Deloitte Digital and Capgemini, which both specialize in business strategy and technology consulting services, are adding consultants with digital marketing and creative expertise.
Exhibit A: Deloitte Digital’s buyout in late February of Heat, a 12-year-old San Francisco agency that won eight prestigious Cannes Lions advertising awards for its ad design work in 2015. The company’s marquee clients include Electronic Arts and Dolby.
Deloitte Digital’s acquisition was motivated by experiences with several mutual customers, according to CEO Andy Main. One example is a project involving LG Electronics, which hired Deloitte to help launch Signature Kitchen Suite, a high-end appliance line.
Deloitte’s consulting team’s research included the demographics of potential customers and the kind of information they might want to go along with their new appliances like specialty recipes. When it came time to introduce this new technology to consumers, Deloitte referred LG Electronics to Heat, which eventually won the advertising contract for the account because it knew more about LG’s business goals and target customers for the new products.
The union of Deloitte Digital and Heat should make it simpler for chief marketing officers to measure the impact of a product launch or campaign, said Steve Stone, chairman and executive creative director of Heat.
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“Being more in tune with the business strategy will allow us to nail content better and lead to more creatively daring and effective work,” Stone said. “This will put an end to the CMO saying, ‘My agency doesn’t understand my business’ because we will understand it better than anyone else.”
Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. Heat has 110 employees, but Deloitte Digital intends to expand the staff to 500 by early 2019, Main said. For perspective, Deloitte Digital has about 7,000 people on staff right now, and the division generates roughly $2.1 billion in annual revenue, he said.
Paris-based Capgemini bought Fahrenheit 212 last month based on the agency’s past work in using customer feedback from both the “real world” (in stores) and across social media channels to shape new products and services, said Dee Burger, CEO of Capgemini Consulting North America.
Fahrenheit’s clients include Coca-Cola, Marriott, and Citi. For example, Fahrenheit was involved in the design, branding and launch of Coca-Cola’s Freestyle self-serve soda fountain. The technology, installed in more than 3,000 U.S. stores and restaurants, lets diners mix beverages into customized flavors.
“The world is getting more dynamic, and you need to keep an ongoing pulse on what consumers want,” Burger said. “It’s no longer a good idea to build a three-year plan. You need to focus on constant innovation.”
Fahrenheit 212 doesn’t say how many people it employs, but the acquisition will expand Capgemini’s presence in New York and San Francisco.
Mergers between traditional consulting firms and digital marketing and social media agencies picked up several years ago, because both skills are considered crucial for delivering digital business strategy. IBM
acquired three agencies in rapid succession in January, adding at least 800 designers to its 10,000-person IBM Interactive services division. IBM rival Accenture has opened its wallet several times. In December 2015, it bought two digital agencies with industry-specific expertise: life sciences specialist Boomerang Pharmaceutical and oil and gas consulting firm Cimation.