Financial Year 2018/19: Serviceplan Group grows above industry average

Advertising, Business
The Serviceplan Group, Europe’s largest owner- and partner-managed agency group, is continuing to grow and can look back on a successful financial year for 2018/2019. The overall agency fee volume for the Serviceplan Group in its 48th financial year (1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019) was EUR 442 million. This represents an increase in sales of 7% compared to the previous year (2017/18: EUR 415 million), which makes it significantly more than the average growth for international agency networks. According to the 2018 AdAge rankings, in the last calendar year, large networks recorded average growth of around 2%.

The Serviceplan Group is also growing at an above-average rate compared to the agency sector in Germany. With a fee volume of EUR 337 million, sales increased by 4% (2017/18: EUR 324 million), which is significantly higher than the average increase in sales for German advertising and communications agencies, which was reported at 0.56% for 2018 in the GWA Spring Monitor.

Munich House of Communication

Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group:

We are extremely satisfied with the continued growth, which is well above the industry trend in Germany and globally, especially in view of the increasingly difficult environment we find ourselves in. Clients are exercising restraint; advertising budgets tend to be smaller and are partly integrated into building their own digital infrastructure. At the same time, there is a rapidly growing need for integrated communication solutions and agency offers tailored to the needs of individual customers – even across national borders. Here we can score points with our “House of Communication” model, which we are continuously expanding at our now 24 locations worldwide. We are also proud that we have once again received great international recognition for our creative achievements. For example, Serviceplan was named “Independent Agency of the Year” at the New York Festival last spring.

The continuous growth of the Serviceplan Group is the result of three main factors. Above all, a very active new customer business. In the past financial year, the Serviceplan Group was able to acquire or defend over 350 new customers and accounts. In Germany, these include HSE24, LinkedIn, Lufthansa, Calzedonia, Munich airport, Hans im Glück, Weber Grill and Airbnb.

Thanks to its international set-up with offices in the most important economic areas in Europe, Asia and North America, the Serviceplan Group is increasingly able to serve customers across several different locations and regions, responding to growing customer demand for integrated agency solutions across national borders. These clients include Metro AG, Vorwerk, Hilti and Hipp.

The Serviceplan Group’s digital business is an additional growth factor and now accounts for around 60% of turnover for the entire Group. Under the umbrella of the Plan.Net Group, the offer was also expanded last year, including the foundation of Plan.Net Neo, which specialises in the data-based integration of content and media. The creation of the new Plan.Net Cologne under the executive management of Willi Kaiser and Jens Krahe is also strengthening the offer.

After the successful first year of Plan.Net Innovation Studio at the headquarters in Munich, a second innovation hub was founded in the House of Communication in Hamburg at the start of the year.

The Serviceplan Group can also score points in the field of artificial intelligence and caused a stir with the AI-based Brand Investor Tool, which streamlines media planning in a completely new way, enabling intermedia planning on marketing goals and target groups with integrated success predictions. The Brand Investor is the result of a collaboration between Mediaplus and Plan.Net Business Intelligence. The topic of Artificial Creativity is also playing an increasingly important role in the field of AI.

International agency fees of the Serviceplan Group in the last financial year came to EUR 105 million. This is an increase of around 15% compared to the previous year (2017/18: EUR 91 million).

As part of its internationalisation, the Serviceplan Group has established itself as the first German-based global agency group in 35 countries, with 24 of its own locations and around 4,200 employees worldwide, as well as other partner locations. The agency model “House of Communication” plays a central role in this and is being continually expanded at all locations. For example, in the autumn of 2018, a new, modern “Maison de la Communication” was opened in Paris; in Spain, the offer was augmented by the media agency Alma Mediaplus.

For the Serviceplan Group head office in Munich, planning for the new headquarters began in the last financial year. It will be built in the up-and-coming “Werksviertel” quarter in the east of the city and will set new standards for the agency industry. The move is planned for 2022.

In addition to setting up its own locations, Serviceplan has also been in a strategic partnership with the independent agency groups Hakuhodo (Japan) and Unlimited (UK) since the beginning of 2019, giving it access to numerous other partner locations in Asia and the United Kingdom. The aim of the collaboration is to offer globally operating companies an integrated offer. The partners also want to benefit from each other in the areas of creation, media and data, as well as technology.

The Best Brands Awards, which have been successful in Germany for 16 years, continue to expand: in the spring of 2019, the brand award based on GfK studies took place for the first time in Russia. In addition to those held in Germany, local Best Brands Awards already exist in France, Belgium, Italy and China.