Triple digit growth proves that branding is on SA's business map
Specialist strategic consultancy Yellowwood Brand Architects has grown exponentially over the past four years, recording a 400% growth in turnover and profitability – phenomenal figures given the predominant belief that South African business doesn't put money behind its brands.
“These figures are positive proof that branding is on South Africa's business map,” says Yellowwood group MD Kay Nash.Editorial contact
“As a company, we could not have grown and developed as significantly as we have without our clients and their belief in what we do for their companies, their brands and their bottom lines.”
According to Nash, the growth spurt has been fuelled from without by client demand, and directed from within through significant changes to the consultancy's structure and the way in which it conducts business.
“Over the past two years, we have noticed an increased demand for brand strategy, driven by our clients' need to take social capital and their wider purpose as a business into account. This is rising rapidly up the priority list of their stakeholders. As a result we are now integrating company vision, values and purpose into brand strategy to deliver a more integrated strategy that people can actually live within the businesses,” says Nash.
She explains that, because Yellowwood plays such in integral role in its clients' strategy development and the team understand its clients' businesses at such a fundamental level, it makes complete sense for Yellowwood to extend its offering up and down the value chain into insight, research and design at the other end.
“We are simply extending our expertise in strategy to meet our clients' needs, and have adjusted the internal structure of the business to reflect this expansion.”
This evolution of Yellowwood Brand Architects means that the company now offers three distinct services – strategy, insight and design.
As part of the evolution, the name is changing – from Yellowwood Brand Architects to Yellowwood Future Architects.
“It's not a name change, it's a name evolution,” says Nash.
She stresses, however, that what hasn't changed is the company's absolute focus on strategy, and its specialist nature. Nash believes that this focus is what has allowed Yellowwood to grow and flourish as a brand and a company.
“We have always been, and will absolutely remain, specialists in the field of strategy. We are not ‘Jacks of all Trades'. Everything we do is – and will still be - strategically led, whether it's on the research, insight or design field,” she emphasises.
“Our core competency is our ability to give our clients what we refer to as ‘unconventional wisdom'. What we pride ourselves on, however, is our ability to offer this unconventional wisdom across each of our three offerings, to the same exacting standards to which our clients have become accustomed,” she says.
In pursuing its growth strategy, Yellowwood Future Architects has adopted a ‘Best of Breed' practice.
“If we can't do something at least as well as the best of the best, then we simply won't do it,” says Nash.
The ability to provide this top notch service – and so grow the company so phenomenally – is due primarily to the people behind Yellowwood Future Architects.
“Over the past two years, we have employed a selection of the highest calibre, most passionate and talented people we know. As a small business in South Africa, your only means of keeping good people is to provide them with a job that they love, working for clients they respect, in an environment that allows them to grow. We strive to do just that.”
She adds that the company has also recently invested in new offices, IT systems, as well as financial and data management systems.
“Providing the right infrastructure is a key enabler, in terms of allowing your staff to do their jobs to the best of their abilities,” she says.
Nash concludes that these investments in Yellowwood's future, coupled with the changes in the company's internal structure and the extension to services it offers, translate directly into an investment in their clients' futures.
“As South African companies invest more in their brands, so they require more expertise of the ilk that we at Yellowwood Future Architects provide. The more corporate South Africa invests in its brands, the more Yellowwood will invest in its own development, to ensure that we're able to meet the constantly evolving needs of current and potential clients.”
Group Managing Director – Yellowwood Future Architects
021 880 1489 / 082 550 7476www.ywood.co.za