How PwC Fuses Digital Into The Core Of Its Consulting Practice

FishmanDespite its tax and auditing acumen, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has 3,000 creatives, engineers, strategists and technologists dedicated to experience design and digital services that span ecom to cybersecurity.

Like competing consultancies Deloitte Digital and Accenture Interactive, PwC Digital has grown both organically and through acquisition via its 2013 purchase of digital and creative consultancy, BGT, and social agency Ant’s Eye View a year earlier.

In some respects, PwC’s digital strategy echoes IBM’s agency Interactive Experience in the way it organizes around 31 global design and experience centers.

Although Digital Services is its own entity, digital expertise permeates the rest of the organization, said Andrea Fishman, a partner in PwC Digital Experience Centers.

“What’s distinctive about this is it’s at the center of our business,” she said. “We’ve seen other large consulting firms create separate digital businesses, but we don’t believe that’s the right way to do it. We believe embedding digital right into the business and through industry [practices] accelerates our speed to market.”

Fishman spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: What’s the biggest problem PwC Digital is solving?

ANDREA FISHMAN: Marketing has a much greater influence either directly or indirectly on revenue. [It is] involved in technology, people and culture, content, which involves discussions around revenue, margin, and operations. Marketing is in the middle of a lot of privacy discussions, because they’re often the enablers of these new interactions and are held accountable when privacy fails. 

We’re really focused on how brands take advantage of this experience economy to drive everything from how they run their business and drive revenue and experience to loyalty. When experience is the currency, it really transforms how companies engage. You’ll see companies that did not traditionally have a direct dialogue with the customer, finding ways to engage so they can take advantage of this evolution toward a more data-driven relationship.

How does the Digital Services team coexist with the rest of the consultancy?

It’s such a logical integration, which is why we embedded it within the advisory business. We’re not designing things to win awards, we’re designing things to solve business problems. If we focus on what are we solving for, it’s a very similar mindset to the rest of the advisory.

Do you compete with the traditional agency in media or creative?

It’s a really dynamic space right now and it’s complicated. Technology is enabling major transformation in the media and entertainment space from how you create content to how you price it and deliver it. It’s interesting to see companies evolve. As long as the end customer is able to get what they’re looking for, whether that’s high-value content or access to audience, traditional agencies will still thrive, it’s just a matter of how they evolve to fit new needs.

Accenture has stated they won’t be creating a Super Bowl commercial anytime soon. Will PwC?

Our value is idea through execution. We’re really moving into driving ideas and results, and it gives us a competitive advantage. It’s another part of how we’re approaching Digital Services and the experience centers – by having the creative team integrated and ideating ourselves versus having to outsource that to an agency. What’s the difference between a TV ad and other types of content? A TV is just a larger screen where maybe historically, you just bought it differently.

What is the No. 1 thing clients are asking for?

Brands want to deliver this continuity of experience wherever the consumer is, but that’s hard. It’s even more complicated with all the different technologies out there. This goes way beyond the online-offline challenges of retail. It’s every industry – figuring out that user journey through to post-transaction opportunities. We take the mindset of, “If I can remove friction from the experience, then what is possible?”

Interview edited for clarity and length.

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