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Yellowwood Future Architects: Andy Rice, Kay Nash & Ivan Moroke

Creativity meets strategy in this team’s use of marketing tools to uncover business solutions.

Juliet Pitman

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Andy Rice, Kay Nash & Ivan Moroke of YellowWood Architects

In a business environment in which the marketing function is under increasing pressure to maintain credibility and remain relevant, one company is proving that marketing can deliver hard-nosed business solutions.

Yellowwood Future Architects positions itself as an expert marketing consultancy that uses marketing to solve business challenges. “Our point of departure is always the business problem which a client will present to us. Our approach is to use a combination of research,business insight, marketing, branding tools and design to solve this problem,”explains Kay Nash, CEO, who merged Yellowwood and Future Architects in 2004 and later took on partner and group managing director, Ivan Moroke,. ‘Solving business problems’ and ‘beinginformed by a client’s business strategy’ are claims many marketing specialists make but something few are able to actually deliver. Yet when asked to detail exactly how Yellowwood puts it into action, Andy Rice, Yellowwood’s chairman, is not short of words or examples.

“Exclusive Books consulted us to help them grow beyond their normal organic growth rate. The company already has by farthe lion’s share of the bookshop market and a huge national footprint, and can therefore only really open new stores when new malls open – this was the challenge,” he explains. Yellowwood’s solution was to help the retailer uncover a new, previously untapped market segment and in so doing delivered additional incremental volume and new business growth. Rice explains:“Traditionally, Exclusive Books was a store for book lovers but we realised that we couldn’t get this core market to spend much more on books than they were already doing.

“However, our research revealed that there are a lot of other people who are not regular book-buyers but who nevertheless have a passion for something and will spend money on books relating to that topic. Informed by such market research and insight into Exclusive Books’business, we used creative marketing tools to introduce this new market segment to the brand, sending them the message that the store has a book to suit their passion – be it fly-fishing, cooking, motorcycles or travel.”

Answering a business question in this way through marketing and branding requires far more than an understanding of how to apply marketing tools in different ways. As Nash points out, “It requires a rigorous commercial understanding of both the general and brand-specific business landscape, a company’s competitors, its challenges, where its industry’s going, what product developments might be relevant in future – and, of course,a thorough familiarity with all aspects of the company itself.”

Moroke adds: “It’s for this reason that our projects always start with interviewing key people inside our client’sbusiness. This includes the CEO and senior people in finance, operations,marketing and systems. Our goal is to really understand the business and this is our starting point. So when we deliver a marketing solution it’s one that has already taken into account all the different things that affect and drive the business – and it has the buy-in of the people at the top.” The trick is to deliver business solutions that are not one-dimensional or naïve, as Nash puts it.

And this means having experienced people on board. “It’s very easy to give a client a solution that sounds great but is not sustainable, so we focus on employing people who have a good track record of business experience,” she says. The Yellowwood  team comprises a powerful research team that drives the company’s understanding and insight into clients’ business needs; a creative design team that has a comprehensive understanding of strategy; and a strategic team that draws on the research and works with the design team to deliver solutions.

“One of the strengths of our team is the fact that it’s so diverse,” continues Nash, “Part of our strategy is to champion differences because it’s in doing so that you are able to make unlikely connections. The more diverse our team, the greater the depth of whatwe’re able to achieve because different people approach problems in different ways. So we don’t prescribe what an ideal designer, strategist or researcher looks like.” The company also prides itself on delivering individual solutions, as Moroke explains. “We don’t have a suite of products – we tailor-make all our solutions to the specific business challenge of the client.”

It’s an expensive business model but it’s one that works, and as Moroke concludes, doing things differently is what sets Yellowwood apart.“While we have the wisdom that’s required from a business perspective, we are nonetheless creative thinkers and I think it’s the combination of the two that helps us uncover unique solutions, solutions informed by unconventional wisdom.” Contact: +27 11 268 5211, www.ywood.co.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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