Deloitte Digital buys award winning creative agency Heat

02 March 2016 Consultancy.uk

Multi-award winning US-based creative agency Heat has been snapped by Deloitte Digital, as the demand for a holistic technology, consulting and creative solution in response to dynamic market changes takes hold. The deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, will see Heat gain access to a swathe of new resources while Deloitte Digital further expands its customer experience offering. More than 110 designers and digital experts will join the Big Four firm.

Competition within the advertising sphere has been heating up in recent years, as customer journeys become an ever more important way for brands to differentiate themselves as well as meet cross-channel consumer expectations. Technological developments, including big data, analytics as well as whole new channels through which companies can engage with customers and provide meaningful experiences, have brought with them significant quantitative challenges to the traditionally creative market. 

The consulting industry has in recent years sought to capitalise on the increased demand from companies for advisory and creative solutions for the development of, among others, customer experiences. The trend has resulted in a number of digital design and marketing agency acquisitions by large players, including Accenture, PwC, IBM and Deloitte. One of the largest players in the market – according to Ad Age the market leader – is Deloitte Digital, which was launched in 2012 and brings together expertise in the fields of consulting, creativity and technology. Last year Deloitte Digital booked $1.5 billion in revenues, on the back of strong organic growth and acquisitions of agencies including Swedish agency Mobiento, South African based Flow Interactive and Poland based Digital One.

Deloitte Digital’s acquisition of Heat further expands its portfolio of creative agency capabilities as it seeks to provide C-suite executives with a “comprehensive end-to-end offerings that are designed to help CMOs and all members of the C-suite reimagine the business and customer experience.” Heat, a San Francisco based digital advertising agency, was founded in 2004. The agency has grown rapidly (204%) over the past three years, booking revenues of $21 million in 2015 across its services in traditional, social and digital advertising practices focused on creating authentic engagements between consumers and the brands for large companies, including Electronic Arts, Dolby and Hotwire.

Heat’s Chairman and Executive Creative Director, Steve Stone, reflects that joining Deloitte Digital will provide a “ton of opportunities” for the agency, allowing the firm to showcase its work on a bigger stage, providing it “with greater resources and gives us access to client relationships that will allow our creatives to do the best work of their careers.”  Heat, lauded for its efforts in 2015, winning 70 awards including eight Cannes Lions and was named Adweek’s ‘Breakthrough Agency of the Year’, will hold onto its brand identity and operate as a subsidiary of Deloitte Digital. The creative agency’s top brass, including Stone, agency President John Elder and Managing Director Mike Barrett will remain in their current roles.

Andy Main, Principal at Deloitte Consulting and Deloitte Digital’s Chief Executive, comments: “Deloitte Digital has created a new market category called creative digital consulting. Adding Heat’s extraordinary and award-winning creative capabilities is the perfect complement to our market-leading and long-established digital business.” The move, he adds, turns Deloitte Digital into what he believes is the “single place” for clients to go to connect business strategy with creative strategy and content, customer experience, core business operations, transformational technology, and campaign execution.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

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