On Friday evening I left our European GM’s meeting in Milan with a sense of quiet optimism. It’s no secret that we are navigating very tough business conditions across the EMEA region, I overheard the following statement at the meeting “we are in the middle of the business equivalent of World War II” however even in these difficult times FH South Africa is standing tall and weathering the storm to a fair degree.
Our internal Global mantra is ‘Go Beyond’ and I believe we have effectively been living this value for a long time. Robust, sophisticated PR agencies in SA have been finding multiple revenue channels for years.
The integration of Digital over the last five years effectively stamped out any form of complacency that might have crept into an SA based agency. The competitive landscape has evolved in this time period with ad agencies and niched digital shops operating in the reputation management space.
While some may have feared this increase in competition, the brave (I like to think FH SA is in the fold) have started investing and ‘playing’ in the traditional above-the-line space.
While we will never make 30 second commercials, we are certainly being asked to plan, book and place advertising, particularly in the online space. In the words of our CEO, Dave Senay, we will certainly engage with clients in the ABL space as long as the execution of the idea aids the brand’s reputation and helps tell a compelling story.
So while the responsibility for the online conversation continues to be blurred, the responsibility for the entire online spectrum will be awarded to the agency that best understands the client’s business.
The agencies that will survive will be the agencies that integrate best, that become masters of all channels – we strive to tell great stories for our clients regardless of the audience, regardless of the channel, at any time… as long as the stories continue to drive behavior.