- Global services company Accenture has acquired ?What If!, a firm that uses an experimentation-driven approach to innovation, according to a press release. Accenture said the acquisition is a significant one that will enhance its innovation capabilities to help clients "ideate, prototype and scale" products and services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- ?What If! focuses on brand and consumer engagement, product innovation and has worked across the health care, finance, tech, industrial and consumer goods sectors. The company also created tools and programs to educate companies and executives on building an innovation culture.
- "With digital technologies converging, consumer expectations rising, and businesses under constant pressure to stay ahead of the digital curve, the only path forward is constant innovation to ensure flexibility and agility across every business function," said Eric Schaeffer, a senior managing director at Accenture, in a statement about the deal.
The acquisition of ?What If! will help Accenture expand its innovation capabilities and help clients, including retailers and packaged goods brands, better innovate using an experimentation-focused approach. The news comes as companies look to drive innovation during a period of rapid evolution in consumer habits and preferences. Accenture hopes to leverage the experimentation framework combined with its own multidisciplinary team to meet brands’ evolving needs and embrace emerging technology, like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and more.
?What If! has worked with brands, including KFC, Ikea, ABInBev and easyJet, according to a Campaign US report. The company helped KFC launch its Popcorn Chicken product in the UK in 2000 to help the fast food company tap into the daytime snacking habits of teenagers and young adults. ?What If! helped Ikea leverage its "wonderful everyday" mission to inspire a new employee and management culture.
Accenture has been scooping up a variety of firms to expand its offerings on multiple fronts, including agency services and business consulting. The company acquired Brazilian content marketing firm New Content last year to support the content marketing efforts of Accenture Interactive, its digital marketing division, specifically in the Latin American region. Accenture was also one of three finalists reportedly bidding to acquire agency network MDC Partners, which owns more than 50 agencies and was more than $1 billion in debt.
Accenture also launched Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services, a new division to focus on programmatic in-housing and media planning and buying. The new unit had the goal of helping marketers produce better business outcomes, enable cost transparency, regain control and ownership of data, and design audience-driven campaigns.