Droga5 global CCO on integrating with Accenture and influencing at scale

Neil Heymann is global CCO of Droga5

When powerhouse agency Droga5 was acquired by consultancy Accenture Interactive earlier this year, many saw it as another inevitable step towards the prolonged death of the independent creative agency. Longtime Droga5 creative Neil Heymann saw it as an opportunity to expand the company’s creative reach.

Heymann was recently named global chief creative officer, one of several creative promotions that the agency hopes will help it evolve as it integrates Accenture’s technology, data, experience design, commerce and programmatic capabilities.

He told The Drum that it helps that many of the recent promotions involved a lot of the people who helped build the reputation of Droga5, including co-chief creative officers Felix Richter and Tim Gordon and head of creative integration Julia Albu.

Whereas Droga5 as an indie agency had two offices in New York and London, its acquisition by Accenture brings the agency to a global audience, with the ability to grow into markets it has never reached before. While it’s still early in their partnership, Heymann is looking at Accenture as a welcome colleague.

“It’s a doubling down on where we’re heading in the future. Just knowing we have all these extra capabilities at our fingertips. To really delineate the responsibilities between continuing to grow the creative department and our approach, here in New York, but expanding it outside of these walls,” said Heymann.

He noted that the specifics of how the agency and consultancy will work together are still being figured out, but he’s confident it will work out well for both sides. “It’s still early days. This role is about taking what I’ve learned and what we’ve developed here at Droga5 over the last 10-plus years, and seeing how now we can apply that to the overlap with Accenture’s capabilities, and obviously their locations they have around the world.”

A continued focus on ‘influential’ creative

Heymann said that being a part of Accenture won’t change the creative DNA of the agency – to adapt and evolve, to find new areas to expand its creative principles.

“At Droga, the way we’ve always thought about it is that we want to be the most influential agency. So this is basically expanding our palette of the ways that we can be influential. That may mean that in some cases we can be a lot more nimble to service the needs of the client… but I think what’s even more exciting is when we start thinking about how the capabilities of Accenture Interactive will allow us to scale up and out, to really amplify that creativity, and to adapt it to different local markets.

“We can really be influential at scale – that’s the great potential for all of this.”

He added that Droga5 is going from more of a focus of communicating a message for a brand, to now using the company’s creative abilities to “influence the way client’s businesses are run and influence the experience of interacting with a brand, not just the way a brand talks to people.”

He said the agency needs to continue to connect with consumers emotionally, “to actually get people to feel something, and be persuaded, and have a great experience… How do we find new ways to surprise and entertain people with the way we use the media and not just blast information at them?”

Currently, Heyman believes that Droga5 is starting to make inroads into how the agency can function in conjunction with the broader Accenture Interactive network. His hope is that, in the next year, the team has more evidence of the power of the two companies' combined forces. “Whether that’s operating more at a global level, whether that’s utilizing more of their technical capabilities to really have more influence over the experience that our audience has interacting with brands. Whether that’s actually having some new Droga5 presences in different parts of the world – it’s all pretty wide open right now,” he stated.

“At the moment we’re just trying to strategize how best to utilize all this firepower that we now have,” he said.

Read more about Accenture Interactive's Creative set up and how it believes that augmented reality will help drive that forward in a round table discussion with other members of its creative leadership team in the exclusive video below.

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