KPMG Australia Partner Paul Howes is head the advisory business’s new specialist Customer, Brand & Marketing advisory venture.

The company also announced this week that it had acquired independent market research firm, Acuity Research and Insights.

Gary Wingrove, CEO of KPMG Australia, expects customer and marketing advisory to be a key growth area for the firm in the next three years.

“The CEO agenda is increasingly focused on placing customers at the heart of business – but their depth of customer insight is often insufficient. That’s where Acuity comes to the fore. Acuity’s strong track record conducting some of the country’s longest-running customer engagement and corporate image research projects provides a significant point of difference for our offering.”

A new KPMG study of global CEOs reveals that 61 per cent of Australian CEOs (and 45 per cent of global CEOs) believe their depth of customer insight is hindered by a lack of quality customer data. While 89 per cent of Australian CEOs feel a growing responsibility to represent the best interests of their customers, only 59 per cent always evaluate the impact of changes or investments on their customers.

“This new business is a contemporary extension of our traditional customer advisory services, which typically have supported large performance improvement and business transformation projects for clients. Paul is a proven practice builder with a natural flair for customer insights and brand building. I’m confident he’ll do an outstanding job driving this new enterprise forward,” Wingrove added.

Acuity founder, Amanda Hicks, has joined KPMG as a partner, together with her team. Their research expertise includes customer experience and satisfaction, brand health, corporate and stakeholder communications strategy, and employee engagement.

According to Hicks, “Organisations today are finding themselves in markets that are rapidly evolving and innovating – as are their customers’ expectations. Customer, brand and marketing strategy needs to reflect this changing dynamic.”

KPMG’s Customer, Brand & Marketing practice launches with a combined team of 43 specialists, including six partners. Its suite of services include customer experience strategy, customer experience design, customer journey, sales and channel transformation, marketing and product transformation, service transformation and customer insights.

Howes said, “This new business exists to transform client organisations into more customer-centric ones, to build their brands and to apply more commercial rigour to their strategies. We specialise in achieving ‘customer first’ outcomes to drive financial and operational results – and this will be a major point of difference. So watch this space!”

The business will work closely with the UK-based KPMG Nunwood Customer Experience Excellence Centre, the world’s largest customer experience think tank.

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