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Arctic Circle: Reghard Goussard

A branding and design agency adds business strategy to the mix to deliver game-changing results to clients.

Juliet Pitman



Reghard Goussa of Artic Circle

Creativityis no longer a value add. Anyone can execute creative work,” says ReghardGoussard, CEO of Arctic Circle. It’s a bold statement, particularly for someonewho runs a brand agency. But at a time when marketing and branding areincreasingly being called upon to account for the bottom-line value they add,it’s also a timely one. The industry is feeling the pinch of cost-cuttingmeasures and slashed marketing budgets precipitated by the global financialcrisis.


Thereal value lies in transferring intellectual property, Goussard believes. Toadd game-changing value, he says brand agencies need to bring a businessstrategic approach to the projects they work on. “Brands exist as part ofbusinesses – you can’t separate the two. If you expect the brand to be able tochange the business for the better, you need to make sure you’re looking at thebrand through a business lens,” he says. Asa young entrepreneur determined to climb the mountain that is the advertisingindustry, Goussard founded Arctic Circle tenyears ago, but he still describes the agency as being made up of “young guns”.“The spirit of the company is founded on the fact that we see ourselves as‘exploriors’ – a combination of explorers and warriors,” he says. The businesscut its teeth designing and creating brands for clients, but over time hasrefined its focus to include a more hard-nosed strategic business approach.

Structuringfor strategy

Strategicbranding is not new. In fact countless agencies have added “strategic” to theirlist of descriptors, so what makes Arctic Circledifferent? “We’ve structured our entire business so that the value we add toclients’ brands is underpinned by sound business strategy,” Goussard says. Thisstructure has four divisions which govern the company’s work process whentackling a brief. “THINK® is our strategic department and it deals with brand,communication and positioning strategies, in partnership with the client. INTERACT®handles client contact and the management of this relationship, together withbrand plan implementation and project management. CREATE® comes up with thecreative concept and its various applications and SPACE® focuses on the retailand corporate space where the brand needs to be activated,” he explains. “Butwe don’t even touch creative until THINK® has done its stuff.”

Plans intopractice

Sowhat does all this translate into in practice, and how has it helped Arctic Circle to punch above its category weight in theindustry? Goussard points to a current piece of work as an example. “We’re busyworking with an international spirits company, creating hierarchical categoriesfor each of their brands within a particular spirits category. “Thisallows each label to have a clearly-defined target market that is separatefrom the other labels in the same spirit category. This is important from abusiness point of view because it prevents brands within the same companycompeting with each other.”Buthis long-term strategy goes deeper than that. “In conducting our research intothe industry, the consumers and the competitors, we realised that there is realpotential for this company to ‘own’ its spirit category, in much the same waythat France ‘owns’ bubbly, or South Africa ‘owns’ rooibos tea. We are workingto strategically position the business as the global leader in this way,”


Identifyingbusiness opportunities

“Seeingbrands through a business lens, in partnership with the client and against abackground of their industry-specific context, is what highlights suchopportunities. They can then be harnessed to add bottom-line value, not just tothe brands themselves, but to the business as a whole,” he adds. It’snot rocket science, but few agencies have managed to make the transition fromcreative to strategic partner successfully. In being one of them, Arctic Circle has hit on an important differentiator,something few businesses can do without in these challenging  +27 21 486 8140

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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