The agency Gen Y built

by Herman Manson (@marklives) It’s the tale of many a start-up. A strat guys meets a creative and they see synergies in the services they offer, so they launch a business together. Usually it’s people that have done their time in the corporate world, spent some time in an agency, and have a pretty good relationship with somebody on client side. A bit of wink-wink and nudge-nudge later they are in business with, presto, a launch client (ever notice how often that clients sits on a booze brand?).

The story of Engage Brandcraft has a couple of extra twists and turns. A creative, just out of Vega, meets a strat guy, who got his degree and had interned at a couple of agencies before going freelance, and they launch a business together with no real experience in advertising or client relationships and with no booze brands to back them up. Then they reinvent the wheel (their words) in building their own agency in the middle of one of the greatest worldwide recessions in a generation. “We’ve been paddling really hard over the past few years,” says Chris Human (the strat guy) on building Engage Brandcraft. “We’ve had to discover all the golden rules for building a business all on our own.”

Now, six years in and with a decent portfolio and a bunch of clients under the arm, and armed with a credible reputation and a snazzy office in The Boulevard (also home to Quirk and Y&R) in Cape Town, Human and his business partner Ian Nel (the creative), finally feel the agency has come of age, and they are ready to emerge from under the ad worlds’ radar. The founding duo has also brought on board a third partner – Dijon Jones.

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