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Accenture is a coined word that connotes putting an accent or emphasis on the future, just as the firm focuses on helping its clients create their future. Accenture, a name submitted by Kim Petersen, a business consultant working for Andersen Consulting in Norway, is a youthful and dynamic expression of the firm's new marketplace positioning as a bridge-builder between the traditional and new economies.
"When trying to come up with a new name for the firm, I thought of things like bold growth, operational excellence and a great place to work," said Petersen. "Accenture seemed to capture all of those things."
The name change follows an independent arbitrator's August ruling in favor of Andersen Consulting in its arbitration with Andersen Worldwide and Arthur Andersen. Under the terms of the ruling, Andersen Consulting was excused from any further obligations to Andersen Worldwide and Arthur Andersen, including any obligation to make termination payments, and given until December 31, 2000 to adopt a new name.
Accenture was selected after an intensive three-month research and analysis process involving thousands of candidate names. A short-list group of about 50 names, all of which met the positioning and personality criteria for the firm, was evaluated globally for trademark and URL availability, possible cultural sensitivities and local market pronunciation.
The entire naming process — from conceptualization, analysis and research to final name selection — was completed in what is believed to be a record time of less than three months. Typically a project of this size and global scope would take far longer.
The initiative was led by Andersen Consulting's global marketing team and supported by the international branding and identity firm Landor Associates, as well as law firms in more than 49 countries who conducted the more than 3,000 trademark searches required under the project's tight deadline.
In choosing the name, every effort was made to tap into the creativity of the people who know the firm best — its 65,000 professionals. Under a firmwide program, called BrandStorming, employees from 42 countries submitted 2,677 names for consideration.
"Not only was Accenture created by one of our own people, it turned out to be the name our 2,500 partners preferred more than two to one over any other candidate," said Forehand.