The Serviceplan Group closed the 2016/2017 financial year with an increase in sales of 14 per cent and generated agency fees of EUR 388 million. Europe’s largest independent communications agency was thus well above the industry average this year.
Munich, July 27th 2017 — The Serviceplan Group, Europe’s largest owner-managed communications agency, has closed a successful financial year in 2016/2017 too. Following today’s publication of its preliminary figures for the 46th financial year, which ran from July 1st 2016 to June 30th 2017, the Group was almost three times as successful as the bulk of German advertising and communications agencies, who had looked to the future in this year’s GWA Spring Monitor with an increase in sales of 3.75 per cent. The Serviceplan Group’s balance sheet shows growth of 14 per cent. The Group recorded gross income (fees and commission) of EUR 388 million (2015/2016: EUR 340 million). Staffing levels were also further strengthened over the past financial year: the agency currently has a workforce of around 3,400 employees nationally and internationally. The number of employees has therefore increased year on year by 300 (2015/2016: just under 3,100). The sharp increase is principally the result of the expansion of the international offices. Per capita sales were just under EUR 114,000 (2015/2016: EUR 111,000). In the past financial year, international sales amounted to EUR 83 million – up 7.8 per cent on the previous year’s EUR 77 million in 2015/2016.
Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group, adds: “The Serviceplan Group made extraordinary strides again in the past financial year – both in terms of growth and also performance. We were able to establish Houses of Communication at a number of international locations and now also have a presence on the ground in Poland. We continue to be represented in top positions in the area of creation and the topic of consulting has successfully developed into a successful and important product even after the first financial year. The Plan.Net Group celebrated its 20th anniversary and we can address the needs of our customers around the globe with innovative products in areas such as business intelligence, content, programmatic and personalisation.”
All divisions within the agency group recorded significant growth rates. The strongest pillar in the past financial year was the agency group for digital communication under the Plan.Net brand. It contributed EUR 98 million, or 25.3 per cent, of the Group’s total sales (2015/2016: 89 million; 26.2 per cent).
The media agency managed under the Mediaplus brand, which contributed 22.7 per cent of the Group’s total sales, increased its sales by 14.3 per cent to EUR 88 million (2015/2016: 77 million; 22.6 per cent). This includes the results of the Facit Group.
Saint Elmo’s posted sales of EUR 12 million this year, thereby contributing 3.1 per cent of the Group’s total sales growth of 9.1 per cent (2015/16: 11 million; 3.2 per cent).
WEFRA Mediaplus – the joint venture is a subsidiary of WEFRA Media GmbH and the Mediaplus Group – more than doubled in the Nielsen billings in the past financial year at more than EUR 110 million.
The Serviceplan brand also grew again in the past financial year and generated agency fees of EUR 92 million – this corresponds to a share of 23.7 per cent (2015/2016: 76 million; 22.4 per cent).
Serviceplan Solutions – the holding established in 2012 to bring together all of the Group’s realisation services – recorded a result of EUR 11 million in the past financial year and thus accounts for 2.8 per cent of total sales. This result corresponds to a growth of 22.2 per cent year on year (9 million; 2.6 per cent).
The Serviceplan Consulting Group, which was founded in spring 2016, is shown for the first time in this year’s balance sheet. Generating agency fees of four million, it contributed one per cent of total sales.
The impressive growth of the Group was due largely to the expansion of existing client business and to the acquisition of over 250 new clients and accounts nationally and just under 150 new clients and accounts internationally. The following accounts were won or won back in Germany: AOK Bayern, Capri-Sun, Deutsche Bahn Regio, Deutsche Lufthansa, DZ Bank, Lornamed, Motorola as well as Tee Gschwendner. The most important clients acquired at international locations were Develey (Poland), Teatro alla Scala (Italy), Hipp (Russia) as well as Vlam (Belgium and India).
With a 21.4 per cent share of overall sales and revenue of 83 million (2015/2016: 77 million; 22.6 %) the offices abroad therefore made a substantial and steadily increasing contribution to total sales in the past financial year.
The Serviceplan Group celebrated the most top positions among relevant rankings in Germany in the past financial year, and thus recorded the greatest success in its agency history with a total number of six top positions.
The Serviceplan Group occupied top spot both with Horizont and Red Box in the 2016 creative rankings. Serviceplan can attribute its success in both rankings especially to the campaigns “Dot. The first Braille Smartwatch”, “The Les Paul Skill Check” and “Sky Sqreening”.
The Serviceplan Group likewise came out on top in the special efficiency rating of the industry publication Werben & Verkaufen (W&V) – for the second time in a row.
Digitally the Group was also successful again: Plan.Net together with Serviceplan was voted most successful agency for the third time in a row in February 2017 in the digital creative rankings published by the German Federal Association of Digital Commerce (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft – BDW).
When the most prestigious award of the German media industry was awarded for the 19th time – the German Media Awards – the Mediaplus Group was likewise able to scoop top spot. The media experts from the Serviceplan Group therefore made the winners’ podium three times and thus won the most awards in spring 2017.
Serviceplan also won a total of six awards in the past year in the Clio Health Awards and thus received the distinction of “Agency of the Year”.
A place on the winners’ podium was also secured in the area of design, with the Serviceplan Group scooping twelve Red Dots and five Red Dot: Best of the Best awards. Europe’s largest owner-managed group of agencies was also delighted to receive the accolade of Red Dot: Agency of the Year 2016.
The agency group had yet another top spot to celebrate with its second place award in W&V’s creative rankings.
In spring 2017, the Art Directors Club for Germany (ADC) honoured the best work in the German creative sector for the 53rd time. The Serviceplan Group was awarded a Grand Prix in the design category for “Dot. The first Braille Smartwatch” as well as a total of 21 Nails.
The Serviceplan Group also achieved success at the Eurobest Festival 2016, cleaning up with a total of 14 medals.
Alexander Schill, CCO of the Serviceplan Group, explains: “We are delighted with the many awards achieved for the Group in the past year too and with the countless top positions in the rankings – this makes me extremely proud. The collaboration with Dot. was our most successful project last year – a completely new way of working for us too. We acquired a stake in a company for the first time and are helping to design and market an incredibly innovative product. This is something I would like to continue to promote in the future too.”
The drawing power of the Serviceplan Group in attracting the global creative elite continues unbroken – Serviceplan succeeded in winning Dimitri Guerassimov and Fabien Teichner for the French office in April 2017. Two top-class creative experts of international renown were thus secured, who take on the roles of Partner and Chief Creative Officer for Serviceplan France at the Paris office.
A new position opened up for a highly decorated advertiser in the person of Jason Romeyko, who joined the Serviceplan Group at the end of 2016. He took over the newly created role of Worldwide Executive Creative Director (WWECD) at Serviceplan International on July 1st 2017. The 44-year old is thus responsible for the creative management of the current 20 Serviceplan agencies – including Amsterdam, Bremen, Brussels, Delhi, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Cologne, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Beijing, Rennes, Seoul, Shanghai, Valencia, Vienna and Zurich.
Alexander Schill, who established the Creative Board in 2016, which focuses on large international budgets and campaigns, had already brought Jason Romeyko to the Serviceplan Group at the end of 2016 as Global ECD and appointed the multiply acclaimed creative expert in spring 2017 to the role of WWECD. This new role will enhance the reputation and perception of the model of the “House of Communication” even more creatively around the globe.
Another big name was announced at the start of July 2017 at the Berlin office. With the top creative mind Myles Lord, the House of Communication Berlin underscores its claim to being a creative agency. Together with Consulting Managing Director Alexander Yazdi, Myles Lord is to expand the campaign area as an independent agency offering under the umbrella of the House of Communication Berlin. The focus of the creative agency is on marketing clients as well as on international budgets, which are becoming increasingly important at Serviceplan’s Berlin office. The native South African will start at the end of this year. Alexander Schill: “We have succeeded in winning an amazing person and creative mind with Myles. I am proud to have him on board. He is an enormous asset not just for Berlin but for the entire agency.”
Alongside the four brands Serviceplan, Plan.Net, Mediaplus and Facit, the Serviceplan Group is now establishing Serviceplan Solutions as a fifth pillar. The agency has existed since 2012 as an independent holding and is now known as “Solutions”. The performance portfolio continues to focus on adaptive and transcreative implementation of communication measures together with cloud-based tools for the efficiency-enhancing “Intelligent Marketing Services” product developed in-house. The promise of the Solutions brand is “reducing complexity”.
A new agency under the Serviceplan brand launched last summer and has successfully established itself with customers within the shortest time imaginable: Christina Antes and Hans-Peter Sporer founded the Serviceplan Campaign X agency in Munich on July 1st 2016 as Managing Directors. The agency had been a division of the Serviceplan Group since January 2015. The some 20-person strong team boasts an impressive customer list including Sky, MINI, Strellson, Sonax and also BMW Motorrad.
Changes are also afoot in the area of Public Relations: Frank Behrendt joined the Serviceplan Group in February 2017 as Managing Director of Serviceplan Public Relations – joining the two founders and Managing Directors of the Serviceplan Public Relations Group Thorsten Hebes and Klaus Weise. This latest addition to the team means that PR and content services can now also be offered in Cologne and no longer simply in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin. Communication expert Frank Behrendt shares responsibility for the content-related enhanced development of Serviceplan Public Relations and for new business.
The Serviceplan Group likewise extended its expertise in the area of healthcare on March 1st 2017 and enhanced its portfolio in the pharmaceuticals market with the takeover of Beck & Co. Beck & Co continues to remain a separate and independent entity under the management of Norbert Beck under the name Beck Health.
Growth in the capital too: the Serviceplan Group in Berlin has continued on its growth path and on June 1st opened the new House of Communication at the Forum Museumsinsel in the centre of Berlin, which is managed by Benedikt Göttert. The agency is therefore located in one of Berlin’s most creative and promising neighbourhoods – and combines all service areas of Europe’s largest independent communication agency under one roof.
Thanks to the merger with the content marketing agency Crispy Content, a significant new dimension has been added to Serviceplan Berlin’s content marketing portfolio. The Serviceplan Content Berlin start-up brings together the 18-person strong team of Frank Meinke, previously Managing Director for Content at the location, and the twelve employees of Gerrit Grunert, previously Managing Director of Crispy Content, whose core competencies lie in the area of performance-oriented and automated content marketing. Both communication experts will henceforth act as Managing Directors and Partners of Serviceplan Content Berlin.
The internationalisation of the Mediaplus Group is progressing with great strides. With the two most recent investments in Spain and Russia, the Mediaplus Group is now represented in 35 countries around the world, and with over 1,500 employees in the EMEA region can offer the proven Mediaplus service. Plans are under way to expand into Asia and the United States as well.
The Mediaplus Group is now represented in the following countries outside of Germany: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Turkey, UAE, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Hungary, Ukraine and Belarus.
Customers who are served by the Mediaplus Group internationally include BMW, Hornbach, WMF and the Adelholzener Group among others.
Mediaplus is also on a growth path in Germany. Since March 2017, the brand is also represented in Cologne and Berlin. Mediaplus Regio has had a presence in Cologne since 2012, with Mediaplus now set for expansion in North Rhine-Westphalia. Esther Busch is Managing Director and Partner at Mediaplus Cologne. The acknowledged media expert is likewise Managing Director of Mediaplus Regio. Mediaplus Cologne offers customers the first owner/partner-managed media agency in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Rhine-Main region. Mediaplus will now also have a base in Berlin when it moves into the capital’s House of Communication, with Esther Busch and Andreas Fuhlisch as Managing Directors.
Mediaplus recorded growth of 17 per cent and achieved a fifth place position in the RECMA Ranking 2017, conducted by independent French market research institute RECMA. The media agency enjoys a “dominant” position and is thus the number one and ahead of the other two competitors, who have received the same title, according to the number of points (23). Furthermore Mediaplus was able to secure the first place in the innovation ranking.
In the ranking of all purchasing companies, MGMP, Magna Global Mediaplus, succeeded in moving up to second place.
When the most prestigious award of the German media industry was awarded for the 19th time – the German Media Awards – the Mediaplus Group secured a top ranking once more. The media experts from the Serviceplan Group therefore made the winners’ podium three times and thus won the most awards, making Mediaplus the proud holder of a total of 35 German Media Awards.
Andrea Malgara, Managing Director of the Mediaplus Group, is in no doubt: “We have had a very good year and we are all very proud of the many important milestones we have reached. The billings exceeded the EUR 200 million mark internationally in the past financial year. There is also a great deal to report from the various offices: we are already active in 35 countries and have a broad customer base internationally – our recipe for success is therefore on an upward trend. And it wasn’t just in the area of growth and internationalisation that we were able to excel: we launched the first programmatic HbbTV campaign nationwide in Germany with Lovescout24 and successfully launched 141 programmatic campaigns with a total of 33 customers. We are therefore further along the path towards new technologies, innovations and countries for our customers.”
Everything under one roof: in founding the Facit “House of Research” in September 2016, the Serviceplan Group has united the main research disciplines of the future under one roof at the Munich site. Four specialised areas of research come together in the new Facit House of Research: Facit Research, Facit Media Research, Facit Digital as well as Facit Business Intelligence. Facit provides innovative and customised market research services. Integrated research concepts can be developed thanks to the networking of the various disciplines.
Barbara Evans, previously Managing Director of Facit Research, Mediaplus Group, was appointed Managing Director of Mediaplus in May 2017 and thus also joined Mediaplus Holding. In this role she remains responsible for the House of Research as part of the Mediaplus Group and is also still their Spokesperson. Kerstin Niederauer-Kopf was appointed the new Managing Director of Facit Research at the same time and thus succeeds Barbara Evans. Until recently she was employed by ARD-Werbung Sales & Services GmbH (AS&S) as Head of Advertising and Market Research. Now she is responsible for the 15-strong market research and consultancy team, for strategic development and for communicating with the company’s national and international customers.
The Plan.Net Group can rejoice at two significant milestones: total sales at the digital agency exceeded the EUR 100 million mark (EUR 100.9 million) for the first time in the 2016 calendar year. And the Group is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year too. Established in 1997, Plan.Net is one of the largest independent digital agencies in Europe today and has a presence at more than 25 locations internationally. Plan.Net Concept and Plan.Net Media were the first two agencies to be launched. The range of services now extends from consulting, business intelligence and marketing automation through the design and implementation of digital platforms, products, integrated campaigns and content marketing strategies, to performance marketing, media procurement and planning. To celebrate the 20th birthday, the Plan.Net Group is looking back. Under the theme “Born Digital”, Plan.Net Campaign’s film looks at milestones from two decades of Internet history.
The Group pressed on with developing its portfolio in the past financial year. Following on from the founding of Plan.Net Content Marketing and Plan.Net Business Intelligence in 2015, PREX Programmatic Exchange (or PREX for short) as well as Plan.Net Pulse launched in July 2016. Like Plan.Net Business Intelligence, PREX is a joint venture of Mediaplus and the Plan.Net Group and is responsible for the purchasing, accounting, processing and optimisation of all programmatic campaign components within the Serviceplan Group. Plan.Net Pulse emerged from the merger of Plan.Net Solutions and Aquarius Digital and offers a comprehensive range of services for digital solutions.
On September 1st 2016, Klaus Schwab also joined senior management at Plan.Net as a Director alongside Manfred Klaus and Markus Maczey. He is responsible for strategy, consulting, business development and marketing, while Manfred Klaus continues to oversee corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, media and finance. As Chief Creative Officer, Markus Maczey is responsible for the creative product of the Plan.Net Group, driving creative topics and innovation forward. The creative success of the Plan.Net Group is last but not least confirmed by its position at the top of the rankings for digital creation published by the German Federal Association of Digital Commerce (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft - BVDW). Plan.Net together with Serviceplan scooped the top prize for the third time in a row in this category in 2017.
The Plan.Net Group has also widened its international presence: as part of this measure, Plan.Net Suisse has expanded through the merger with INM AG. Plan.Net Italia further expanded the range of services offered in the areas of digital strategy and creation by joining up with Develon Digital. Furthermore, Plan.Net is now represented in Korea.
“By continuously enhancing our performance portfolio, which covers the requirements of digital transformation, we are ideally positioned to offer customers exactly the solution they crucially need for business success, and for their future viability”, says Manfred Klaus, Spokesman for the Board of Management at the Plan.Net Group. “We will continue to invest especially in our growth drivers of performance marketing, e-commerce, content marketing, business intelligence and E-CRM. We will also further consolidate our technology expertise to use data-driven insights to render the marketing activities of our customers even more efficient.”
Internationally the Serviceplan Group was able to develop relevant markets and expand its portfolio at existing locations. New international Houses of Communication were established at locations in Poland and Ukraine. Mediaplus is now active right across the EMEA region at more than 20 locations.
Further important steps were successfully taken: Serviceplan Middle East, which has already been responsible for the MENA region since 2010, is expanding its regional presence since the opening of new offices in the Dubai Design District in November 2016. As a full service agency, Serviceplan Middle East has successfully positioned the following international customers in the Arabian market: BMW, MINI, Danone, Nutricia and Rolls Royce. This is in addition to the familiar regional brands from the hotel, insurance and consumer goods sector.
Relocations also took place in Switzerland: the House of Communication of the Serviceplan Group in Switzerland packed up and left its former location in November 2016 to set up camp in the Seefeld district of Zurich. More than 120 employees from the widest range of disciplines will come together here.
The Serviceplan Group also has a presence in Poland since December 2016. And apart from Warsaw, Serviceplan and Plan.Net are also represented in Kiev. Having acquired a minority holding in Group One, Poland’s largest independent agency group headquartered in Warsaw, Serviceplan now has a presence at more than 35 locations around the globe. Group One has a total workforce of 300 employees. Thanks to the holding in the likewise independent agency Group One, which like Serviceplan is the largest independent agency group in Poland, Serviceplan now has a presence in Poland too in addition to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, France and the Benelux countries.
There were likewise some changes in Korea: Julie Kang is the new Managing Director of Serviceplan Korea since January 2017 and will guide the agency in Seoul in this role on its path towards becoming the most innovative and creative agency in the country. The Serviceplan Group also extended its presence in Seoul, with all aspects of digital marketing being covered straight away by Plan.Net Korea. The newly founded agency is headed by Junhwa Hong, previously Managing Director of the Integrated Campaign Group (IC) at Chai Communication.
Other news from Switzerland: Plan.Net Suisse AG and the Swiss Internet marketing agency INM AG joined forces in 2017. INM and Plan.Net Suisse were thus merged and are now trading as one under Plan.Net Suisse. Philipp Sauber will be the Managing Director and Partner of the new agency. He was most recently owner of the digital agency INM.
Markus Noder, Managing Director of Serviceplan International, reflects on a successful financial year: “We are getting closer to our goal of developing and expanding Serviceplan into an international brand. We organised successful international campaigns in the past year for well-known customers such as Becks, Capri-Sun or Telekom.
The Serviceplan Group continues to focus on the topic of innovation, addressing the topics that concern the sector and searching for solution approaches together with customers. The interest rate policy of the ECB, progressive disruption in the industry as well as completely changed competition structures caused by digitalisation mean that financial institutions are under pressure. The classic business models of banks and insurance companies are no longer working – the changes in customer behaviour are simply too great.
It was against this backdrop that Serviceplan launched the digitalised point of sale project for financial services, known as weFinance, in its “weShop”, which it opened in 2014 together with partners Cisco, Ernst & Young (EY) Financial Services Advisory, Vitra as well as weShop.one. The showroom, which is to be understood as a laboratory, shows how virtual and real worlds interact intelligently with one another.
Employees take centre stage for the Serviceplan Group, as seen from the many development and further training initiatives and programmes that were launched in the past financial year. Special “Campus” programmes for management training were thus approved, for example, under the leadership of Winfried Bergmann, Head of Human Resources, as well as a new e-learning programme that can also be rolled out internationally, and individual development plans for high performers.
Moreover, the Serviceplan Group launched the Communication Club in 2016 – an alumni programme for all former permanent employees of the Serviceplan Group. Following a successful launch event with more than 120 former employees in 2016, the second round got under way in spring 2017.
Florian Haller on the growth of the Group in the coming financial year: “Our most important goal is to also make the Serviceplan brand known internationally. Moreover, we want to expand the existing locations and focus on successfully establishing the ‘House of Communication’ concept at existing locations.”