Accenture Interactive, the marketing-focused arm of consulting firm Accenture, believes it stands apart from traditional holding companies in its organizational structure and its focus on acting as a cohesive “experience agency” for clients.
Brian Whipple, the chief executive of Accenture Interactive, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Advertising Financial Management Conference.
Earlier this year, the enterprise he leads purchased creative hot-shop Droga5, which joins a broad slate of acquisitions in the last few years, from design expert Matter and ad-tech specialist Adaptly to production house Mackevision.
Industry title Advertising Age also recently named Accenture Interactive as the world’s largest digital agency for the fourth year in a row, with revenue growing to $8.5bn.
Accenture Interactive’s expanding house of brands, and its financial muscle, seems to replicate the path to success of legacy holding companies like WPP Group, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe. But Whipple resisted this notion.
“We do not have separate P&Ls. It is very different than the holding company model,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Accenture Interactive CEO wants to create a different kind of agency.)
Building on this theme, he added, “We have one global team, with one management team around the globe, with one Accenture Interactive vision.”
There is a common misconception, Whipple continued, that Accenture Interactive’s ambition is to take down the holding companies. “That’s not part of our strategic roadmap at all – has not been, is not now, and is not going to be,” he said.
Another point of clarification: Accenture Interactive is often categorised as a consultancy, and thus as one of several firms offering a range of data analytics, strategic planning, technological, and digital-marketing solutions to clients.
But Whipple characterised the company differently. “This is a new breed of agency,” he asserted. More specifically, he described Accenture Interactive as an “experience agency.”
And the underlying philosophy behind its approach, he proposed, is “to start with the design of what the experience should be … not with an advertising creative idea, not with a cost-savings idea, not with an organisational structure.
“You start with what consumers will find [to be] a purposeful, meaningful experience, and then the medium, the technology and the creative supports what the experience needs to be.”
This article first appeared in www.warc.com