Awards case study: Learn how Publicis Sapient won out for ‘Best brand initiative’

Find out how Publicis Sapient saw a 174% increase in brand name search and 722% increase in mentions.

About the client company

Publicis Sapient (PS) is a digital transformation partner helping established organizations get to their future, digitally-enabled state, both in the way they work and the way they serve their customers. PS helped unlock value through a start-up mindset and modern methods, fusing strategy, consulting and customer experience with agile engineering and problem-solving

creativity. As digital pioneers with 20,000 people and 53 offices around the globe, their experience spanning technology, data sciences, consulting and customer obsession – combined with its culture of curiosity and relentlessness – enables them to

accelerate clients’ businesses through designing the products and services their customers truly value. Publicis Sapient is the digital business transformation hub of Publicis Groupe. 

Strategy – broader business issues the company is facing

In 2018, Publicis Sapient was in the middle of a Brand Identity Crisis. They were shifting its business strategy to seize the digital business transformation opportunity and they had several external-facing brands without a clear vision, leading to market and client confusion and lack of awareness and identity. Brand study and research showed that Publicis Sapient was unknown in the marketplace and therefore was less credible than necessary as a formidable partner for DBT. Sapient and Sapient brands had come to signal a certain set of capabilities, not inclusive of DBT. Multiplicity of vision had eroded internal belief in their ability to compete.

Aggressive growth strategy aimed at the most sophisticated buyers required clarity of message and hyper-focus. There was a huge opportunity to capture DBT market space, requiring a strong and well-defined brand and value proposition. Their biggest challenge was that Incumbent competition was strong and forceful and invested aggressively in brand building and content creation.

Objectives of the campaign

Their goal was to develop a unique and distinctive market position to reflect a new vision to more accurately align with their new strategy and give them better potential for consideration among C-level. They wanted to engage in an aggressive challenger brand strategy that would place them into an established, incumbent consideration set. They set out to unify brands and websites under one global brand and redefine the experience. Plus, build advocacy from within through strong and clear brand identity, and tools to interact with clients. And lastly, they wanted to consolidate and connect digital channels to create clarity and credibility for its PS brand and improve client engagement and conversion.

They created and launched a single, powerful, credible brand against a significant business transformation opportunity. PS launched a multi-phase, multi-channel brand campaign targeting C-level and Marketing executives. They designed a new website with the purpose of driving growth and brand awareness and to position PS as a leader in DBT. They also created a streamlined digital ecosystem that enables global go to market teams to generate growth and create meaningful engagement with clients. PS wanted to siege the market advantages of being a disrupter through powerful messaging that challenges the status quo. Their campaign strategy was all about changing the consideration criteria with a better HOW. Their insight was in between now and next is the space that dictates the outcome.


PS first commissioned a brand perception study that produced three key lessons and insights. First, Sapient was the one brand with the most equity in the market. People surveyed associated Sapient with creativity, technology, innovation and customer centricity. 

Second, Publicis signaled global reach and access. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly was culture and heritage. They are strong assets, and respondents when they talked about them, talked about being creative, challenging the status quo, always thinking about the customer, and innovation. They took this feedback to help inform not just brand positioning and its message in the marketplace, but also what their brand should stand for. 

PS crafted a creative brief from their findings and kicked off the Brand identity phase internally. Working with an outside vendor to evolve their visual brand expression felt inauthentic so they set out to crowdsource ideas from teams across the company. Approaching the project this way was step one in bringing their own people along on the brand journey. They had multiple briefing sessions for all of the major markets, and then PS opened it up to anybody and everybody to participate. In their first round, they had over 50 designers contribute pieces of work, and combine 700 pages of contributions.

The essence of the brand brief was driven from their renewed company purpose: Helping people thrive in the great pursuit of next. The identity design and campaign strategy was an expression of these notions.


They wanted to change the consideration criteria with a better HOW. They’re digital leaders. For nearly 3 decades they have been helping the world’s biggest companies gain competitive advantages through the power of digital technology and ingenuity.

Their HOW is more comprehensive and includes strategy & consulting + customer experience + engineering infused with customer obsession and a culture renowned for problem-solving creativity. PS brings a start-up mindset and methods to established companies.

The target audience

C-suite and marketing executives

Media, channels or techniques used

They created a challenger brand with digital business transformation at its core to reinforce a unique HOW. Its multi-phase year-long brand campaign with a mix of channels targeting C-level and Marketing executives yielded 40% new business of top 200+ Client Marketing influenced pipeline.

Timescales of the campaign

One year


They created a challenger brand with digital business transformation at its core to reinforce a unique HOW. Its multi-phase year-long brand campaign with a mix of channels targeting C-level and Marketing executives yielded 40% new business of top 200+ Client Marketing influenced pipeline.

PS witnessed significant strides and achievements across all areas:

  • 722% increase in earned mentions tied to Publicis Sapient & Digital Business Transformation from launch
  • $1.78 cost per click compared to paid search industry average for B2B of $3.33
  • 3X industry average display CTR
  • 174% increase in brand name search since launch
  • 27 broadcast appearances, 305 mentions in print

The moment that really stands out to me is our brand launch, which we did just nine months after I joined. I immediately knew we had too many brands, it was really daunting. We did the relaunch ‘in-house’, we outsourced our brand to over 100 designers globally and a lot of people from Germany, U.S., UK and India were involved and we had so many concepts that

came through. We settled on one and I think it really embodies the whole company, because it has the elegance of an agency, the playfulness of a tech company and then thought-leadership and wisdom of a consultancy. I am so proud, because it was created by us.

Teresa Barreira, CMO, Publicis Sapient

Elevation Awards 2021 

This entry won Gold for 'Best brand initiative'. Check out our full shortlist and full list of winners now to see who won big! 

Check out the winners here!

Elevation awards Cross Sell