Putting a price on creativity: Harjot Singh Narang, Dentsu One

Guest Column: Narang, President, Dentsu One says the move of Accenture acquiring Droga 5 is probably one of the left brain & right brain being brought to work together in tandem like nature intended

Harjot Singh Narang

Even though the price paid for the acquisition of Droga 5 by Accenture Interactive is not publicly available, the move to bring a creative agency into their folds shows that value has been put on creativity by a global strategic business consultant.

While a lot of the discussion that I have read on this development seem to suggest that business consultancies are trying to extend into the marketing and communication side with an aim to additionally offer clients brand strategy all the way down to brand experience and even communication execution, what is probably at play is that a large consultancy business that has prospered over the years by unlocking value in many parts of the client’s value chain has clearly put its money on creativity and its application delivering the next big value explosion to their client’s.

If we take a simplistic view for a second, the performance of any client’s business is based on a few basic blocks.
1. What product or service the client creates to address a real consumer (current and potential) need?
2. Structure of how they get it out to consumers
3. Efficiency of the processes they undertake to create their product or service and get it out to the consumers
4. On what the consumers (current and potential) feel and think holistically – about what the particular client or its brand vis-à-vis all others who try to sell to them similar products or services targeting similar needs.

Crudely speaking, the business consultancy and creative agency businesses earn their fee by combining a broader view on issues with a set of unique skills that the client does not have enough of internally to any of the 4 blocks stated above with an aim to unlocking value that the client can monetise.

The difference between the business consultants and the creative agencies is in the kind of skills they bring to the table and the kind of problems they apply themselves to.

Typically, business consultants bring in deep analytical skills to a broader view of problems focused on business strategy, efficiency in processes, gearing up for and managing evolving needs of the business etc. and creative agencies bring in nonlinear creative thinking and an innovative view on any problem from the world of brand with all its need of experience creation, unpredictability of consumer response and requirements of differentiation and deep consumer connect etc.

In the VUCA world that is our reality - business consultancies and creative agencies both have been under pressure from clients. While consultancies have always been pushed by clients to move beyond strategy and advice on value and efficiency and extend themselves to actual action implementation and results, at the same time creative agencies have been asked to link creative actions undertaken for the brand to thrive, to actual business outcome and performance.

The common thread in the demands of clients is that both businesses are being asked to be more accountable and hands on involved in the actual performance of the client’s business and disconnect to this of any kind is being frowned upon.

It is this common thread that could have led to the beginning of a consolidation that Accenture seems to have initiated. The move to acquire Droga 5 is not just a move to acquire a creative business but it is probably a move to acquire much more of nonlinear creative and innovative thinking skills and apply them to any problem of a client in addition to the deep analytical and process prowess that they have built over the years.

The choice of an independent agency known for its strong creative power instead of a larger creative group with a much larger global presence too seems to show the intention to acquire creativity instead of it being just a forward integration into their existing business.

The move of Accenture acquiring Droga 5 is probably one of the left brain and the right brain being brought to work together in tandem like nature intended. The only thing we wait to see is if the two sides can work in a naturally balanced way as it should in a balanced mature individual, or will they be imbalanced and result in a schizophrenic personality in need of medical intervention.

(The author is the President of Dentsu One Pvt Ltd)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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