Your Most Competitive Weapon

Your Most Competitive Weapon


Strategic communications is a ‘must do’ and no longer a ‘nice to do.’ That’s the word from Willem Eksteen, founder of Stone, a business strategy and communication consulting company.

“The business landscape has changed radically,” says Eksteen. “Today you have to look at your total communication mix and then engage with your target audience ‘where they are’.

“Email, text messaging and social networking have brought companies much closer to their target audience, but at the same time, that audience has become far more discerning.

“With the ubiquitousness of mobile devices and the diversity of communication platforms, people are connected and informed as never before.”

This means that companies need to communicate with continuity and integrity top of mind through clear, compelling messages.

Related: The Surprising Tasks Your Competitors Are Outsourcing 

Ensuring integration

As a communications specialist, Eksteen has applied these principles to the growth of his own business, which he founded in 2008.

“Just as we do with our clients, we look at our business objectives and we put those at the centre of all our communication.”

Eksteen developed a strategic methodology named Pebble Ring Thinking, which Stone uses to facilitate, develop and interrogate a strategy to ensure that the final product reaches the intended target audiences while building the reputation of its clients.

Reaching audiences

“Like when a pebble lands in water and a collection of rings form as the effect of one action, our clients’ business objectives are always at the centre of all activity we undertake to reap strategic business and communication results,” he says.

Stone builds key messages for clients around their business objectives and these are applied across all areas of the required communication – internally and externally:

  • Communication strategies are designed with input from the leadership and a wider team, including external experts when required.
  • Once all the elements have been tested and amended according to feedback, an integrated implementation plan is developed. This plan defines every section of the implementation as a project, with assigned deadlines and accountability.
  • The implementation plan is presented to client leadership for approval and then discussed at an integration workshop so that everyone can agree on responsibilities and procedures.

Keeping the noise down

The result is effective positioning to all audiences, generating influence with stakeholders and promoting internal alignment with key business objectives:

“Placing strategic impact at the core is critical, because everything must serve the business objectives. Otherwise, you are just creating more noise in a very noisy world.”

Vital stats

  • Player: Willem Eksteen
  • Company: Stone
  • Est: 2008
  • Connect:;  +27 (0)11 447 0168
Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.