Social networks are now well established as important communication platforms in B2B settings with a variety of uses, including content marketing, corporate and personal branding, and influencer engagement.
Through my work in influencer marketing over the past several years, I have researched and compiled lists of top influencers in various tech fields, for example fintech, AI, payments, and others. These influencers emerge from a variety of places in any given tech ecosystem – some work for startups, vendors, or incumbents; others are writers, bloggers, publishers, or analysts in the field. I began noticing that a handful of individuals from Big Consulting firms were showing up on these influencer lists and I was interested to know why more consultants were not active in social (more on that below).
So, I set out to highlight top social media influencers employed by Big Consulting firms. It should be said at the outset that this turned out to be more challenging than it seemed and continues to be a work in progress. The plan was to identify social media influencers from among the top 20 (by annual revenue) big consulting firms. Twitter was used as the primary social media channel, yet some active social influencers do not identify their firm affiliation clearly or consistently in their Twitter profiles. We may very well have overlooked some high visibility online influencers and I welcome any suggestions or corrections. Please feel free to email me. Important disclaimers and details on the methodology used to compile these lists can be found at the end of the post.
Why so few influencers from Big Consulting?
I have often wondered why online social networking has not been more enthusiastically embraced by Big Consulting firms. After all, they’re in the business of thought leadership and social networks are some of the best platforms for building audience around one’s thought leadership. Sharing insight-driven content is one of the best ways to build visibility and influence online and Big Consulting firms generate lots of that. This kind of knowledge-based networking, led by individual subject matter experts and other aggregators of social capital, would seem to the perfect fit for Big Consulting firms.
Yet, as a sector, Big Consulting still hasn’t quite figured out social networking. In many organizations, social networks are still seen primarily as brand marketing channels best used to push out corporate messages. Not that corporate branding isn’t important, but far fewer consulting firms have recognized and harnessed the power of social networks to build knowledge-based business networks of influential individuals – and they’re leaving huge value on the table. Many of the most prominent social influencers working in Big Consulting today – the people on the lists below – have been building their social footprints for years, often without firm support and sometimes even getting resistance from formal brand marketing teams. This is starting to change.
What Influencers Get from Social Networks
Top social influencers typically invest considerable time and energy to develop their online social networks and grow their visibility. I reached out to several of them to find out WHY they do it – and this is what they said.
I am active on social networks for a couple of dominant reasons: first, because I am an educator, and I love sharing information and educating people about science and technologies; and second, because there is a great community here sharing knowledge, ideas, new results, new projects, and fun facts. Since my main passion is discovery through data, then data science, AI, and machine learning are the things that I like to share with others and to learn from others. There are many thousands of opportunities every day to do that. Some of the major benefits of online engagement are building both my own brand and building up my company’s brand — all of that brings new opportunities and engagements, which is a win-win for all of us.
The market is shifting away from brand loyalty and trust and towards brand choice, and we’re now in an environment where individuals are trusted so much more than any organization. This presents a massive opportunity, and I believe social media is the perfect tool to seize on it. For these reasons I have actively embraced social networking, and will continue to. It is key to my career today and in the future of work, to the value I bring to the organization I work for, for my ability to build authentic external relationships, and to continuously add value across the entire integrated ecosystem I am a part of.
Showing up to work in the physical world is no longer enough. Bringing your best digital you everyday provides an unprecedented opportunity to engage and connect in ways that can be exponential.
With the right investment of effort, the business results are above and beyond traditional methods.
Social networking has become embedded as a core part of my daily routine. I have embraced it for three reasons. First, it has become an incredible source of up-to-date news and insights on the latest and greatest trends and happenings across the globe. Second, it is a great channel to help promote the insights my team develops with our own research, as well as other interesting trends and insights produced/shared by my social network. Third, and most important, it is an incredible network of peers (many I now call friends) in the industry and across the globe who I may never have had the opportunity to meet. Many of those relationships remain virtual, but I have also had a chance to catch up with many at different industry events across the globe. This constantly growing network is invaluable on both the personal and professional front.
Building a relevant community, starting conversations, and connecting contacts to a solution is why I network on all my personal channels and the brand channels I lead at Cognizant.
Being present and authentically engaging (versus selling) helps your brand, your industry, and your customer to be successful.
Here are the top social media influencers in Big Consulting. Below, we have also included top 10 social media influencers by firm (where adequate data on 10 individuals within each firm was available).
Top 20 by followers on Twitter
- Nandan Nilekani | @NandanNilekani | Infosys | Bengaluru
- Kirk Borne | @KirkDBorne | BoozAllen | Maryland
- Mike Quindazzi | @MikeQuindazzi | PwC | Los Angeles, CA
- Gerry Moran | @GerryMoran | Cognizant | Philadelphia, PA
- Gregor Sideris | @GregorSIDERIS | IBM | Vienna Europe
- David Graham | @DavidGrahamSA | Deloitte | Africa
- Dr. GP Pulipaka | @gp_pulipaka | Accenture | Redondo Beach, CA
- Josh Bersin | @Josh_Bersin | Deloitte | California
- Krish Ashok | @krishashok | Tata | Chennai, India
- Bill McDermott | @BillRMcDermott | SAP | Mannheim, Germany
- Danielle Guzman | @guzmand | Mercer | Brooklyn, NY
- Diana O’Brien | @DianaMOBrien | Deloitte | Cincinnati, OH
- Sam Lightstone | @samlightstone | IBM | Canada
- John Hagel | @jhagel | Deloitte | Silicon Valley
- Severine Lienard | @SeverineLienard | IBM | Paris, France
- Dr. Marcell Vollmer | @mvollmer1 | SAP | Frankfurt on the Main, Germany
- Andy Woodfield | @andy_woodfield | PwC | London, UK
- Bill Sullivan | @WFSULLIVAN3 | Capgemini | Wyndham, VA
- Aylee Nielsen | @AyleeNielsen | IBM | San Francisco, CA
Note: This list is not ordered by Twitter follower count, but by higher Insider Rank score (see methodology below).
- Maria Winans | @MariaWinans | IBM | USA
- Karen Walker | @KarMWalker | Cisco | Silicon Valley
- Sandrine Fouillé | @sfouille | Capgemini | Nantes, France
- Christina Dove | @ChristinaDove7 | Mercer | South Coast, England
- Peter Xing | @peterxing | KPMG | Sydney, Australia
- Timo Elliott | @timoelliott | SAP | Paris
- Francine Katsoudas | @FranKatsoudas | Cisco | San Jose, CA
- Josh Sullivan | @joshdsullivan | BoozAllen | Washington, D.C.
- Hope Frank | @HopeFrank | Mercer | San Francisco
- Bob Moritz | @Bob_Moritz | PwC | New York, NY
- Tim Ryan | @Timothy_F_Ryan | PwC | Boston
- Harriet Green | @harrietgreen1 | IBM | London, UK
- Rob McCargow | @RobMcCargow | PwC | West End, Surrey, United Kingdom
- James Marland | @JamesMarland | SAP | London
- Katrina Klier | @KatrinaKlier | Accenture | NYC + The World
- Emilie Cocagne | @ECocagne | Oracle | France, Iberia, Italy
- Rémy Baranger | @RBaranger | IBM | Paris
- Michael Chui | @mchui | McKinsey | San Francisco
- Ellyn J. Shook | @EllynJShook1 | Accenture |
- Jennifer Morgan | @JenniferBMorgan | SAP | Philadelphia, PA
- Pete Williams | @rexster | Deloitte | Melbourne
- John Fildes | @JohnFildes | Cognizant | Chicago | Miami
- Alicia Tillman | @aliciatillman | SAP | New York City
- Ron Ricci | @RonRicciCisco | Cisco | Los Gatos, CA
- Norman Dreger | @NormanDreger | Mercer | Frankfurt, Hessen
- Phil Mennie | @philmennie | PwC | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Didier Bonnet | @didiebon | Capgemini | London, England
- Maria Martinez | @MariniMartinez | Cisco | San Francisco Bay Area
- Andy Heppelle | @andytoronto | Capgemini | San Francisco, California
- Steve Lunceford | @dslunceford | PwC | D.C.
- Jeff Smith | @thatjeffsmith | Oracle | Cary, NC
- Maggie Buggie | @MaggieBuggie | SAP | Global remit, based in London
- Amy Chang | @_amychang | Cisco | San Jose, CA
- Iver van de Zand | @IvervandeZand | SAP | Belgium
- Wilfried Essing | @wilfriedessing | Mercer | Nederland
- Alisa Maclin | @amaclin1 | IBM | San Francisco, CA
Top 10 from Selected Big Consulting Firms
For some firms, it was easier to compile dozens of accounts that could then be ordered by Twitter followers. Others were more difficult and therefore they have been omitted. Please email me if you have additions or corrections.
- Bill Sullivan | @WFSULLIVAN3 | Wyndham, VA
- Sandrine Fouillé | @sfouille | Nantes, France
- Ron Tolido | @rtolido | Europe
- Didier Bonnet | @didiebon | London, England
- Basile Escoffier | @BasileEscoffier | Paris & Miami
- Jerome Buvat | @JeromeBuvat | London
- Dinand Tinholt | @tinholt | The Hague
- Patrice Duboé | @pduboe | Global
- Frank Wammes | @fwammes | Utrecht Area, Netherlands
- Manuel Sevilla | @msevillatweets | Paris, World
- Karen Walker | @KarMWalker | Silicon Valley
- Chris Dedicoat | @ChrisDedicoat | San Jose, CA
- Francine Katsoudas | @FranKatsoudas | San Jose, CA
- Ron Ricci | @RonRicciCisco | Los Gatos, CA
- Amy Chang | @_amychang | San Jose, CA
- Maria Martinez | @MariniMartinez | San Francisco Bay Area
- Jamie Shoup | @MsJamieShoup | Carmel, IN
- Kevin F Bandy | @KevinFBandy | San Jose, CA
- David Goeckeler | @DavidGoeckeler | San Francisco Bay Area
- David Graham | @DavidGrahamSA | Africa
- Josh Bersin | @Josh_Bersin | California
- Diana O’Brien | @DianaMOBrien | Cincinnati, OH
- John Hagel | @jhagel | Silicon Valley
- Nigel Walsh | @nigelwalsh | London
- Andy Haas | @ab_haas | Atlanta, GA
- Pete Williams | @rexster | Melbourne
- Tom Davenport | @tdav | Cambridge, Sarasota, Falmouth
- Punit Renjen | @PunitRenjen | Global
- William Eggers | @wdeggers | ÃœT: 25.782082,-80.178627
- Mark Weinberger | @Mark_Weinberger | Washington, DC
- Dean Williams | @DeanWilliamsEY | Atlanta, GA
- Caroline Higgins | @Info_Data_Mgmt | New York, NY
- Herb Engert | @HerbEngert | New York, USA
- Beth BrookeMarciniak | @BethBrooke_EY | Nokomis, FL
- Uschi Schreiber AM | @UschiSchreiber | Sydney Berlin New York
- Lorenzo López Carrascosa | @llcarrascosa | Mexico City
- Steve Varley | @SteveVarleyEY | London
- Mats Persson | @matsJpersson | London
- Amber Armstrong | @ambarmstrong | New York, USA
- Gregor Sideris | @GregorSIDERIS | Vienna Europe
- Sam Lightstone | @samlightstone | Canada
- Severine Lienard | @SeverineLienard | Paris, France
- Ryan Detert | @RyanMDetert | Los Angeles
- Aylee Nielsen | @AyleeNielsen | San Francisco, CA
- Maria Winans | @MariaWinans | USA
- Bob Lord | @rwlord | New York, USA
- Harriet Green | @harrietgreen1 | London
- Nils Liedtke | @Nils_Liedtke | Brussels, Belgium
- Michael Chui | @mchui | San Francisco Bay Area
- Tara Maller | @TaraMaller | Washington DC
- Shital Chheda | @srchheda | Chicago, IL, USA
- Lenny Mendonca | @Lenny_Mendonca | Half Moon Bay, CA
- Dan Chuparkoff | @Chuparkoff | Chicago, IL
- Caroline Webb | @Caroline_Webb_ | New York/London
- Acha Leke | @achaleke | Johannesburg, South Africa
- Glenn Leibowitz | @GlennLeibowitz | Taipei City, Taiwan
- Hugo Sarrazin | @HugoSarrazin | Silicon Valley
- Danielle Guzman | @guzmand | Brooklyn, NY
- Christina Dove | @ChristinaDove7 | South Coast, England
- Wilfried Essing | @wilfriedessing | Nederland
- Amy Scissons | @sciz | New York, NY
- Ilya Bonic | @IlyaBonic | New York, USA
- JP Provost | @jpprovost1 | Canada
- Christopher Lomas | @calomas | London/ Brighton
- Pat Milligan | @pat_milligan1 | New York, NY
- Hiroshi Baensch | @mbaensch | New York, NY
- Lisa Lint | @LisaLint | Broadview Heights, OH
- Mike Quindazzi | @MikeQuindazzi | Los Angeles, CA
- Andy Woodfield | @andy_woodfield | London | Poole | Dorset | UK
- Rod Adams | @workwithrod | USA
- Kelly Barnes | @kelly_a_barnes | Dallas, TX
- Bob Moritz | @Bob_Moritz | New York, NY
- Paul Dunay | @PaulDunay | New York
- Phil Mennie | @philmennie | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Neil Dhar | @neilkdhar | New York, USA
- Rob McCargow | @RobMcCargow | UK
- Tim Ryan | @Timothy_F_Ryan | Boston
Methodology and disclaimer
Big Consulting firms were selected based on the top 20 in consulting revenue. Using a social analytics tool called Little Bird, we searched for top influencers in each firm using a keyword search, then sorted results for individual persons and excluded organizational, non-individual accounts. Individual accounts of persons who were not employed currently (at time of research, May-July 2019) by the target firm were excluded. Then, each firm list was ordered by Twitter follower count.
Next, up to ten top individuals (by Twitter follower count) from each firm (approx. 200 in total across 20 firms) were compiled and the top 20 across all firms by Twitter follower count were identified.
This same list of 200 was run through Little Bird software (now a part of Sprinklr) as an Affinity network (definition: “An Affinity network finds accounts with similar connections to the submitted accounts, merges, and analyzes them.”). The resulting list of approx. 1,600 individual and organizational identities was again sorted and organizations and individuals not currently employed by one of the 20 firms was excluded. Then, the top scoring (based on Little Bird’s Insider Rank) individuals in this list (excluding the 20 top influencers already listed by Twitter follower count) were listed as Honourable Mentions.
All efforts have been made to compile and present accurate, publicly available information on social media influence. No social media rankings or evaluations are a definitive measure of influence – all have some subjectivity involved, if only in the choice of criteria to use for evaluation. We welcome any additions, clarifications or corrections. Please email me.
Updated on 15-July-2019 at 3:15 pm ET: After posting the list, it was brought to my attention that Hope Frank (@HopeFrank) was no longer with Mercer. She is now the CMO of Mocana and, no doubt, still worthy of your attention, but no longer meets the requirements of being employed by a top 20 big consulting firm.