Accenture's Karmarama to expand with hire of 100 staff

03 December 2018 Authored by Consultancy.uk

Karmarama plans to expand its London headcount by a third in 2019, as parent company Accenture Interactive looks to double down on accelerating growth in recent years. Karmarama became part of Accenture two years ago, and suggests that since then, Accenture Interactive’s "experience agency of record" proposition has paid off in a big way.

When the news broke that consulting firm Accenture was in talks to purchase advertising agency Karmarama, the proposed deal was hailed as signalling the consulting industry was about to buy its way into the marketing services sector. Those inclinations were not wrong, and the deal sparked a 12 month feeding frenzy in which top-consulting firms splurged more than $1 billion on small and mid-tier agencies. Indeed, the purchase of Karmarama was by no means an isolated incident on Accenture’s part, either, and by the end of 2017, some sources were labelling the firm the world’s largest advertising agency.

While Accenture has continued to expand rapidly across borders, however, since the deal Karmarama has picked up international work but has not opened an office outside the UK. That is not to say that the agency has not enjoyed growth, and its most recent accounts at Companies House for the 16 months to August 2017 – a period that covers both before and after the sale – suggest revenues strengthened by an estimated 15%. The growth in demand does mean, however, that if Karmarama is to keep up with its enlarging client-base, a recruitment drive is overdue.

Accenture's Karmarama to expand with hire of 100 staff

Indeed, revenues have increased by about 20% in each of the past two years according to Ben Bilboul, Chief Executive of Karmarama, rising ahead of staff headcount. To that end, Bilboul recently told marketing news site Campaign that, as the agency marked the second anniversary of its sale to Accenture, it will recruit 100 new members of staff in the coming months. The agency currently employs over 300 people, so the prospective hiring spree would likely increase its size by as much as a third.

Bilboul explained that the measure would partially be to “catch up with growth” as well as to anticipate further growth next year. Karmarama has largely been able to hold off on this front for this long because it has a lower level of staff turnover than the industry standard. According to the IPA’s most recent figures, that average is 32%, however, Bilboul asserted that Karmarama’s ‘staff churn’ level sits “in the teens.” At the same time, Bilboul is one of six other Karmarama executives, including Executive Chairman Jon Wilkins, who all became Managing Directors of Accenture Interactive when they sold the agency, helping to keep them at the firm post-sale.

Now, according to Bilboul, the firm must focus on bolstering its capabilities by adding new staff. He explained, "We want Karmarama to continue to deliver creativity and empathy to our clients as part of the broader Accenture Interactive proposition. I think this is a good home for creative people – that’s our message to the market. We’re not trying to become entirely digital or entirely data-focused. This is a place where what you might term right-brain thinkers should flourish and grow and add value."

He added that Karmarama is especially set on hiring people who combine both emotional and rational skills to help offer holistic services to clients. He elaborated, "The skillset that is in really high demand and short supply everywhere are those ‘whole brain’ thinkers who can co-ordinate creativity, empathy, data and technology. Those are the people who are looking at the highest level to partner with clients."

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