Publicis CEO on the power of giving brand ownership to customers

As Publicis Groupe introduces its second Viva Technology event, it says startups should not be afraid of Brexit.

Maurice Lévy speaking at today’s Viva Technology event.

Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy says with or without Brexit, entrepreneurs will find their own way and that the success of a brand is down to ownership and the consumer being able to take charge.

Speaking at a Publicis Groupe press conference on its upcoming Viva Technology event in Paris, Lévy today (7 March) highlighted the importance of startups dreaming big and not being afraid of losing ownership to consumers.

For the entrepreneurs there are no fences. They will find their way Brexit or no Brexit.

Maurice Lévy, Publicis Groupe

The event, which is returning for its second year, will bring 5,000 startups together with a ‘130 challenges’ initiative which aims to solve the problems 20 partners are having. And Lévy does not believe Brexit is one of them.

“Whether those that have pushed for Brexit like it or not, they are still geographically in Europe,”Lévy comments.

He says Europe is no longer isolated from the UK thanks to the Channel Tunnel and that collaboration is stronger than Brexit.

“It is sad, we need to be united stronger together. But I still believe for the entrepreneurs there are no fences. They will find their way Brexit or no Brexit.”

Lévy says he has learnt from all aspects of life throughout his career including through colleagues, ‘youngsters’ and startups.

“Their dreams are big, they dream without borders and believe they will be immediately global. The difference is they don’t plan.”

He believes brands that are truly successful are those that lose ownership of their brand to the consumer, such as Unilever and P&G, and that when the consumer truly owns the brand it will “be there forever”.

“To me the great strength of brands is when you lose ownership of them and they become owned by the consumer. The day Viva Tech is owned by the consumer, is when it will be there forever,” Lévy comments.

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