Peter Khoury’s two-years as chairperson of the Creative Circle has transformed the product and perception of one of the country’s leading advertising industry associations through the power of creativity.
Under Khoury’s guidance, the Creative Circle is now a fit-for-purpose industry tool and training ground driven by culture and strong creative ideas.
But creating this inspirational platform didn’t come easy. Khoury, as chief creative officer at TBWA\Hunt Lascaris, drew on his entire agency to get the job done. It took months of hard work (lots of long nights), dedication, a strong team, and a clear vision to transform the association in the interests of the local creative industry.
So, how do you reinvent an industry association of the calibre of the Creative Circle?
Creating a new identity
First of all, to create the perception change, focus went into the product. The aim was to pull the Creative Circle into the 21st century. Grid Worldwide was approached to create a new identity in order to reposition and rebrand the Creative Circle to regain credibility. The digital overhaul included an entirely new CI, a new-look multifunctional website and a refresh of all Creative Circle social media platforms.
“The ’90s called and wanted their website back,” laughs Khoury. “So, this was the logical place to start. Everything we did after that followed the same process of refining and optimising the Creative Circles’ digital and social platforms. This refresh made the association’s work publicly accessible and instantly shareable, not just for creatives but for the South African advertising and marketing industry as a whole.”
Khoury, the Creative Circle’s executive committee, and his team at TBWA\Hunt Lascaris, who volunteered their time over and above their day jobs, worked tirelessly over the two years to create and build Creative Circle’s social presence.
The Creative Circle Facebook page, now updated almost daily, shares anything of interest to the industry in real-time. The association now also boasts an Instagram account managed a week at a time by different creatives from member agencies.
“Our aim with these platforms is to keep a wide network of South Africa’s best creative talent engaged with the Circle on a continual basis, sharing and teaching by providing a view into our daily creative lives in the most authentic way,” explains Khoury.
Networking and knowledge sharing
Apart from providing digital platforms on which to host all communication, these channels also allow the Creative Circle, for the first time, to build an online community – enabling conversations that inform the industry in real-time on worldwide creative activity, innovation and learning.
“The daily coverage from Cannes Lions Festival over the past two years provided a great example of this connectivity and conversation in action. Partnering with Ann Nurock, we reported directly from Cannes to highlight the best-in-industry practices and global standards as they were announced,” says Khoury.
“But it didn’t stop there, back at home we leveraged the opportunity by organising the Full Circle Post-Cannes Inspiration Events in Joburg and Cape Town. The 2019 events drew almost 1000 industry and industry-related professionals, sharing on-the-ground insight from all the South African Cannes judges who helped curate and select the most iconic work from around the world to be showcased at the Festival.”
Bespoke inspiration and knowledge-sharing sessions were also created for a variety of marketers, like Investec, RMB, SAB AB InBev and Liberty, unleashing the power of effective creativity amongst leading South African brands.
“Lastly, a collaboration with the Brand Council to initiate Monthly Design Awards now provides practical teaching and learning opportunities. This informs and upskills the industry by bringing our individual specialities closer together – making us more collaborative and therefore stronger,” adds Khoury.
Shaping the future of the industry
“To really make an impact, we knew that the association needed to do more than just share information. It needed to focus on growing and shaping home-grown talent that can be recognised on a global stage,” says Khoury.
“This meant finding creative ways to save money so that we could reinvest it back into the industry. By taking the communications function digital we were able to save R250 000 a year. This saving allowed us to support industry-related bursary programmes aimed at practically, measurably and visibly driving transformation, deepening diversity and enriching creativity from the ground up,” says Khoury.
Partnerships with Alastair King, the Association for Communication and Advertising, and the AAA School of Advertising has already seen 20 young writers, of which 13 were women of colour, placed in bursary programmes. For the first time, submissions were completed in the participant’s home languages. These talented, young writers will be working in the industry within 18 months.
Khoury attributes the success of these initiatives in transforming the impact, output and relevance of the Creative Circle to the heavy-lifting of his fellow exco members and the entire team at TBWA\Hunt Lascaris who took on his appointment as Chairperson of the Creative Circle as an agency – and personal – responsibility.
“Everyone pitched in to realise the potential of the Creative Circle to inform, educate and enable excellence in our industry while also driving transformation,” explains Khoury. “Critical too was the ongoing support in extremely tough economic times of key clients and sponsors – like MTN South Africa, SAB Abinbev and Primedia.”
From 2020 the chairpersonship of the Creative Circle passes, for the next two years, to Neo Mashigo from M&C Saatchi Abel.
“We need creative talent of Neo’s calibre to sustain and grow creativity in South Africa’s world-class creative sector. Neo has our full support as he continues to build the ability of the Creative Circle to redefine, inform and enable excellence in our industry,” says Khoury.
Khoury will remain a member of the Creative Circles’ executive committee where he and his team will continue to support the growth of the country’s leading creative platform, taking South Africa’s already globally-recognised creative industry to new heights.
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