It’s our birthday! Deloitte Digital is celebrating five years – woohoo! So we’re taking a moment to reflect on some highlights and remember how far we’ve come since we started this grand adventure. We asked our fearless leaders Andy Main, Head of Deloitte Digital, and Nidal Haddad, Chief of Markets, to talk about Deloitte Digital’s growth over the years and reminisce on the good, the interesting, and the surprising.

But first, a brief history.

Deloitte Digital practitioners celebrating our 5th anniversary

Deloitte Digital was founded following 20 years’ experience in the customer, interactive, and eCommerce spaces. We launched in 2012 after acquiring Übermind, and have grown organically over the years through acquisitions like social agency Banyan Branch, while integrating the capabilities of companies like Doblin (innovation strategy) and Monitor (business strategy). Just this month, we acquired Web Decisions, an omni-channel data management and marketing services company, to enhance Deloitte Digital’s Customer Experience Value (CXv) offering, which provides marketers a customer strategy that is aligned with their business strategy.

And last year, we acquired internationally recognized, award-winning creative agency Heat, combining their power of surprising creativity with the creative and digital capabilities of our studios and the technical experience, deep business strategy, and relationships of Deloitte. Put all that together and you have something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Deloitte Digital is defining a new model that blends the strengths of agencies with traditional consultancies— we’re a creative digital consultancy, and we’re getting noticed. Just ask Adweek, AdAge, and Bloomberg. Last year, Andy Main was named one of “Top 25 Consultants” by Consulting magazine for leading the way with this new model, and this year he was named to Adweek's "Power List," featuring the top 100 leaders in marketing, media and technology. And our CMO Alicia Hatch was named one of Adweek's "Top Tech-Savvy CMOs" this past March.

Deloitte Digital has a network of 44 studios in 25 countries – up from five studios in three countries in our beginnings — and we’ve served hundreds of clients ranging from Showtime and Papa Murphy’s, to the American Heart Association and LG Electronics. (Check out some of our work here.) From creating mobile apps to total business and digital transformation, we’ve helped our clients imagine bigger and achieve their greatest ambitions.

As a creative digital consultancy, we’re the one-stop shop for business leaders to connect business strategy to creative strategy and content, and combine it with innovative solutions for customer experience, core business operations, and campaign execution. Our integrated offerings - like Digital, Analytics, and Cloud – tackle transformative change and help propel clients into unparalleled advantage in the new, disruptive age they’re competing in. Now, more than ever, realizing an organization’s full potential requires orchestration, and we’re creating an approach that will help reshape business in the coming years.

And now, a chat with Nidal Haddad and Andy Main.

What do you think are a few of our biggest achievements?

Andy: Establishing the brand and establishing ourselves as a new category in the market with our creative digital consultancy model. This is our version of disruption, and the market is experiencing that.

Nidal: Creating a buzz in the marketplace with our new model of a creative digital consultancy and crushing through the mainstream ceiling by making the Deloitte Digital brand more accessible. But our biggest achievement hands down is all of the incredible work our teams do every day helping our clients exceed their ambitions! The recognition that Andy and Alicia received this year is a reflection of how well Deloitte Digital has done in the marketplace.

What capabilities have we expanded in the past five years?

Andy: We are authentically digital with end-to-end capabilities under one roof, and clients come to us to imagine, deliver, and run the future. We’ve done a really good job at integrating many capabilities into our creative digital consulting business. Given our rapid growth, everything has expanded from innovation, strategy, and applied design, to branding, content and experience, all the way to implementing a wide variety of digital technologies.

Nidal: The list is long, but includes expanding our customer, commerce and content, digital strategy, social and digital marketing, IoT, AR/VR, advertising, finance in a digital world, digital supply networks, and digital organization. We added studios (Denver, LA, and Mexico City, for example), consolidated existing ones (Seattle), and are planning for new ones to open this fall (New York and Chicago). We also expanded our alliance relationships in technology (including SAP Hybris, Adobe, Salesforce, Apple Inc., NetSuite, Sprinklr, and more).

What has been the most impactful risk we’ve taken?

Andy: I would say Deloitte making a decision and executing on a strategy to compete with holding companies with our creative digital consultancy model was a risk. Luckily, it has paid off and we are seeing a sea-change in the industry as a result. We pride ourselves in going first in doing things never tried before, and I believe we have an authentic culture, and proof points in the market to say we are leading the way.

Nidal: I would say our acquistion of ad agency Heat created some of the strongest buzz that our competitors are still trying to copy!

What has been the most rewarding part of the job for you?

Andy: Making the new market. It is fun to be an entrepreneur and go first.

Nidal: The most rewarding part of my job is having a seat at Deloitte Consulting’s management committee representing our digital efforts. It is an honor to serve the practice and the Digital Market Offering I call home!

What are a few of your favorite Deloitte Digital moments?

Andy: When I interview people from our competitors, it is great to get their feedback on how much they respect what we are doing and how we are shaking things up. In addition to clients appreciating what we do, having that come from our competition are favorite moments.

Nidal: Participating as a judge for the Ad Age Creativity Awards and watching Tim Cook of Apple Inc.  talk about having Deloitte on “speed dial” at the Apple alliance launch event.

We know you guys are not all work and no play. What was your favorite Deloitte Digital prank?

Andy:  Definitely the one Mike Brinker pulled on me in India. I will get revenge.

Nidal:  My favorite prank is one our Global Lead Mike Brinker pulled on Andy Main in India a couple of years ago. While visiting our teams in India, Andy was set up to interview a fake acquisition target. Then the fake CEO made some alarming comments. They finally clued Andy in, but the fake CEO deserved an academy award for their performance. 

I also think the full page ad Deloitte Digital placed in AdWeek congratulating Andy Main for being named to their “Power List” is one of the funniest things we have ever done. (Andy’s face is superimposed onto a classical painting of a captain in military regalia seated on a horse, Napolean Bonaparte style, with the caption, “The Most Interesting ‘Main’ in the World.”) Like a true sportsman, Andy took the ad really well – friends let friends get away with stuff.

Where do you see us going in the future?

Andy: The future is going to be about data and the insights generated from it to help our clients build stronger relationships with their customers, as well as improve the operations of their business. We will help make them money, and save them money, and do deals around those two things.

Nidal: I see continued market domination where being an end-to-end (from imagine to run) enterprise player is the only real way to grow. The investments we are making in our ad agency HeatIoT and AR/VR will become large parts of our practice. Our work with Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations and Human Capital sectors will help bring capabilities to market that our competitors can’t touch. 

We know how to celebrate! Check out photos from our recent 5th anniversary parties at Deloitte Digital studios around the U.S.