[Video] “A Black Person at the head of a White company is not transformation…”
Jessica Hubbard, Deputy Editor; 18 January 16
Last week, the Creative Counsel (TCC) threw down the transformation gauntlet when they launched an incubator programme to support black businesses in the local marketing, advertising & communications industry. In the first phase of the project, TCC will take five start-up businesses under its wing, which will be supported and mentored by the agency’s management team. TCC’s group co-CEO Ran Neu-Ner, explains the group’s strategy and mission for the programme…
“If you look at the advertising and media industry in general, and you talk about transformation (which is a big buzzword), the problem is that the way we’re going about transformation is wrong,” says Neu-Ner. “I’ve seen two types of ‘transformation’ in this industry: the one is when white-owned or internationally owned companies appoint black CEOs or black management…and the other type is what we call ‘fickle’ transformation, which is where black brand managers invite small black-owned companies to pitch for work….”
According to Neu-Ner, what inevitably happens in the latter scenario, is that these companies are put at a disadvantage.
“They win the work, but they don’t have an infrastructure, they don’t have knowledge around how to run a business, and a year later they go out of business,” he adds.
He notes that if you look at the top 10-15 local companies in the Marketing, Advertising & Communications sector, there is not one 100% black-owned company.
“That shows that the two transformation models are absolutely wrong,” he says. “This is what gave birth to the TCC incubator…”
Neu-Ner explains that transformation is part of the ‘legacy’ that TCC wants to leave, and is confident that the group has the right infrastructure to succeed.
“We’re going to take a handful of 100% black-owned companies, and we’re going to incubate them…to leave as 100% black-owned.”
The programme will include access to infrastructure, mentorship and management expertise.
Neu-Ner admits that when it comes to skills, a bit of a ‘reality check’ is needed.
“We cannot keep falling back on the excuse that there are no skills,” he says. “And if there are no skills – then create the skills.”
He adds that mentorship will be a big emphasis for the programme, with the aim of teaching mentees ‘how to run businesses’ and become business savvy.
“We should decide, as an industry, whether or not we want to take transformation seriously,” he says. “And if we are going to take it seriously, then let’s stop with the fronting…and let’s get these 100% black-owned companies on the map.”