Accenture Interactive Taps Former Rosetta CEO Tammy Soares

tammysoaresAgencies and consultancies are looking more and more alike.

Tammy Soares, Accenture Interactive’s newest West Coast lead as of Tuesday, brings nine years’ experience as CEO of Publicis Groupe’s digital agency, Rosetta. There, she gained experience embedding consultants into agency culture.

At Accenture Interactive, she’ll be tasked with doing the opposite.

“I’m used to working with creative types of people you get from the agency side, so [I hope to] help bring those kinds of people to Accenture,” she said.

Accenture Interactive has been gobbling up creative expertise since its purchase of digital design shop Fjord in 2013 and has steadily become more competitive in the agency space.

Soares spoke with AdExchanger. 

AdExchanger: Why did you leave Rosetta? 

TAMMY SOARES: For the last nine years, I was focused on driving customer engagement by understanding insights and how to translate those into digital experiences. Over those nine years we’ve seen massive changes in the industry driven by digital and technology.

What we’re talking about now is helping companies put the focus of everything they do on the customer. That’s where my passion is. I love understanding people, what makes them tick and helping my clients bring experiences that will foster that connection.

Accenture is powered by such scale across their offerings around strategy, consulting, technology, operations and digital. You need that kind of scale to help clients focus on customer experience.

Why the jump from CEO to a managing director role?

This is the role that I want. I enjoy being in front of the client and working with teams. There are a lot of other things that come along with being CEO. I was able to leave off the things that I didn’t love about being the CEO and focus on the things I’m passionate about.

What do you think about the massive restructure Publicis Groupe has gone through recently? Does that have anything to do with why you left? 

No. Our whole industry is being disrupted. In order to stay relevant and innovative, you have to change and transform. I want to be a part of an agency that is disrupting the industry and Accenture is doing that.

Why move to a consultancy rather than another digital agency?

Agency-side, we focus on the next campaign or product launch or how to communicate for marketing purposes. It’s really narrowly focused and difficult for agencies to move outside of that.

Consultancies look at the business problem and create experiences [that] have broader impact. We’ll be creating experiences for the automotive industry, for example, that’s an entire experience inside the car. All of the parts of your business that aren’t traditionally considered marketing are [now considered marketing] in a new world. Consultancies have a leg up because they are able to talk to the brand about that entire ecosystem.

The marketing landscape is so complex. Where does that leave traditional agencies? 

They’re going to pivot. They’re pivoting right now. They’re acquiring consultancies to build that capability.

Will they be able to do that as well as a management consultancy can?

Accenture brings scale in the establishment they already have within large organizations and global brands. I spent my second afternoon here sitting with the products industry group. I was just one of 20 or so people there from each of the business units. We’re already embedded in those organizations.

How closely will you work with Accenture’s other business units? 

We are different units, but all of our clients are focused around account teams. They tap into offerings [across Accenture]. My training has been across all of Accenture.

There’s always going to be overlap across business solutions. Within Accenture Interactive, we have a strategy capability. There might be some overlap with what Accenture Strategy is delivering as its own business. [But] Accenture supports collaboration. We have one global leadership team. We’re not competing with each other. There might be some silos but they work together.

People say management consultancies don’t have enough experience with execution. What do you think?

If you look at the acquisitions that Accenture Interactive has made, staring with Fjord, they’ve built that capability. I don’t think that we’re ever going to be the agency you would buy a Super Bowl ad from. But the future of marketing is the ability to tie what agencies get from media and campaigns into the entire customer experience.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

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