Accenture introduced a new purpose and slogan this week, to suit what CEO Julie Sweet called, the company’s ‘Henry Ford’ moment.
“We thought digital transformation would take a decade. COVID has shortened to what we think is more like five. It feels like our Henry Ford moment. Think about the Industrial Revolution. It was going on for a couple of hundred years and then Henry Ford came along and actually created the modern corporation.”Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture
A New Purpose, Strategy & Positioning
In an industry not known for brilliant communication, Accenture has stood out for being straightforward and sophisticated. This goes all the way back to its inception in 2001, when it spun-off from the beleaguered Anderson Consulting. The company launched a successful ‘High Performance Delivered’ positioning and backed it with a high-decibel campaign that is rumoured to have cost US$ 175 million. Accenture’s brand ambassador from 2003 to 2009 was Tiger Woods. Until Woods’ contract was discontinued, that campaign created what must be some of the most memorable B2B advertising in history.
Up until 2017, Accenture’s articulated strategy was ‘Rotation to the New,’ with a focus on moving clients to the cloud and digital services. The company worked with WPP-owned brand consultancy Landor to reflect this in brand positioning and identity, resulting in the slogan ‘New Applied Now.’ The ‘More than >’ symbol that has been part of Accenture’s logotype since the beginning, was magnified and used as a prominent visual device through all brand collateral.
Accenture’s new company purpose, announced this week, is to “deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity.” The articulated strategy has moved from ‘Rotation to the New’ to “360° Value,” which the company explains as “helping clients transform and reinvent their businesses, reskill their employees, or become more sustainable”. A company statement explaining the shift says that “In this moment, to emerge stronger there is only one choice: embrace change and ensure that it benefits all — your customers, people, shareholders, partners and communities.”
The new positioning and purpose was developed by Droga5, the highly- regarded creative agency that Accenture acquired in 2019 for a reported US$475 million.
One thing that Accenture does better than most of its competitors is creating integrated communication around a single brand platform. Whether it is communicating its employer brand proposition (Change is the most dynamic, powerful source of progress you have) or industry insights (Voices of change), it has always gone deep to create a seamless brand experience. Given that it is a services company for whom the quality of talent is critical, one can safely assume that appeal to potential employees will have been a major filter for the new branding.
The new positioning will be launched via a campaign that highlights change, both ‘small and seismic’ with a budget of US$ 90 million.