Companies should embody a commitment to BEE and empowerment. Picture: 123RF / RAWPIXEL
Companies should embody a commitment to BEE and empowerment. Picture: 123RF / RAWPIXEL

The Promise Group has been voted by its clients as the leading agency in SA for its commitment to black economic empowerment and transformation in the 2017 Agency Scope review. It’s an accolade that means a great deal to the group, which sees transformation as a process towards a specific outcome, namely equality.

Promise CEO James Moffatt believes that the essence of true transformation is giving priority to every person who has in the past lacked privilege and fair opportunity to succeed. "We must actively do all we can to address this situation and create opportunities for these individuals wherever possible," he says.

The big take-out: The Promise Group has been voted by clients as the agency most committed to BEE and transformation in SA in the 2017 Agency Scope review. However, CEO James Moffatt says the industry faces challenges, namely the lack of black talent, competition from clients in marketing and consulting that offer higher salaries and the legacy of poor education in the country.

At Promise black shareholding is direct and transparent. For many companies ensuring the company has black shareholders is a one-off project. However, the challenges of transformation are ongoing and agencies must constantly be on the lookout for young talent to nurture. "We truly believe in strength through diversity, as well as support for the registered pillars of BBBEE," says Moffatt.

All players in the commercial chain of the economy need to commit to transformation, he says. Promise’s clients expect the agency to show its commitment to the process, and the agency expects its suppliers to do the same. "We all have a role to play and must recognise those who contribute to the improvement of SA’s socio-economic outlook," he says.

Cesar Vacchiano, Global CEO of Scopen, the company responsible for the Agency Scope research, says 80% of Promise’s clients maintained during their face to face interviews and in response to a questionnaire that the agency was committed to BEE. No other agency has such a level of client response, he says, adding that Promise was way ahead of the average.

Scopen Africa’s Johanna McDowell says BEE is a uniquely SA component in the global advertising landscape. The question about BEE has been included in the Agency Scope questionnaire in SA for the past two editions. This allows Scopen to track the progress and importance of BEE among clients, she says. "There has been a significant [increase] in response to this question and its importance in the past two years, as we would expect."

Moffatt says most agencies in SA embrace transformation as a policy that leads to success. "However, the industry faces a serious challenge in terms of the available talent pool, and this is exacerbated by clients in marketing and consulting that pay high salaries and the legacy of poor education in SA," he says.

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