KPMG aims to bolster customer experience design with UKDU acquisition

Creative design agency to join KPMG's Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory division

KPMG Australia has made another agency acquisition, picking up customer experience innovation consultancy, UDKU, for an undisclosed sum.

UDKU, which stands for U Don’t Know Us, was set up in 2013 by former M&C Saatchi group head, Mark Timmins; creative strategist, Colin Jowell; and creative leader, Kon Marinis. Under the terms of the acquisition, the trio and their 10-strong team will now become part of KPMG’s Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory business (CBMA).

CBMA partner in charge, Paul Howes, described UDKU as “a bit of a birthday present for our venture”. CBMA was formed just over a year ago following KPMG’s purchase of Acuity Research and Insights, and has since evolved into a combined team of 43 specialists.

“CBMA is producing some stellar results for clients and enjoying strong double-digit growth,” Howes said.

Over the next five years, almost 90 per cent of companies are expected to be competing on the basis of customer experience alone, KPMG Australia CEO, Gary Wingrove, continued.

“The world according to the customer will define organisations’ design, processes and technology changes. UDKU beautifully complements CBMA’s expertise by deepening our customer experience and digital design capabilities as well as addition a new dimension of physical design skills,” he said.

Jowell said UDKU was founded on the principle of ‘embracing the unknown’ and works with a diverse range of clients and categories. Key projects have included the ‘Duck In, Duck out’ activity turning confit duck into street food with celebrity chefs, Manu Fiedel and Phil Davenport; as well as helping Fonzarelli drive interest in the electric scooter market.

“The opportunity for us to be part of KPMG is just brilliant, allowing us to scale up the customer experience innovation offer at this critical time,” Jowell said.  

KPMG’s CBMA unit has scaled rapidly over the past year. In February, it introduced a new Social Media Advisory group, bringing on former managing partner of social media agency one Green Bean, Louise Pogmore, to join existing social media risk advisory services lead, Greg Daniel, in heading up the group.
One month later, KPMG added a Media Value Advisory, bringing on former Zenith MD, Karen Halligan, to lead the practice.

And in June, the division recruited former Publicis chair and CEO, Andrew Baxter, as senior advisor. Other notable marketing executives in KMPG’s partner ranks include former Virgin Australia chief customer officer, Mark Hassall; former GM of business-to-business IT at Telstra, Melanie Evans; former Google executive, Lisa Bora; and experienced agency chief, Carmen Bekker, to lead its CMO Advisory.

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