Founded in 1992, Thebe Investment Corporation (TIC) is a ground-breaking and leading black-owned investment company in South Africa that invests in and grows businesses whilst transforming lives and making a difference in communities.
Because TIC has no dedicated in-house marketing function or resource, BWD Advertising was appointed in June 2016 as a full service agency to render the complete spectrum of marketing, advertising and communications (MAC) services, as and when needed.
BWD was a good fit for Thebe Investment Corporation, not only because it is a 100% black-owned and operated agency, but also because it was established more than 10 years ago and has proven capability
TIC is a registered trust that predominantly exists for the benefit of its beneficiaries and to grow dividends for its shareholders. For this reason, the company does not have the typical corporate kind of budget for marketing spend and the majority of its initiatives are aimed at building its subsidiaries, rather than the mother brand.
BWD kicked the relationship off with comprehensive strategic workshops with TIC’s powers-that-be to fully immerse itself in the business and to understand its goals and objectives. Status meetings are also held on an on-going basis, to ensure that any new developments are taken into consideration in the planning and implementation of any of TIC’s MAC efforts.
One of the first initiatives undertaken by BWD was to conduct full brand audits of the TIC brand, as well as its (insert number) subsidiaries. These audits investigated and pinpointed important internal issues such how the mother brand is perceived by its subsidiaries and how the subsidiaries are linked with the mother brand, as well as how effectively the various brands are articulated and positioned on the market. The brand audits were accompanied by reports that not only highlighted problem areas, but also offered recommendations for corrective action.
BWD utilises dedicated media monitoring software and social media listening tools on behalf of TIC, on a continuous basis. This helps to understand the external brand perception and monitor any mentions of TIC or its subsidiaries, either by media or industry influencers. Findings with recommendations are reported on a frequent basis and any potential issues that could cause reputational or other damage, are flagged and escalated instantly.
BWD assists TIC to manage its brand perception and reputation according to international best practices and offers counsel on communication during crises or issues that may potentially lead to reputational damage.
BWD develops marketing plans for TIC and its participating subsidiaries, that includes detailed implementation and project plans, as well as budgets. Rather than dictating, BWD deploys a collaborative approach between the agency and the client to ensure that delivery is executed right on target and within the parameters of the available budget.
A significant portion of TIC’s MAC initiatives are centred on building stakeholder relationships. To this end, TIC hosts a number of events every year. This includes the illustrious annual Thebe Excellence Awards and a multitude of workshops and seminars for its stakeholders throughout the year. 2017 will also mark the hosting of a special event to celebrate TIC’s 25-Year anniversary.
BWD renders a turnkey service for each of these events, right through from the conceptualisation and design of the themes for it, to compilation of the event plans and rolling out every element of it. This includes designing and producing all the marketing collateral, as well as taking care of all the communication and content elements that are typically required for such an event.
A major benefit that BWD brings to the table; is the fact that it has a high-tech in-house studio that is renowned for producing award-wining multi-media content, including animated video explainers and corporate videos.
Understanding that every visual piece of communication serves as the face of the brand, BWD draws on its in-depth understanding and insights of TIC to make sure that all graphic design work are 100% true to TIC’s brand. To this end, stringent quality control measures are in place and all design work is evaluated by a senior officer who is personally and hands-on involved in TIC’s account.
BothaRoodt Fresh Produce Agency is one of TIC’s recent acquisitions. BWD has been responsible for the rebranding of the agency to ensure that it is aligned with the TIC mother brand. BWD also had to conceptualise and execute an internal communication campaign to inform internal stakeholders of this new development.
The campaign culminated in the hosting of a launch event that involved (insert number) stakeholders, including key TIC officials and associates. Due to the fact that BWD is actively involved on the TIC account on a permanent basis, ad hoc events such as these can be executed speedily and seamlessly.
The appointment of one full service agency to manage and roll out all its MAC services was key to ensure complete alignment between TIC’s business strategy and its MAC efforts, as well as seamless integration between the mother brand and all its subsidiaries.
BWD’s consistently strategic approach guarantees that TIC’s business objectives remain right at the centre of every – and any MAC element. As opposed to a “spray and pray” approach, this in turn helps to make sure that every MAC initiative is targeted and focused and that it actively drives and supports the goals of the business.
Taking TIC’s budget constraints into consideration; BWD constantly conceptualises creative and alternative ways to roll out initiatives at costs that are lower than the norm. BWD also leverages its longstanding relationships with a network of media and related suppliers to negotiate discounted prices. Overall, this makes it possible to utilise TIC’s budget optimally, and obtain maximum value at minimal cost.