable assets: the 20,000 talented individuals who make up the Havas family.
In 2017, we made another transformative move by joining integrated content and media group Vivendi and shifting our focus to become a communications player operating at the core of the creative world, fully investing in culture and content. Our partnership with Vivendi has given us the competitive advantage of privileged access to premium content from other Vivendi assets such as Universal Music, Canal+, Editis and Gameloft. Thanks to our shared culture and global mindset, Havas employees can enjoy an entrepreneurial workplace and broader career development opportunities as a result of the partnership.
Meaning is everything
Throughout its history, Havas Group has demonstrated its ability to rapidly adapt to changes in the communications sector. We have seen our industry transform dramatically in the face of multiple threats, from cuts in marketing budgets and the rise of in-house communications departments to the emergence of new competitors, such as tech giants and consulting firms.
Looking beyond our own industry, more general issues face the world today. According to our The Future of Trust report, the world is seeing a widespread crisis of trust, with 85 percent of respondents considering trust to be a rare value these days. As such, today’s customers are looking for more meaningful and engaging content than ever, changing the way brands and companies operate and how they treat their customers.
Our response to this challenging ecosystem was to put meaningfulness at the core of who we are and what we do. Meaningfulness has always been a solid part of our foundations. Ever since we published our first Meaningful Brands report in 2009, we have understood the importance of measuring the quality of brands’ services and associated business returns.
This ongoing research – covering 350,000 individuals and 1,800 brands in 31 markets – has found that consumers expect brands to provide them with value beyond their products simply addressing the challenges facing society and taking a stand on various issues. Thanks to this precious insight, we know that doing good helps businesses grow, with brands that advocate responsible business outperforming the stock market by more than 134 percent. Meaningfulness is not just a posture – it is a growth driver.
Leading by example
We ‘walk the talk’ with our ambitious corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments. We focus on three areas: nurturing our people, communicating responsibly and respecting the environment. We are also part of a variety of initiatives that positively contribute to society. One such initiative is the UN’s Common Ground project, which sees industry leaders across the marketing and communications industry collaborating to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition, in 2018, our teams dedicated more than 8,000 days to pro bono work for the various causes we support. We have been awarded the Eco-Vadis gold medal for CSR performance two years in a row. We are also advancing our talent programmes and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion across all our agencies.
It is obvious to us that our job at Havas extends beyond supporting brands with their communications: we must use our creative ideas to drive positive change and minimise any negative effect on society. We must share this ethos with the companies we work with by encouraging them to grow sustainably and explore how, beyond their products, they can tangibly improve people’s lives. Our mission is to make a meaningful difference to businesses and people. That is what defines Havas.