Rebranding leaves Accenture free to network

By AdNews | 3 February 2001
After cleaving from Arthur Andersen 12 years ago, Andersen Consulting had developed its own brand equity and positioning in the market, but there was growing concern that the two companies had become rivals. The International Court of Arbitration ruled in August 2000 that the younger company, Andersen Consulting, had to drop the Andersen name by 31 December or pay compensation of almost twice its annual global revenue. Lesley Anton, marketing director, Australia & New Zealand at Accenture, had participated in corporate identity revamps, but never one requiring a complete name change and transfer of brand equity. ÒIt was a unique situation,Ó she says. ÒNever before had I experienced such a large global firm needing to make such a major change in so short a time, by order of law. There was literally no time for comfortable transition. We needed to debrand, rebrand and launch a new name by the start of 2001.Ó According to Anton, the company had an inkling of the outcome of the court case and had started working on its positioning, involving its 70,000 employees worldwide in a process called Òbrand stormingÓ, also enlisting US brand consultancy Landor Associates to dissect and enumerate its brand values. ÒThe staff competition was one way to involve employees in the transition,Ó says Anton, adding that there were 2,700 staff submissions and 2,300 from Landor. After rigorous testing for interpretation in various languages, with heavy casualties Ñ including ÒMindRocketÓ Ñ along the way, a final list of 10 was chosen as Òthe survivorsÓ. Of those, two were company suggestions. With 181 offices in 46 countries, the company needed to pick a name that was compatible to all markets. ÒIt was an intensive process. Some of the names were already registered as URLs. During the analysis we found out astounding things, like 84,000 domain names are registered daily, 98% of the words in the dictionary are already registered,Ó says Anton. For potential use as product or offshoot company names, the organisation registered the list of 10, as well as the winning entry Ñ Accenture Ñ submitted by a senior manager in Oslo. Accenture tested well in all languages, Anton says, explaining that the name evokes the companyÕs reinvigorated accent on the future. ÒWeÕre free to do what we want now on our own, in our business direction and marketing. The name Andersen implies a heritage business, but now we can form a network of businesses, such as alliances with Microsoft, called Avanade, and the Pacific Dunlop alliance, Novare.Ó But the name change was, according to Anton, Òthe smallest detailÓ. Clients, partners and the broader financial community had to hear of and accept Accenture from start of business 2001. The first task for global agency Young & Rubicam New York, and its local arm, was to develop an awareness campaign to assist transfer of brand equity. The tagline for the print campaign to support the 1 January relaunch was ÒRenamed, redefined, reborn Ñ 01.01.01Ó. Locally the theme was buoyed by its humorous similarity with the Sydney Olympic chant Ñ Òoi, oi, oi!Ó Once business returned to work after the summer holiday period, the campaign was stepped up, using print ads in business publications and airline magazines to saturate the market with Accenture. From February, the emphasis will be on positioning. Throughout 2001, Anton says Accenture will explore its options in product development, alliances and marketing tactics. Jeni Goodsall

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