The state of the South African economy means that it will take years to fix. Citizens and business owners will have to tough it out for the foreseeable future. But what does the 2019 Budget Speech mean to creative agencies?
South Africa entering a period of renewal and reflection
Minister Mboweni acknowledged that the country’s finances are in a bad state. He said that the government will need to get its affairs in order before any real growth can occur. The country is going through a period of renewal and reflection, fixing past damages while trying to stay afloat and rebuild citizen confidence.
The minister argued that South Africa needs to nurture its businesses during this period of renewal. The purpose of creative agencies is to help other brands and companies succeed. By building brands and developing meaningful campaigns, agencies have an important role to play in the growth of the economy.
Agencies can ensure that brands get through this tough transition period and deliver a return on investment for the business owners. The only way to do this is by creating effective communications and campaigns that have a direct impact on the consumer; by making advertising and marketing campaigns meaningful to the bottom line so that agencies can drive sales.
Take inspiration from the aloe
Minister Mboweni arrived at Parliament to deliver his speech, carrying an aloe in a pot. The aloe was a metaphor for South Africa – a resilient and sturdy plant that is capable of surviving extreme heat and drought. He used the aloe to describe South Africa and its peoples’ ability to endure hardship.
Agencies are similar to the aloe, too. While clients’ budgets shrink, their expectations remain the same. Agencies need to be resilient during these tough economic times, making do with whatever is available. South African agencies are among the best in the world and the work produced in the country’s creative industry is a testament to the talent employed.
This is not the first time South Africa has endured hardships. Revenues have shrunk and expenditures have increased under previous administrations, but South African agencies have emerged stronger on the other side. We just need to be smarter with our money and try to make it go further.
Going forward after the Budget Speech
While Minister Mboweni brought to our attention the issues surrounding state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the tax bracket, sin taxes and minimum wages, he highlighted the need to buckle down and press on.
The creative industry can work to raise the quality of its offerings in order to highlight its value to brands. Agencies need to drive their own success and keep their own affairs in order. This will make the industry the best that it can be – stronger, more efficient and more effective.
Agencies should strive to deliver on their promises but also manage clients expectations during these times. They also need to set meaningful objectives that will truly benefit society and South African businesses. As the economy takes time to recover, agencies can nurture it along the way.