Former VMLY&R Staffers Launch New Brand Experience Agency Akcelo

Former VMLY&R Staffers Launch New Brand Experience Agency Akcelo
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Former leaders of VMLY&R ANZ, including regional CEO Aden Hepburn, have launched a new brand experience and innovation (BX) company focusing on injecting brand and creativity into customer experiences (CX) to unlock growth for CMOs, at a time when many of the world’s most valuable brands start to face a CX rut.

Akcelo has been created to ‘build brands for the experience era’ by bridging the disconnect between a brand’s DNA and the experience a consumer has when they engage with it across an ecosystem of touchpoints. Akcelo delivers a suite of services across creative, customer experience and technology.

Picture (Left to right): Dave Di Veroli, Miles Scott and Aden Hepburn

The fully independent company has been appointed by the Lion Australia marketing team across its portfolio of beer brands including Furphy, Guinness, XXXX and James Squire, following a competitive pitch. Akcelo will deliver brand experiences for Lion with a remit spanning across creative, digital, social, content, CRM, technology and data.

Hepburn launched WPP’s global digital creative agency VML in Australia in 2012, building it into an award-winning business recognised for delivering creatively transformative work for leading brands including McDonald’s, Netflix and Google. He later took the helm as CEO of VMLY&R ANZ following the merger of WPP’s global creative agency Y&R with VML in 2018. Joining him are former VMLY&R regional head of strategy and innovation, Dave Di Veroli and Sydney office managing partner, Miles Scott.

Derived from the Esperanto word meaning ‘acceleration’, Akcelo is also working with a number of major local and international brands and has a fully staffed team working across strategy, creative, social, technology, mobility, UX, CX and design.

Hepburn said: “The move to invest in improving customer experiences has created a homogenisation of experiences, which while frictionless, can be immediately forgettable.

“CMO’s and business leaders are looking for partners that are customer obsessed, technically-savvy and also able to deliver creative differentiation. We started Akcelo to bring experience, emotion, creativity and technology together so the brand experience (BX) is memorable across the entire customer journey.”

Scott added: “We’ve architected a new model and quickly built a talented team to hit the ground running. We’re already working with great brands, such as Lion, who understand the importance of BX and how it can grow their business.”

Research from Forrester states: “Separate brand and CX teams on the client side are the culprit for disconnected executions and unhappy customers. The CX/brand marriage is an absolute must, or CMOs risk losing customers and ceding ground to competitors who get there first.”

Di Veroli who lectures on brand experience at the Miami Ad School said: “The new differentiator is the infusion of brand and creativity into the customer experience, creating moments worth talking about. 

“For brands to win and ultimately drive increased growth, they need to create an affinity beyond convenience, through powerful brand experiences that capture the imagination of current and future customers. At the heart of BX is creating unique signature experiences that only your brand can deliver.”

Akcelo’s first work for Lion was creating Furphy Fridays, a virtual night at the pub hosted by comedian Matt Okine and Australia cricket captain Aaron Finch.

Speaking about Akcelo’s appointment, Claire Williams, consumer connections director at Lion said: “We are excited to work with Akcelo across a wide remit including our digital, social, content and platforms, as a foundation client. We’ve already started work together with the successful launch of Furphy Fridays and we’re looking forward to building on that across our portfolio.”

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