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3 Actionable Insights with… Accenture Interactive chief exec Brian Whipple

'Consumer behavior is changing forever. It's not temporary,' says Whipple.

Brands are looking for guidance now more than ever. That’s why The Drum asked industry leader Brian Whipple how Accenture Interactive is advising its clients in this moment. Here are the top three actions he recommends:

1. Equip yourself for the permanency of new consumer behaviors.

“There is this false expectation that Covid-related consumer behavior is temporary. Consumer behavior has changed, likely forever, in a number of different ways. Brands, marketers and sales organizations need to start equipping themselves for that permanency.

“You can see examples of it unfolding, whether its ordering food off a menu by scanning a barcode, the increase of telemedicine and the giant shift to all things e-commerce.

“E-commerce has big implications alone. Providers of consumer goods that normally relied on a supply chain now need to have a direct-to-consumer – or at least a business-to-business – commerce presence. Consumer behavior is changing forever. It’s not temporary.“

2. Understand that brands aren’t really built from ads any more.

“Look at how brands such as Uber, Pandora, Spotify, Airbnb and others were built. Did you see TV commercials or hear radio ads? No, they were built solely through how people experienced the brands across all of the different touch points.

“Advertising still plays a huge role in the experience ecosystem, but it’s not the be all or end all. Experience is now king.

“There used to be a notion that brands were built through consistent messaging. If you tell people something about a particular product and service in the right way, with the right emotion and the right tone, consistently over enough time, they will begin to perceive certain attributes about that product or service.

“I would argue, however, that that is largely untrue today. People are more cynical. They rely on the experience with brands to form their view. Brands are built on experiences, not just advertising.“

3. Don’t downplay purpose if you want to keep future customers.

“There is a misconception that you have to choose between being ‘for profit’ and ‘for good’. And that, maybe, if you get lucky, you can find something in the middle that intersects the two.

“But what‘s changed is that there‘s going to be a huge global transfer of wealth among generations. Many trillions of dollars of wealth are passing, globally, from the older generation to millennials and Gen X. The major difference is that those consumers – those buyers in the future – care a lot about how their goods are manufactured, and whether or not the labor practices are fair and sustainability.

“Younger consumers care dramatically about brands contributions to public good. Brand purpose is not just good because it feels good and it helps people, it is good business.“

For more insights, inspiration and celebration of the advertising industry, tune into this week’s Agencies4Growth festival.

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