SapientRazorfish Exec Explains Why Publicis Is Pushing Toward Consulting Work

Darren McColl says he trusts the strategy

SapientRazorfish is one Publicis unit driving consultancy practice SapientRazorfish
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While introducing his “2020: Sprint to the Future” plan, Publicis Groupe CEO and chairman Arthur Sadoun explained one of the key areas for growth for the holding company will be in consulting work.

The plan detailed how it will expand and deepen its expertise in technology and consulting led by digital business transformation unit Publicis.Sapient, which houses SapientRazorfish.

At the 4A’s Accelerate conference in Miami, Darren McColl, SapientRazorfish global chief brand and marketing strategy officer, explained to Adweek his thoughts on the holding group’s increasing focus on consulting work.

“I wholeheartedly believe in our strategy,” McColl said, first and foremost.

He continued: “I look at our category and worry less about our push into consulting but that we as an organization are more equipped and skilled at helping businesses deal with the changes in the markets, in consumer expectation, in technology because of the diverse offerings we have across the Publicis group.”

According to McColl, Publicis is not necessarily “pushing into consulting” but building on yet another area of expertise it can tout across its network. “We’re doing it with all our might,” he added.

Two of the largest holding companies differ in their evaluations of consultancies and whether the Accentures and Deloittes of the industry are truly threatening the way traditional agencies conduct business. Publicis’ recent move points toward staving off a threat. WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, on the other hand, downplayed the notion on a recent earnings call, providing evidence that showed it won the majority of pitches in which it faced off against consultancies.

SapientRazorfish was born from the mergers of two of Publicis’ digital agencies, SapientNitro and Razorfish, in late 2016. Since the merger, McColl said “every day, [the digital shop] is getting better and better.”

“The transformation of our company in the last 12 months is amazing, and I think the next 12 months will be better, so I’m excited about it,” McColl said.

McColl, alongside David & Goliath founder and chairman David Angelo, spoke Sunday morning on a panel that was closed to the press about creativity and how it can drive cultural relevance and business growth.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.