R/GA to ‘shake up expectations of consulting’ in Australia

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 9 October 2018

R/GA has officially launched its consultancy business in Australia as the IPG-owned digital agency aims to disrupt the “traditional and siloed” approaches of firms like Deloitte and PwC.

The new business unit will be led by Drew Klonsky who joins from Fahrenheit 212, where he held the role of managing director for the company’s San Francisco office. He also worked within Nike’s Innovation Accelerator team and across brands such as Intel, Disney and Samsung throughout his career.

R/GA has been growing its global consultancy business following its launch in 2015 to now span five offices across three continents. The consulting arm of R/GA globally grew 50% in 2017 and last year launched an APAC offering based out of the agency’s Singapore office.

While consulting companies and IT firms are making inroads into the marketing sector, advertising agencies are increasingly building their own consulting offerings to fight back. 

Read more: How is adland responding to the threat of consultancies?

R/GA believes it can transcend the “traditional and siloed approach” employed by management consultants, to marry its own consulting practices with its experience in technology, design and advertising. This approach has delivered results for R/GA clients such as Walmart, PepsiCo and Siemens.

R/GA Australia managing director Rebecca Bezzina said consulting is something the agency has offered for some time, but Klonsky's appointment formalises the offering.

Klonsky tells AdNews he's confident R/GA is bringing something different to the Australian market that he hopes will "shake up the expectation of consulting in Australia".

"Unlike traditional consultants, we believe that no single magic bullet can address every company's challenges," he says.

"You won't find us trickling out in-actionable strategy decks full of acronyms that simply don't apply to our clients’ unique situations."

Taking a swipe at some of the recent management consultancy acquisitions in this market, Klonsky says R/GA's creative risk-taking mindset will give it an edge over other offerings.  

"We’ve shown that adding consulting to solve both sophisticated consumer and corporate challenges through making things, is a radical departure from the current ‘acqui-hire’ management consulting approach that presupposes creatives will deliver the right strategy layered on age-old, risk-averse methods delivered by billing-by-the-hour consultants," he says.

The bigger picture

Following a flurry of consultant acquisitions and investment in some of the best creative agencies around the world, traditional ad networks are fighting fire with fire by launching new divisions to provide business transformation services like that offered by consultancies.

The major holding groups, including Publicis and WPP, have both launched consultancy offerings globally, pivoting their businesses to provide consultancy services. It’s not only Publicis and WPP muscling into this space with M&C Saatchi launching a data consultancy in March; TBWA revealed its Disruption Labs in January; Omnicom brought its global consultancy Integer to Australia and Havas launched a brand strategy and consultancy firm last year.

You only have to look at these major moves to see consultancies have laid out the blueprint for how agencies will do business moving forward.

Did you catch our consultancy feature?

The consultants are coming: The Monkeys design AdNews June cover

AdNews June 2018

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