Time is in the eye of the beholder, in that it can be on one’s side or one’s enemy, depending on where and when ‘one’ is standing.
For Joey Khuvutlu and Tseliso Rangaka, respectively Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer of the FCB and Hellocomputer Group, it’s the former and also the lens through which they view their partnership: timeless and timely.
Team Khuvutlu and Rangaka was formed in March this year when the former Managing Director of the FCB and Hellocomputer Group, Thabang Skwambane handed the reins to Khuvutlu when he (Skwambane) stepped up as Chief Executive Officer of the Nahana Communications Group and Brett Morris took on the role of its Executive Creative Chair.
Since then, the duo, which had collaborated closely in the immediate past, have been refining their take on the path FCB Joburg and Hellocomputer Joburg should walk, and what kind of roles they will play in its journey.
After considerable thought, they’ve distilled their partnership goals into two – to deliver timeless and timely work, and to put creativity at the centre of the business as the foundation that will deliver employee satisfaction and business growth.
“As an agency,” clarifies Khuvutlu, “our goal is activating our clients’ business in the short-term and build brand long-term. Timeless work means timeless ideas that build brand equity in the long-term
While timely work equates to timely tactics that activate business short-term.”
“Timeless work is the kind that makes people fall madly in love with brands,” adds Rangaka. The best examples are built on rock solid strategic and creative platforms that often outlive the people behind the work. Storytelling, purpose and resonance are the building blocks for work that can literally move people to action and product off shelves.
“And, here FCB has arguably the strongest track record of creating timeless brand building work. Of having created the most loved ad of the last 30 years, and the last 15 years. And, of consistently producing most loved ads year-on-year.
“It’s a heritage that we are proud of and one we are responsible to carry forward. But, as in all love affairs, the danger of losing touch and drifting apart is real. That’s where timely work comes in,” he says.
When it comes to ‘timely’, Rangaka continues, personal relevance is what makes brands trusted. This is achieved through smart use of data and technology and digital platforms throughout consumer journey to identify the most meaningful points where the brand can intersect with the consumer to influence purchasing propensity in the most creatively distinctive way possible.
“In simple terms, the objective of timely work is to activate short-term sales and conversion. Combined, timeless and timely concepts make brands loved and scalable.”
The words Khuvutlu and Rangaka talk to – timeless and timely – could apply equally to each of the pair ‘timeless’ for Rangaka and ‘timely’ for Khuvutlu.
A graduate of both Rhodes University and the AAA School of Advertising, Rangaka has led creative teams behind some of the group’s most memorable work including that on global brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, AB InBev, KFC, Coca-Cola and Mondelez.
His contribution to this timeless body of work has been recognised by his peers, and he is the recipient of numerous creative awards including a Cannes Grand Prix, and One Show and D&AD pencils.
A graduate of Vega Brand Communications School and founder of multiple creative industries start-ups, Khuvutlu is a timely digital and technology entrepreneur, and was managing director of one of the most awarded digital agencies in South Africa, Hellocomputer.
His entrepreneurial and digital background is rooted in start-up culture and this has greatly influenced his leadership perspective, a perspective that is relevant for the FCB Joburg and Hellocomputer Joburg group’s current circumstance and environmental context of an ever-complex marketing landscape.
Timeless and timely analogies aside, creativity is the common denominator: Rangaka is a copywriter by training and Khuvutlu an art director.
“Creativity is the business plan,” stresses Khuvutlu. “We believe that proving that creativity is an economic-multiplier through the work we do for our clients is our best growth strategy. In other words, creative is our business and our business is creative.”
Rangaka interjects: “Yeah, our business is all about our creative product, and that means it has no boundaries. In the song ‘Izzo’, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z opens with the line ‘Thanks for coming out tonight, you could have been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with me, I appreciate that’.
“In much the same way, our creative talent is now able to literally work anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world. And their options now extend beyond agencies and include consultancies, in-house studios and multiple platforms that are successfully facilitating the gig-economy.
“So, it’s also our belief that placing creativity at the centre of our business and above all else, will ensure that we retain and attract the best talent. We believe that driving creative excellence will result in talent satisfaction, and satisfied talent will deliver our business plan.”
On a nuts-and-bolts, or operational level, this means that defining and unapologetically driving high creative standards while creating and nurturing an environment for creative to thrive is the duo’s main focus.
This has been achieved with the adoption of a hybrid working model that relies on purposeful collaboration and remote focus working. As such the physical agency environment facilitates collaboration rather than office work. There’s also a robust programme of continuous immersive learning and training experiences for both employees and clients.
“The only way to innovate together is if we grow together in this ever-evolving marketing landscape,” concludes Khuvutlu.
“In the near future, FCB will be launching specialist capabilities and partnerships to further strengthen our timeless capabilities. We’re also working very closely with our international network’s Global Head of Data Science & Connections, Tina Allan, to strengthen and launch capabilities that will enhance our ability to deliver timely end-to-end solutions across social, CRM, brand and media.
“As has been said on many occasions throughout time, it’s time to watch this space.”