CMO, Deloitte digital

Perspectives

How Deloitte Digital became the 2nd  largest digital agency

Digital is an era, a stepping stone in the evolution of our world enabled by exponential technologies. It’s a simple phenomenon when we define it. But its ramifications for today’s organizations ripple all the way to the core of what it means to be in business. It’s disrupting every industry, transforming how we think, redefining business models and strategies, and changing the way people work, communicate, and live.

Five years ago, we saw the Digital Era emerging from a distance. It was clear to us that we—as Deloitte Consulting LLP—would have to disrupt ourselves in order to meet the needs of our clients in the very near future. That set the stage for many things—perhaps the biggest was launching the Deloitte Digital brand in 2010. Since then we’ve iterated and evolved our offerings and operating models so that we can continue to be trusted guides for our clients as they look for solutions to their biggest challenges in our digital world.

It looks like we did something right, climbing the rankings faster than we ever could have imagined. We rose from number 24 on Ad Age’s list of the 50 largest US Digital Agencies in 20121 to ranking number two in 2014.2 And we’ve got our sights set on growing even more.

Here are four things, among many, that helped us get to where we are today:

1. A broad definition of digital

Digital isn’t just about technology. It’s about what technology enables—and that takes a change to tools, processes, and how businesses approach the market. That’s why, to build our new model for this new age, we united all work that touched digital under the Deloitte Digital brand. This includes strategy, operations, technology, creative, and organization capabilities—because our clients need all of these skills to ideate and transform their businesses for success in the future. By bringing all of these things together, we launched a new market category: The Digital Consulting Agency. We’re flattered by how other industry leaders are following us in quick pursuit.

2. Leveraging our legacy

For decades, agencies have been important partners for businesses to execute creative and campaign work—but today this just isn’t enough, given the rapid change in digital technologies and customer demands requiring total business integration. Deloitte’s heritage in professional services, business consulting, and systems integration laid a powerful foundation that no traditional agency could touch. We’ve continued to build out this foundation, developing strong creative and campaign capabilities that rely on deep industry knowledge and insight we gain from being so closely tied to them. This combination of business, technology, and creative is the awesome sauce that helps our clients navigate the digital era.

3. Aggressive acquisition strategy

Building out our creative and new media capabilities—areas that haven’t been traditionally associated with Deloitte—were critical to succeeding in the emerging frontier of digital technology and marketing. We targeted smart agencies with strong leadership that emerged on the cutting edges of digital trends—such as creative design, mobile, social media marketing, analytics, and innovation strategy. We integrated them into the core of our offerings and amplified their capabilities through organic growth so that our clients could benefit from the minds of emerging talent pools before their competitors. Strategic acquisitions helped catalyze change, reinforce agile thinking, and establish a start-up mindset within Deloitte Digital.

4. Listening to our clients

We identified market trends and made investments early, but what made our new model successful was responding directly to the needs of our clients and iterating rapidly. We brought new capabilities and digital solutions and helped our clients solve old problems with new ideas. We’ve been successful at taking the great digital ideas from one industry and cross-pollinating to other industries. The industry lens has allowed us to understand and respond to our clients’ biggest challenges in a unique way. Our ability to lead clients and follow their boldest ambitions required a new level of collaboration and execution across disciplines. Solving for these client challenges is what gets us excited and is driving our growth!

Published on August 12, 2015.

1 Advertising Age, Agency Report 2012 Index, 30, April 2016

2 Johnson, Bradley, Advertising Age, State of the Agency Market: What You Need to Know, 26 April 2015

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