[PARTNER CONTENT] Ebony+Ivory, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, has stood the test of time becoming South Africa’s longest standing independent agency emerging from each global crisis more aware and adapted to the constant changes post-crisis.
During its 50 years, the speed at which culture has changed has been exponential.
Many of us still remember the collapse of the US housing market in 2006 and the ensuing financial crisis that wreaked havoc around the world, and the impact of 9/11 on the markets globally. Financial crises are, unfortunately, quite common in history and often cause economic tsunamis in affected economies.
If there is one lesson to be taken from the current global crisis, it is that we all share the same fate in economic terms. Since 1969, the agency has a proud history of having long adopted a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach towards advertising communications while remaining open-for-business due to experience gained at each turn.
“Since the South African marketing landscape is equally effected as the rest of the globe, trends and changes are universal, through the ups and downs one thing remains consistent, the industry must keep active as brands still need to remain relevant, even in a dormant economy,” says Paul Middleton, E+I CEO.
“Having long recognised that traditional agency models are rapidly becoming defunct, the business operates a lean structure, regularly making use of a core team of freelance experts when it needs to. It has successfully adapted its operating model to an era where multidisciplinary skills, agility and simpler structures are called for, enabling it to execute, curate and collaborate on demand,” he says.
Key lessons from a crisis
One of the key lessons from times of crisis is that a protectionist response to a global crisis makes matters much worse, which is why E+I keep their ‘family’ of employees and clients as informed as possible during the worst and best of times.
Ebony+Ivory has successfully navigated these challenges and positioned itself as a nimble and agile business well equipped to deliver on complex briefs, 9/11 taught E+I to function, companies must market even amid a global crisis.
For E+I it’s still business as usual as experience has proved that brands should invest for long terms outcomes. Brands that continued to spend were those that remained strongest and recovered most quickly afterwards. Long-term effects come from delivering lasting impressions that help to keep the brand salient and position it as meaningful and different when the consumer comes back to the category.
Importantly, that meaningful difference doesn’t necessarily have to be product driven, it can be brand driven or more emotional.
Clients such as Brand South Africa know this is a difficult time to talk about an incentive programme, but at the same time, knows it has a responsibility to help stimulate the economy by encouraging South Africans to think positively about ourselves and country by support our dealers and suppliers and to keep our economy operating and our employees working.
In closing Middleton adds “I hope we see marketers … and media … and agencies willing to take bold risks to keep this economy rolling. A recession seems inevitable. The crisis we face is real and immediate.”
Advertising agency Ebony+Ivory is the oldest surviving independent agency in the country.
Established in 1969 the agency has a proud history of offering both traditional having long adopted a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach towards advertising communications.
Ebony+Ivory has successfully navigated these challenges and positioned itself as a nimble and agile business well equipped to deliver on complex briefs.
About Paul Middleton
Paul Middleton is a media and advertising man with a passion for developing and giving back to South African effective creativity. Applying his 40 years of experience in Marketing and Advertising, he is known for bringing perspective, balance, integrity and wisdom to the table at an industry, client and agency level.
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