Though he had fleeting qualms about taking on the role, Droga is passionate about the belief that creative people deserve a place at the top.
“When you inject that in the highest chair of an organization, it changes the tone of the conversations,” he said. “Not to overshadow those with MBAs and the people with very credible, experienced opinions and skills, but we’re just adding another dimension. I think the world needs that. I believed that when I was at Droga5 and now I have the backing of real technical know-how to build things, to operate, to scale, to invent things – to innovate be, as opposed to [just making] Ideas that live in disposable media.”
His focus is on bringing all of that marketing, technology, data and innovation power together to optimize performance for clients who “are all operating at a different pace now, given the changing nature of the marketplace and consumer behavior,” he said. “Our primary purpose is no longer just to help grow – it’s about growth and relevance.”
More deliberate pace
Since accepting Sweet’s challenge, Droga has spent a lot of time “understanding and learning,” he said. He’s also had to adjust to the more deliberate work pace of a consulting giant with 710,000 employees.
Despite this change of pace, over the past 12 months, Droga has managed to pull off a massive brand overhaul that merged over 40 agencies into a single entity called Accenture Song. Hire a plethora of high-profile creatives who may have previously balked at the idea of working for a consulting firm. and brought creative power and Accenture acumen to clients such as Chamberlain Group and Ikea. He also gave the doubters food for thought with a Super Bowl ad created by Accenture that destroyed the internet.
One of the most significant moves of its first year was the renaming of the very corporate-sounding Accenture Interactive to the fresher, more modern Accenture Song. The move brought together under a single banner dozens of the organization’s agencies and design firms, including UK firms Karmarama, Bow & Arrow and Fjord; King James in South Africa; Australia’s The Monkeys and Spain’s Shackleton – apart from Droga’s agency of the same name, Droga5, which continues to operate under its own name.
It focused on two strong brands: Accenture, which has a reputation in the C-suite, and Droga5, which has influence in creative circles. According to Droga, the name “Song” brings “soul” to the company while embodying the “combination of humanity and technology” it offers. Droga argued that keeping the name Droga5, the group’s only global brand, will help resolve customer disputes.
While big consultancies like Accenture have already set up firewalls for this, Droga notes that conflicts in marketing are still an issue. “In operations and technology, having multiple customers or brands in one place is considered a specialty, while in advertising it’s not,” he said.
The fact that it’s the only brand that happens to bear his name might lead observers to believe that ego played a part too.
“Maybe if I had a therapist, they would tell me it was,” laughed Droga. Joking aside, he explained it was “a rational decision” that came out of an audit of the song agency’s trademarks. “If Song becomes what I think it should be, maybe Droga5 can and should go for it. My ambition revolves around where Song is going. As long as I can keep my last name, I’m happy.”
As Droga5 stays, it has grown, with new offices in Tokyo, Brazil and Ireland, most recently through a rebranding of existing song agency Rothco.
And the agency continues to make the most of the larger toolbox it now has, thanks to Song. Last month, for example, the Chamberlain Group, the company that owns garage door brands and openers such as LiftMaster, Merlin, MyQ and Chamberlain, discontinued Droga5 as its registered agency, but also took advantage of the broader Song group’s offerings as they “change.” “ wants to go from an engineering company to a software company – a complete business transformation model,” said Susie Nam, Droga5 CEO of the Americas. Droga5 will lead branding and creativity, while Song’s design minds are “key to building experiences and platforms for consumers to engage,” she added. The joint effort will ultimately “encompass everything from brand purpose and identity, creative platform and communications work to product architecture, experience growth and store design.”
Accenture Song also brought other companies on board under Droga’s leadership: e-commerce agencies The Stable based in Minneapolis; Tambourine in Tokyo; Glamit in Argentina; Experity in Brazil; as well as Jakarta-based brand and experience agency Romp and King James, one of the largest independent agencies in South Africa.
The e-commerce acquisitions are especially important because “that’s such an important part of where all our customers are going,” Droga said. “No matter how you phrase it, every business is a digital business, so we need to be leaders in this space.”