Accenture's New Brand Strategy - Will It Work in 2021?
By Beatrice Bertazzoni, VI360
Accenture has unveiled a new brand strategy: ‘delivering 360° value by embracing change’, which is described as ‘helping clients transform and reinvent their business, reskill their employees, or become more sustainable’.
According to the company this move builds on their successful delivery of their previous strategy: ‘rotate to the new: unleash the power of digital’. This was developed in 2014, a time where most companies had not fully embraced ‘the new’ digital opportunities as a means to sharpen their competitive edge and improve their business performance. Back then, Accenture’s strategic focus was on pushing its digital services above strategy and consulting, to convey the importance of digital transformation. During that time, many other professional services players moved quickly to establish their own digital consulting divisions, giving the rise to new practices focused on finding new opportunities through technology.
Now, just six years later, approximately 70% of Accenture business is focussed on digital, with technology, cloud, and security being at the core of their success. Market dynamics and customer needs have changed and digital expertise can no longer be considered a standalone offer. Digital is embedded in everything companies do and it is an essential component across all industries and services.
Having identified the need to adapt to a changing marketplace, Accenture is once again, seizing this as an opportunity to reposition themselves as an agile partner providing services at 360°. This time, however, Accenture will go further. The launch of the company’s new brand strategy also coincides with the introduction of the brand purpose which is the reason behind Accenture’s existence: ‘to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity’.
The company’s purpose ties directly to the ‘why’ behind what they do and reflects the human ingenuity of Accenture’s people and their commitment to using technology to deliver value for all their stakeholders. Companies often forget to communicate the deeper reason of their existence, but as they strive for differentiation and relevance, a clear purpose - brought to life in compelling and creative ways - is what makes them stand apart from the competition.
Purpose-driven companies elicit passion and commitment from their people, motivate stakeholders, and connect with customers at a deeper level, ensuring that they are clear on the kind of partners they are doing business with. Recent analysis of ‘purposeful’ organisations by the Corporate Board/EY Global Leadership Forecast shows compelling financial evidence suggesting that companies embedding purpose in everything they do, outperform all the others by 42%.
Nevertheless, one of the biggest challenges is how a company then translates purpose into action. Each encounter that a customer has with the brand should be taken as an opportunity to demonstrate that the company’s purpose is not just an empty promise. To do so effectively the brand’s purpose has to be consistently delivered across all touchpoints and aligned with the overall company strategy, values, and beliefs. Relentless delivery of an authentic and unified brand purpose is the foundation upon which brands build customer trust. Failure to do so brings doubts in the mind of the customers and in the long-term can impact on the company’s credibility.
To give substance to their long-term plan and raison d'être, Accenture have chosen to support the launch of the new brand strategy and purpose with a global brand campaign appearing across all Accenture’s internal and external digital touchpoints. ‘Let there be change’, as CMO Amy Fuller explained, means ‘bring it on, we welcome it, we acknowledge that change is a reality and that it can be an opportunity but it is not optional’.
At first glance, it may seem that Accenture is not preaching anything new: change is unavoidable, disruption to the status quo is what leads to innovation in the first place, and it is within the role of consultants to urge clients to accept and embrace change. However, by introducing purpose, the company is making an actual statement of commitment to make a difference and add value to their customers, people, shareholders, partners, and communities. As CMO Amy Fuller further explained: ‘We are following the same advice we give our clients in this time of relentless change: act with great agility and boldness. Our new campaign departs from convention to both capture our new purpose and give voice to today’s—and tomorrow’s—most pressing question: How can we help our clients embrace change to better businesses, communities, and lives?’
The creative uses a mix of high-definition images of nature, technology, and humans, it ‘depicts change – both seismic and small – optimistically capturing its power and beauty and reflecting the depth and breadth of Accenture’s expertise’. The campaign lays special emphasis on the Accenture symbol ‘>’, leveraging a powerful and recognisable brand asset that has been part of the company’s visual identity for more than 20 years.
Simultaneously launching a new strategy, purpose, and global campaign is described by the company as their ‘biggest brand move in a decade’ and, by tripling their media spend to £70 m, they are planning to do more to turn these ideals into practice. By reassessing their brand strategy, establishing a clear North Star that will guide any business decisions to come, and launching it all together coherently at a global level, Accenture laid the foundation of a future-proofed brand.