Accenture is business doing very well. Brand value according to Millward Brown increased by 11% to $20,183M last year and the 2016 revenue forecast has been raised recently.
One contributor to Accenture’s success will be consistent and effective brand management. In particular brand communication that is decision-maker friendly. Let me explain:
1. Accenture has identified and developed what is distinctive
Accenture’s advertising is diverse but built on consistent use of the brand’s distinctive assets. They have tenaciously retained the positioning of “High performance. Delivered.” a recognition that results matter most to decision makers. They have also developed the ‘greater than’ symbol into a prominent and increasingly recognised asset. Accenture communication today is better branded, more easily connected and as consequence will be more readily remembered. The evolution of branding is shown below.
Branding has been embraced and integrated across all touch points from website to graduate recruitment. ‘Greater than’ is now embraced as a distinctive asset to support benefit communication.
2. Accenture recognises a need for reassurance
A B2B purchase will be to some extent a career decision. There is the personal risk of losing credibility if responsible for a failed purchase or outcome. As a paper from the CEB Marketing Leadership Council and Google highlighted a few years back there is a correlation between higher personal risk and ‘emotional attachment’ to brands that can provide value and eliminate risks. This appears to explain the claimed higher emotional attachment to B2B brands.
Brand saliency itself will reassure, but Accenture has put client case-studies at the heart of their brand communication to reduce the perceived risk versus the likes of McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company. It, of course, also reinforces Accenture’s results delivery differentiation.
We have tendency to look to others for guidance when faced by a difficult or new decision. Those responsible for a city’s management will undoubtedly take note of New York’s choice of consulting partner. P&G, similarly, will be an influential role model for other consumer goods companies.
Accenture’s brand development is far from breakthrough, but it is a case study of solid brand progression. More distinct, more defined and consistent it has become an easier choice for those (apparently highly) emotional, reassurance seeking B2B decision-makers.