Q5: The new kids on the kasi block, with Sabz Ngcongwane [interview]
Q5: Could you talk us through the story of Brand Spaza, and what sets the agency apart?
Sabelo Ngcongwane: Brand Spaza was incepted through its sister company, a printing and branding agency called Keswa Branding Solutions, which my partner [Kamohelo Keswa] and I have been running for five years now.
What sets Brand Spaza apart is that we’ve positioned ourselves as a through-the-line creative agency that helps brands connect with the local emerging/kasi/[main] markets through true, authentic township/kasi strategies, insights and communication services in impactful and meaningful ways.
Brand Spaza has noticed that the advertising industry has a lot of blanket-approach advertising when it comes to advertising and communication directed to the majority, which at times distorts the message and messaging, and consumer responses become negative. [We] always look to deliver true, authentic advertising and communication to the majority, so as to foster positive consumer responses which brands really need.
Q5: What does your client stable look like?
SN: We have managed to work with all sorts of clients, from creative and media agencies to corporate institutes and state departments.
Q5: Tell us more about your offering?
SN: We would like Brand Spaza to be… recognised as a sought-after kasi/emerging markets strategy, insight and communications agency. [We want our offering to be] relevant, creative and innovative.
Q5: Brand Spaza will soon celebrate its one-year anniversary. What have the major highlights and challenges been since you launched?
SN: Brand Spaza [is] really the new kid on the block, but we [the partners] aren’t at all new in this business of advertising and communications. That being said, our highlights have really been starting and launching the Brand Spaza brand and managing to work with great clients and individuals. Also, a big highlight was managing to grow our team from only three colleagues to 13 [of which 10 are full-time employees], which includes strategists, graphic designers, copywriters and in-the-field data and insight reps; this has allowed us to move into bigger office spaces [in Joburg], which has brought in some new work.
Our biggest challenge still is fully breaking into the industry as a black voice in media, advertising and communications.
Q5: Where to from here — what are the agency’s goals for the next 12 months?
SN: The agency’s goals are to continue delivering… impactful and meaningful communications and attracting… clients that will understand the concept of advertising for the bottom line, and not for awards.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Carey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with over decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to MarkLives.com, her regular column “Q5” hones in on strategic insights, analysis and data through punchy interviews with inspiring professionals in diversive fields.