Fjord shows Accenture’s grand designs

Fjord Family

By Gideon Spanier for Campaign.

Accenture points to Fjord’s growth as proof that consultancies and agencies are a good fit.

Fjord’s London home is a cramped townhouse just around the corner from the BBC headquarters and it feels like a boutique outfit with limited resources.

Only Accenture Interactive’s name, below Fjord’s logo, on the front window and reception wall signals that the design agency is owned by one of the world’s biggest consultancies, with $33bn in revenues and 394,000 staff.

Advertising and creative people have watched Fjord closely because it was one of Accenture’s first acquisitions in marketing services in 2013.

It has been a guinea pig in terms of proving whether a small agency could thrive within the consulting giant. When Karmarama sold to Accenture in November 2016, it talked to Fjord’s team before agreeing the deal.

Fjord, which was founded in London in 2001 and worked on the original design of the BBC iPlayer, has grown rapidly under Accenture’s ownership, quadrupling in size from 200 to 850 staff and expanding its footprint from nine to 23 offices. Two of the three co-founders, Mark Curtis and Olof Schybergson, remain in the business.

Abbie Walsh, managing director of Fjord London who joined in 2008, believes the agency has “not only maintained but strengthened” its culture – within what Accenture likes to call “a culture of cultures”.

Fjord and Accenture Interactive share a common interest in “designing products that will change customers’ lives”, Walsh says. “The big sea change [since the sale to Accenture] has been the amount of very senior clients who give us big problems that we can solve through design has hugely increased.”

The agency now works on more ambitious briefs – often with other parts of Accenture. For example, Fjord has partnered Javelin Group, Accenture’s retail arm, to “create and implement a new multichannel strategy” for one of Europe’s largest home-improvement retailers to “deliver a more personalised customer experience” and “accelerate its digital transformation”.

Fjord: recent work included mobile redesign for ABC (above)

Another project involved helping electricity and gas group Engie transform its retail business by “rethinking the customer experience” through design and innovation. Meanwhile, it redesigned the mobile site for Spanish news-paper ABC.

Joy Bhattacharya, managing director of Accenture Interactive and UK and Ireland lead, says the company bought Fjord because of its expertise in “service” design and could see how “that would then flow downstream” into an improved “digital experience” for clients. “What surprised us once we introduced Fjord within the Accenture Interactive family and Accenture generally is how people understood the value of design,” he says.

Read the full article at Campaign.

Fjord Family

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