Earlier this year, Kgaugelo Maphai joined The MediaShop Johannesburg as managing director. Collaborations and cultural diversity top his agenda.
With a background in corporate marketing and advertising with the SABC and Peermont Group, followed by a stint as partner in a creative agency, Maphai boasts good credentials and hopes to infuse the media agency with his business vision and push for inclusive transformation.
He comes across as charming and confident. Both these attributes handed down to him by a father with a sharp intellect and commanding presence. Vincent Maphai was the first and most effective chairman to grace the SABC board since democracy in 1994 and clearly played a role in shaping Maphai junior’s enthusiasm for doing what is fair and good.
A competitive streak shines through when Maphai shares his view on what an ideal agency could be. Surprisingly, given the global ownership of so many agencies including his own, he holds strong views on the future of media agencies.
“The biggest marketing investment for clients is generally media spend so it makes sense that we lead the discussion of where the money should be spent, not creative agencies, as we have the tools and insights that will ensure that clients connect with their target market, cost effectively, because we are channel agnostic,” he says.
We need to be more consumer-centric and want to understand the nuances and commonalities of our diverse country to benefit our staff and clients.
A less futuristic ideal is underway; working across divisional silos and sharing work experience and skills at all staff levels is at the forefront of his plan. He has extended this thinking externally, meeting with out of home SMEs to understand their frustrations and exploring how best they could work with The MediaShop to grow their businesses. This should go some way to satisfying the government’s call for transformation in the media sector and add to The MediaShop’s already progressive BEE credentials.
Another innovation is built on the premise of cultural diversity, or as he puts it, “seeking understanding as opposed to judging others.”
Monthly sessions based on sharing cultural nuances in language, religion, heritage and other areas of potential misunderstanding are held. So far, the Bapedi, Indian, Afrikaners and Xhosa staff have educated the rest of the agency on their respective cultures. He sees benefits such as a happy work force and happy clients who enjoy insights by tapping into an array of cultures already represented within the agency.
“We need to be more consumer-centric and want to understand the nuances and commonalities of our diverse country to benefit our staff and clients,” says Maphai.
Maintaining an excellent reputation is a key driver for Maphai. And it’s clearly working. Seven months into his position, cultural appreciation, insights, improving communication at all levels and diversification will reward him with increased differentiation within an increasingly competitive media agency landscape.
Sandra Gordon is the publisher of The Media and The Media Online, Wag the Dog Publishers‘ companies . She is CEO of the Iconic Group, a savvy collection of entrepreneurial companies offering services across the marketing and communication spectrum, from publishing, public relations, events, video, advertising, digital, web site and social media, promotions and design.