CMO Close-Up with Teresa Poggenpohl

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Teresa Poggenpohl has been with global management consultancy Accenture for 26 years, starting back in the days when it was Andersen Consulting. The company changed to its current name in 2001, and Poggenpohl has been instrumental in helping to build the Accenture brand and image around the world. Last November, Accenture launched the newest phase of its ad campaign “High Performance. Delivered,” created by TBWA Worldwide, New York, which it named creative agency of record last year. In the following interview with CMO Close-Up, Poggenpohl discusses her strategy for building the Accenture brand and how the ad campaign has evolved this year. CMO Close-Up: What were your marketing goals this year? Teresa Poggenpohl: Our big goal—now that the rebranded company was 10 years old—was how could we elevate the business contribution of our advertising. We have seeded awareness of Accenture around the world, so we wanted to take on the goal of demonstrating the depth and breadth of our capabilities and what we deliver to our clients. The key idea is to have the mind share of our clients and prospects so that no matter what business challenges they are facing, they think of Accenture first. CMO Close-Up: How did you execute that? Poggenpohl: It was a significant challenge. As with most companies, we were not increasing our marketing budgets. Most marketers are doing so much more with less. So we did an RFP and invited other ad agencies (Accenture's previous creative agency was Y&R, New York), and we had a full exploration. We wanted a solution we were proud of, and that naturally took us to case studies. TBWA does case studies in a completely different way, celebrating the amazing business results we deliver for clients. For example, we launched the campaign with an ad featuring our client Unilever and how we helped them save 1 billion euros. We wanted to show the tremendous business impact we have delivered for them. CMO Close-Up: Which media platforms are you using this year with your advertising? Poggenpohl: Our media strategy is focused on reaching our target audience at work, home and play. We use a mix of print, traditional media, business media such as (Bloomberg) Businessweek and The Wall Street Journal, and airport is a huge anchor for us. Our target audience travels constantly, and it gives them such confidence in our brand to see our advertising and brand portrayed consistently from market to market. They can get on a plane in New York and end up in India and see the same Accenture brand. We do limited broadcast, such as the Accenture Match Play Championships during the PGA Tour. Digital also plays a huge role. We do digital advertising, paid search, interactive billboards and mobile. CMO Close-Up: How are you using TV advertising this year? Poggenpohl: TV gives us the opportunity to share amazing case studies. When our campaign launched in November, we featured case studies from clients Unilever, Royal Shakespeare Co., Marriott and New York City 311. This year, we launched new ads featuring Caterpillar, Warner Bros., Trinity Health and Uniqlo. In addition to these case studies, we have launched (print and online) ads focused on specific business areas. A few are focused on analytics, a huge area our target is focused on, showing how we pull insights out of the data you have so you can improve your business. We also did an ad focused on mobility. Our clients want to know how they can use mobile for the front office and the back office. We will also be launching ads on cloud computing and business process management. So we have a portfolio of ads, anchored by client case studies, showing the depth and breadth of our solutions. CMO Close-Up: What are you doing with mobile? Poggenpohl: We want to make sure all of our key content that talks about the things we do is available on mobile platforms. We launched a new mobile platform this summer—an entire experience built for mobile—and we also developed an iPad app for Outlook magazine, which is our thought-leadership publication. We are pushing content about innovative thinking out to the marketplace using the new media platforms our target audience wants. CMO Close-Up: How are you using events as part of your strategy? Poggenpohl: Events play a key role. We do an annual forum with our CIO clients around the world. Last year, when we debuted our new campaign, we did a CIO event in Berlin. Our content is all structured around leading-edge technology, including our alliance partners, such as SAP. We also do a wide variety of industry events and other events, such as an event for chief human resources officers. We have content focused on best practices, leading-edge thinking, sharing what we know and bringing people together.
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