By Shauneen Procter, Partner at Idea Engineers.
Some communications agencies are still finding that crucial bit of sun, even within a very gloomy market context. Idea Engineers’ Shauneen Procter discusses the dynamics of a shifting local communications landscape…
Local communications agencies are running for cover at the moment. Some major brands have elected to take their advertising in-house, and others are simply slashing budgets in a stark reflection of global trading conditions.
Across a contracting global economy, austerity is the watch word. And yet, it isn’t all bad news. Communications agency Idea Engineers has just signed a string of new business, including major wins like the Tsogo Sun and Southern Sun advertising accounts (which is shared with two other marketing agencies). Shauneen Procter, a partner at the company, says good business can still be done in these challenging conditions, with the right fundamentals.
“It’s an exceptionally tough trading environment at the moment, and there are no clear signs of resolution,” she says. “In this kind of economy there’s a natural migration by clients towards service and value. Simply put, sustainability is everything at the moment, and will be for some time. Brands are looking to partner with agencies who have a strong track record in terms of length of tenure and performance.”
Idea Engineers’ Tsogo Sun and Southern Sun deals have taken place within the context of the agency’s management of advertising and public relations for Gold Reef City for the past fourteen years, affirming Procter’s view of the importance of long term, high value partnerships. In addition, Idea Engineers was recently awarded the Kagiso New Media <http://www.kagisomedia.co.za/kagisomedia/content/en/kagisomedia/new-media> corporate PR account (including Howzit MSN – the South African version of Microsoft’s MSN portal) on the back of a nine year relationship with Kagiso New Media company, Acceleration Media <http://www.accelerationmedia.co.za/> . Other new accounts for the agency include Cellfind <http://www.cellfind.co.za/> – a member of Blue Label Mobile, and Bayer Healthcare’s new blockbuster oral anticoagulant drug Xarelto.
“In this kind of gloomy economic context brands are looking to work very cost effectively. They need to be nimble and dexterous to meet their aims, whereas a few years ago budgets allowed for a different kind of approach,” adds Procter.
“We’re certainly not operating in a context where communications agencies can’t sign new business. Rather the assessment criteria for contracts have shifted. The key focus points are value, service and partnership. Agencies able to demonstrate credentials in these areas should still be in good shape.”