Is still beau­ti­ful

Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING & MARKETING -

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.

Marisa Hol­ley

Vee­jay Ar­chary

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