Strategic communications outfit, marcusbrewster, has launched what is a first for South Africa: a television campaign promoting the company’s business that will be flighted on CNBC, giving it reach through Africa.
Chairman Marcus Brewster told The Media Online that the company is the first PR agency – and even advertising agency – to do so. “I checked with Tony Koenderman and he confirms it’s a first.”
Brewster says the aim of the commercial is to build business in Africa. “Virtually all of our B2B clients have their eyes on Africa. In terms of listening to one’s customers, we’ve ‘heard’ them and have thus reoriented our offering to be suit demand,” he says.
The campaign, by the Cape Town office of JWT, is presented in an infographic style and highlights the value of PR in the critical business areas of crisis communication and reputation management. “We wanted something that would sustain repeated viewings (obviously R1.5 million buys you a lot of flightings!). Also, taking in the ability of the ad to go viral, the infographic had a much higher chance of being re-viewed than just a talking head of me extolling our wonderful services,” says Brewster.
The aim of the ad, says Brewster, is to grow the business. It’s unashamedly as business-to-business commercial. The intention is to movethe playing field from brand public relations (where the agency is already well established) to corporate communications (where the firm is perhaps less well-known). This thinking also dictated the choice of TV channel – CNBC Africa. The channel’s viewership comprises close to 5 million viewers in 48 countries across Africa.
The station’s broadcast footprint in Africa – it has nine bureaus in South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Gabon and Rwanda and a further seven planned by 2014, also speaks to the larger geographical remit of client assignments on the continent.
“We want to grow by at least 30% in this new fiscal. The ad is just one part of a much larger marketing drive that includes retooling our website and SEO,” Brewster says.
And Africa is key to this growth. Is the company set up to engage new business on the continent?
“Yes, our whole evolution has been from publicity shop to full service PR firm to what we now call managed communication services,” he says. “MCS involves us attending to all the full-service PR needs but taking a larger helicopter view across all a client’s marketing touch points. We don’t necessarily handle them internally as an owned-resource, but we manage the supply chain,” Brewster explains.
“Thus we don’t have our own proprietary network in Africa, we get to assess and work with a specific agency who has relevant sectoral experience to offer in that particular territory. I see that as being a much better solution as far as our client is concerned.