Accenture acquires Fjord: Results International suggests we will see more of this type of deal

Accenture yesterday announced that is has acquired design agency Fjord, with the aim to expand the digital and marketing capabilities Accenture offers its clients.

Brian Whipple, global managing director of Accenture Interactive, said: “Marketing and digital executives are key buyers of our services, and Fjord marks our continued strategic investment in digital and marketing to better serve our clients.”

The company suggested that the reason for the acquisition was to complement the business strategy, data analytics, technology and marketing operations services offered through Accenture Interactive.

Keith Hunt, managing partner at Results International, discusses the deal with The Drum: “The news that Accenture has acquired service design consultancy, Fjord, should come as no surprise to anyone who has been watching the way the two disciplines (management consultants and marcoms agencies) have been playing in each other’s territory – not always comfortably - over the years. Even the slightly hysterical headline in today’s Ad Age is nothing new – “Look Out: Accenture's Invading Your Turf in a Bigger Way Than Ever.” Veteran adman William Eccleshare’s move to McKinsey in 2000 prompted our trade press to warn “beware of the consultants muscling in on the business of brand-building.” The language might be different, but the sentiment is the same.

“That’s not to say the movement has all been one way. WPP’s GroupM recently launched a new Consulting Services division that many see as a direct challenge to Accenture and other players like them.

“But back to Fjord and Accenture. It’s fair to assume that Accenture has paid enough to make it worthwhile for Fjord to relinquish its independence, based on the synergy the former sees between the two businesses. I believe we will see a growing number of deals of this kind driven by the increasing importance of data and analytics to client businesses. The trend will also be driven by management consultancies recognising that they need to become more creative and to understand the role that both design and technology play in launching products that consumers really want to buy. This week sees Microsoft under fire as its much-hyped Windows 8 system stands accused of being downright user unfriendly. This is proof if any was needed of the importance of service design, the thing that Fjord does best, to businesses that are fundamentally built around technology.

“Anyone who can bring together art and science and talk to both CMOs and CIOs, whose roles are increasingly overlapping, will be well placed to succeed in the future. Today’s deal looks like it will deliver on this big time.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.