Winning strategy


Serviceplan's winning strategy: "agile" hubs that bring all skills together

Brussels, 3 Octobrer 2019. Serviceplan Group is the largest independent and owner-managed group of advertising agencies in Europe. It shows an extraordinary growth compared to the industry average thanks to an original concept: the “House of Communication”.

The Serviceplan Group, based in Germany, closed its last financial year (on 30th June 2019) with a worldwide turnover increase of 7% compared to the previous year, with 442 million euro. This growth is well above the sector average, estimated at 2% based on the Ad Age 2018 ranking. "We are pleased with these achievements, especially given the increasingly challenging environment in which we operate. Customers are cautious; advertising budgets are being reduced and partially integrated into the construction of proprietary digital infrastructures", says Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group.

The Serviceplan Group owes much of its success to the development of the Houses of Communication, which, from the outset, has housed all skills needed to develop integrated and innovative communication solutions under one roof. This concept is gradually being extended to the group's 24 branches around the world - from major German cities to Shanghai, Kiev and Dubai. Serviceplan's international customers include Amazon, BMW, Beck's, Burger King, Danone, L'Oréal and Metro. Last May, Serviceplan was named "Independent Agency of the Year" at the New York Festivals Advertising Awards and still yesterday the agency group has been chosen as the CRESTA (Cresta International Advertising Awards) Independent Network of the Year.

The Benelux led from Brussels

Serviceplan Group Benelux is one of the five most important international agencies of the group and is managed from Brussels by the Belgian CEO Peter Vande Graveele. The company currently employs about 100 people and has a turnover of almost 30 million euros, while the income for the financial year 2018-2019 is slightly less than 10 million euros.

The House of Communication Brussels, located in a tiny alley in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre in Brussels, where it has colonised the former tramway station, is just like the others that the group is setting up all over the world: a vibrant and agile beehive, with a permanent exchange between the different services. This hub brings together seven specialised agencies: Service plan (creation and strategy), Plan.Net (digital and technology), Mediaplus (media solutions), Mediascale (programmatics and data), 20Something (first self-directed advertising agency set up by marketing students to target young people), Solutions (marketing intelligence) and Neverest (motion design). WW (Weight Watchers), Torfs, Lactalis, American Tourister (Samsonite), Fédérale Assurance and others are among the longterm and more recent customers. "We work autonomously, with a horizontal structure, but benefit from the advantages of an international group. Without the Solutions software, for example, we would not be able to carry out all the adaptations of L'Oréal's campaigns for the Benelux markets, i.e. more than 6,000 assignments per year. For this luxury giant, this represents an important reduction of the costs associated with these localised versions", Peter Vande Graveele explains

Data management is another strength of Service Plan. Starting in October this year, Mediascale, the program and data agency, is organising "House of Data", five lunches with internationally renowned experts in data science. In cooperation with the market research agency GfK, Serviceplan also presents the "Best Brands Awards" every year. Best Brands is an annual survey (with 5,000 respondents and 350 analysed brands) that combines two aspects of marketing: economic success (share of wallet) and the emotional impact (share of soul) of a brand. A unique concept that relies exclusively on the consumer to choose the winners.

Development in the Netherlands

In Amsterdam, another House of Communication is implementing the group's integration model, with approximately 20 employees on board. The development goes on with the recent launch of Mediaplus, the media agency of the Serviceplan Group. "The establishment of this expansion started about a year ago and the work that has been done since then has been very intensive," explains Menno Westinga, Managing Director of Mediaplus. He has put together a strong team that brings together people with experience in different disciplines (strategy, creation, data, media and public relations). The Dutch agency has launched its first integrated campaigns: in addition to the food company Uniekaas and the online broker Flatex, Hornbach Nederland (a German do-it-yourself retailer) has decided to work together with Mediaplus Nederland as of 1st October.


Nancy Delhalle

Chief Marketing Officer

+32 2 774 01 00