Accenture Interactive growing at well over 20% and 'vast majority' is organic

Cannes Lions: Droga (centre) and Whipple (right) with Suzanne Vranica of The Wall Street Journal
Cannes Lions: Droga (centre) and Whipple (right) with Suzanne Vranica of The Wall Street Journal

'Strong double-digit' growth is higher than 'the teens', consulting giant says.

Accenture Interactive’s revenues are increasing at well over 20% this year and the "vast, vast, vast majority of that growth" is organic, the parent company has said.

"When you look at this business this year, it [Accenture Interactive] has continued to grow strong double-digit" in terms of revenue growth, David Rowland, interim chief executive of Accenture, said, adding that the percentage increase is "not in the teens, but higher than that".

Accenture Interactive, the digital marketing and consulting arm, has previously said it had revenue of $8.5bn (£6.7bn) in the year to August 2018, meaning it is on course to pass $10bn this year.

Rowland said on Accenture’s earnings call that he was "particularly pleased" with the estimated $475m purchase of US-based creative shop Droga5, which was "by far our biggest" acquisition of the year and "significantly strengthens our capabilities to design, build and run customer experiences that grow brands and businesses".

He insisted that "the vast, vast, vast majority" of Accenture Interactive’s growth is organic, as previous acquisitions such as Fjord, Karmarama, The Monkeys and SinnerSchrader have kept expanding.

"It is fundamentally an organic-driven business where we have used the strategic acquisitions as really an igniter, if you will, of the organic growth," Rowland said, adding that Accenture Interactive "still has a big growth proposition in front of it". 

The parent company expects to spend $1.3bn on acquisitions this year.

Accenture Interactive’s growth contrasts with established holding company groups such as WPP and Publicis Groupe, which have seen revenues hit a brick wall.

Accenture Interactive launched in 2009 and positions itself as an experience agency of record that can handle every aspect of the customer experience, from product innovation and development to design, branding and marketing, to sales and distribution.

David Droga, founder of Droga5, spoke on stage at Cannes Lions last week with Brian Whipple, global chief executive of Accenture Interactive, to explain why he sold his agency to the consulting giant rather than a traditional agency group.

"The industry has changed," Droga said, because brands need a more joined-up approach that goes far beyond advertising and communications. "I want to do more, with more levers, and I want to make it consistent."

He added that "it’s humiliating because I’ve felt I’ve built this great agency over 12 years" and yet "in 10 years, they’ve built something bigger [conceptually] than any holding company by offering [a broader range of] services that we need, that clients need".

Whipple said: "Our fundamental philisophy today is that, much like Amazon, Uber and Airbnb, and many other companies, brands are not solely or prinicipally built through advertising. They're built through an amalgamation of customer or citizen or human touchpoints."

The key is to create "seamless", "holistic" experiences, Whipple said.

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