Is still beautiful
The appropriately-named Black African Brand Consulting has made an impressive turnaround after the collapse of its merger with Interbrand Sampson, regaining lost but still-loyal clients and pulling in unexpectedly large revenue.
Initially the merger with Interbrand Sampson looked like a marriage made in heaven, bringing together two respected design and branding shops in the country to create a bigger, more market-attuned and black-empowered company. But very quickly trouble broke out in paradise, and the merger broke up acrimoniously.
As a result, says founding partner Veejay Archary, BABC lost its identity and suffered poor brand recognition. “We had to start again from scratch to build up credibility, establish our positioning and to target new business opportunities,” From that wreckage, however, the original founding partners, Archary and Marisa Holley, managed to do just that, rebuilding their business in a remarkably short time. Renamed Black African Brand Consulting, it has won back old clients and new, with claimed billings of R19m. An impressive list it is: Barclays Africa Group, Medscheme, Afrocentric, Mpact, SA Tourism, GCIS, Gauteng Tourism, Durban Tourism, DStv Supersport, and NBI.
The relaunch date, 1 April, proved auspicious. A year after its restart, it’s a business of 26 people, an office in Mauritius and a whole new attitude towards marketing itself. “We realised that maintaining a low profile is not a good thing in a marketing environment,” says Holley. If your awareness levels slip, you quickly are forgotten. You’ve to be out there.”
Archary adds: “It has been a big shift for us to realise our dependency on the media. That will be one of the biggest things for us now.”
The experience has taught them a lot, says Archary, but “this is not a journey. It has been a discovery. A journey has an end, but we like to see it as a beginning. When obstacles arise most people change direction. For us it was important to maintain a steady course. And it has worked.” the subject of trust in business.
“When there is trust in an organisation there is collaboration, transparency and loyalty. People recommend you more; they place more orders and employees want to work for you.
“When there is no trust, people are apathetic and frustrated. There is friction and politics, and everything slows down … resulting in costs going up.”
Instead of trusting big people and big organisations, 93% of the populace trusts people just like themselves. “In a world that is social, sharing and transparent, trust is needed more than ever,” says Nurock.