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Brand Launch of Accenture

Paul Holmes 10 May 2001

 

Accenture, formerly known as Andersen Consulting, successfully accomplished a renaming, rebranding and repositioning initiative in 147 days, unprecedented in time, size and scope for a global organization.  In 80 days, we developed and announced a new name, which we supported with a visual identity system 20 days later.  Throughout the remaining 47 days, we aggressively implemented an integrated marketing and communications campaign across 46 countries to raise awareness of the new name to all of our audiences around the world before its official launch on January 1, 2001.

As a $10 billion global management and technology consulting organization, Accenture is reinventing itself to become the market maker, architect and builder of the new economy, bringing innovations to improve the way the world works and lives. More than 70,000 people in 46 countries deliver a wide range of specialized capabilities and solutions to clients across all industries.  On August 7, 2000 an international arbitrator ruled in favor of Andersen Consulting in its arbitration with Andersen Worldwide and Arthur Andersen.  Under the terms of the ruling, we were given until December 31, 2000 to adopt a new name and relinquish Andersen Consulting. 

The rebranding initiative presented many challenges:

  • In early 2000, our leadership team created a new vision and strategy.  Not only were we charged with rebranding the firm in 147 days, we had to reposition the organization in the marketplace to reflect this new vision and strategy.  Our new name was integral to this effort.
  • After twelve years of successfully building Andersen Consulting into a global brand recognized as number one it its category, we were faced with the challenge of transferring our tremendous brand equity to Accenture. 
  • Upon announcement of our new name, we had to swiftly raise its awareness with all key constituencies globally.  The target audiences for our communications efforts were clients (existing and potential), media and industry watchers, alliance/joint venture partners/vendors, recruits, and 70,000 partners and employees.
  • Finally, we had to eliminate any residual confusion between Arthur Andersen and ourselves. 

A program management office was set up to oversee and track the status of the rebranding and repositioning initiative.  Fifty project teams were designated to implement changes both externally as well as throughout our 178 offices worldwide.  These teams were divided into three groups: 1) branding and marketing areas; 2) organizational and functional groups; and 3) physical office locations and organization-wide technology.

The global integrated marketing and communications campaign had external and internal aspects.  External communications efforts focused on advertising, media and industry analyst relations, the corporate website--accenture.com, recruitment marketing, events and sponsorships, client communications, direct marketing, and external publications.  Internal communications also played a crucial role.  As a professional services firm, every point of contact we have with the outside world – clients, recruits, business partners – is a part of communicating our brand.  Therefore we depend upon our employees around the world to define the brand and bring it to life.  Internal communications efforts focused on educating, inspiring and motivating employees through global webcasts, newsletters and launch events.

All aspects of the rebranding and repositioning initiative required extensive research prior to execution.  The name search alone included: a full legal review in 46 countries, client research, URL research, native speaker analysis in more than 200 languages, linguistic analysis, trademark research, and internal feedback from partners and employees.  We also conducted research in each phase of our global advertising program.

The strategic approach was broken down into four phases:

Transition – August 7 to October 26, 2000.  Minimized further promotion of the Andersen Consulting name.  Maximized interest and curiosity in our new name by a pre-launch campaign highlighted with the “Renamed. Redefined. Reborn. 01.01.01.” teaser across our former logo on all materials.

Name Launch – October 26 to December 31, 2000.  Announced new name of firm on October 26.  Developed and announced visual identity.  Prepared for global launch on January 1, 2001, and rebranded all firm materials and technology.

Official Launch – January 1 to March 31, 2001.  Transfer the equity of the Andersen Consulting brand name to Accenture.  Cease all mention of Andersen Consulting name, except in the context of the new firm “being formerly known as Andersen Consulting.” Conduct integrated marketing campaign highlighted by a $175 million global advertising campaign to promote Accenture, its capabilities and positioning.

Sustain – April 1, 2001 and onward.  Continue to build the new brand and sustain the momentum behind the launch.  Focus on repositioning the organization and promoting newly defined service lines and offerings.  Conduct client and brand awareness research.

In the Transition phase, we conducted an extensive global name search.  An internal naming initiative – combined with input from external branding consultants – generated more than 5,000 name candidates.  The name Accenture (submitted by an employee) was selected after an intensive 80-day research and analysis process that included trademark and URL availability, native speaker review, linguistic analysis and market research with our senior executive target audience in 46 countries.  The “Renamed. Redefined. Reborn. 01.01.01.” teaser was used over the Andersen Consulting signature to create awareness of our upcoming name change.

In the Name Launch phase, we developed and announced our new name and signature.  We used our “Renamed. Redefined. Reborn as Accenture. 01.01.01” advertising campaign to rapidly focus on building awareness of the Accenture name in print, television, Internet, and posters.  Externally, our media and analyst relations efforts promoted the name and signature launch, and we developed holiday client mailings and the accenture.com home page to announce the Accenture name.  Additionally, all internal and external assets, including client and vendor websites were rebranded.  Throughout the name launch phase, we communicated with our employees through regular updates about the rebranding efforts via electronic postcards, newsletters, webcasts, launch-themed holiday events, and home mailings.

The Official Launch phase comprised a variety of global programs:  1) global advertising campaigns in print, television Internet and airport posters -- “Name Launch” advertising campaign launched to build awareness of Accenture name in 46 countries, “Now it Gets Interesting” advertising campaign launched to promote positioning and extended capabilities in 41 countries; 2) a direct mail campaign to over 43,000 client executives; 3) sponsorship of Accenture Match Play Championship, January 3-7, and World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland, January 25-30; 4) the launch of accenture.com website on January 1, 2001; 5) geographic-specific launches around the world (including free distribution of Accenture-branded Financial Times in London, sponsorship of World Soccer Dream Game in Japan with Accenture-branded uniforms, Super Bowl and College Bowl game sponsorships in the United States, Accenture-branded building wrap of Prague office, Accenture-branded London taxi cabs, and Accenture-branded buses in France); 6) a media and analyst relations program focusing on brand launch and reinvention; 7) three live CEO webcasts from Melbourne, Australia on January 3 to employees in all geographic regions; 8) a day one welcome package delivered to 70,000 partners and employees around the world in the first week of January; and 9) the launch of BrandSpace, a state-of-the-art brand management website, to ensure a consistent global brand and communicate new guidelines, tools and templates. 

Throughout the Sustain phase, we are committed to: continuing event sponsorships such as BMW/Williams Formula One Auto Racing and the World Match Play Golf Championships; focusing our advertising on Accenture’s capabilities; continuing media and industry analyst relations activities; and publishing weekly articles in our new online employee newsletter.

To date, the rebranding and repositioning program has produced impressive results:

The unaided awareness of Accenture increased from 1% in 2000 to 34% in the first 30 days of 2001.  During the same time period, the unaided awareness of Andersen Consulting dropped from 38% to 18%.

The initiative resulted in the rebranding of everything that once was branded with the Andersen Consulting name: 7 million business cards, 178 offices and all client sites, 440 internal Lotus Notes servers, 500 CIO applications, 70,000 employee email addresses, 10,000 website pages, 1000 signs, 71 varieties of stationary in 47 languages, 1.2 billion pieces of existing inventory (brochures, videos, reports, etc.), 70,000 desktops and desktop applications, and the entire merchandise program.

Page views on accenture.com have increased since January 1, up to a high of 72% more than the daily average of our previous website.  There are an average of 27,700 daily visitors to the new site.

The media and industry analyst community reported our efforts as the largest rebranding initiative ever undertaken by a professional services firm.  The January 1 launch garnered 120 news items globally in first two weeks of January, and the leading business publications in each country ran the story.

Research done by Zyman Marketing Group after the Super Bowl measured changes in “purchase intent” by viewers (rather than popularity of the ads), which research placed Accenture as the most effective advertiser of the Super Bowl game.

Clickin Research also conducted Super Bowl advertising research that showed much larger increases in likeability and recognition for less familiar brands and called the Accenture commercials "very effective."  The research showed brand familiarity of Accenture increased 151% after the Super Bowl with a 190% increase in likeability.
Our own custom research with senior executives after the Super Bowl showed the Accenture advertising worked quite well vis-à-vis competitors and fellow advertisers EDS and IBM.  Currently, unaided ad awareness for Accenture is 53%, and total ad awareness for Accenture is 89%.

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