Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Business needs to stop seeing advertising agencies as “players of last resort”, according to Etiket MD Janhendrik Oosthuizen.

He explains that all too often, ad agencies are brought in at the last stages, whereas they should enter the client’s value chain much earlier, if clients are to benefit from their best work. “We should be involved with the client’s business at the very start of every process, which is where we create the best magic,” he says.

Oosthuizen believes the conversation should be about changing the perceptions clients have of ad agencies. He explains that because of the very specific role agencies have traditionally played in the value chain, clients are often unable to see them as anything other than the makers of “pretty pictures”.

Etiket has long been positioned as a creative consultancy rather than a traditional advertising agency. In an industry where a new source of competition is business consultancies, Oosthuizen argues that what Eitket does is essentially the same as what is done by a more traditional, business-focused consultancy.  “We just need clients to take a leap of faith and see it that way,” he says.

The big take-out:

Advertising agencies need to be part of the process earlier to ensure they bring greater value to clients, maintains Etiket MD Janhendrick Oosthuizen.

After all, advertising is also based on strategies and methodology. Etiket prides itself on getting under the skin of every client – immersing itself in every aspect of the client’s business, from the product or service to the way it was previously marketed. Often, Etiket knows more about clients’ businesses than they do, he points out. “Why go through that process,” he argues, “when all you’re going to do at the end of it is create a banner ad or something similar?”

While business consultancies use a similar process, they approach problems from a different part of the value chain. The secret tool that agencies have – and that makes them so valuable in the value chain – is their creativity, says Oosthuizen.

He says Etiket’s focus as a creative consultancy, as opposed to an advertising agency, is less about reinventing itself and more about putting the skills housed in the business to better use. “We have creative and critical thinkers, business brains and strategic ones, but all too often we don’t use these skills to their full potential,” he says.

Creativity, Oosthuizen says, is something most people believe to be a visual quality. It’s a common mistake. Creativity can actually be used in any area of a business; all it takes is a paradigm shift. “We have a skill that few businesses across sectors have, so why aren’t we making broader use of it?” he questions.

Oosthuizen believes Etiket has a different role to play in its clients’ businesses, and also across the advertising industry – driving a change in the way agencies are perceived, bringing creativity to the fore and sharing this knowledge in the advertising sector.

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