The method and the madness: will consultancies drive collaboration or competition?

Karmarama was acquired by Accenture in 2016

As systems-driven management consultancies such as Deloitte, Accenture and PwC team up with creative agencies, and clients increasingly look to both to solve complex strategic problems, is it possible for hearts and minds to come together in harmony? In the latest issue of The Drum, we explore the impact of consultancies on ad land’s future.

There’s no denying that bringing together the creative culture of an agency with a process-driven consultancy business takes work. But could this meeting of left-brain and right-brain reflect the way advertising is changing shape with the impending march of management consultancies? Will the future bring a fight to the death between consultants and agencies, or are we likely to see more in the way of (perhaps reluctant) partnerships in response to increasingly complex client needs?

Management consultancies have made no secret of their ambitions to eat agencies’ lunch, acquiring creative agencies to bolster their marketing expertise and build end-to-end solutions for clients. In addition to Accenture Interactive’s acquisition of Karmarama (one of 16 in five years), Deloitte Digital bought San Francisco advertising agency Heat and PwC cemented its push into advertising with the purchase of Stockholm design agency Pond.

Such moves place management consultancies squarely in turf that was traditionally the preserve of agencies.

Results International partner Julie Langley predicts more industry competition, not collaboration, in response. “The consultancies have been getting a toe-hold in agencies’ core market because digitization of our daily lives has changed the way consumers engage with brands. If a bank wants to change the way it is perceived, a rebranding exercise and ad campaign is not enough – every customer touchpoint must change.”

To read the full feature in The Drum’s October issue, subscribe to The Drum+.

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