Avatar PR launches specialist unit to help clients steer business priorities post Covid-19




As businesses on the continent face challenges that are unique to those faced by its global counterparts, Avatar Group has launched its specialist practice, Resilience at Avatar, to help leaders navigate these unprecedented times.

In an Africa-first offering, the Practice comes at a crucial time when businesses are looking to develop tools and strategies for recovery after the pandemic.

 “COVID-19 presents significant challenges to people and organisations around the globe and the disruption continues to evolve, says Zibusiso Mkhwanazi, CEO of Avatar Group. “This Practice builds on Avatar Group’s acumen in building brands and businesses, as well as its proven creative ingenuity.”

(TOP: Part of the Avatar Agency office. Image: From the firm’s Facebook page).  

The practice will be led by Mzamo Xala, as the MD. Xala has a solid reputation and a formidable track record in brand innovation and the business of marketing. He has led Insights and Innovation projects for Unilever Africa and brought to life new drinks as Innovation Manager at Diageo. His experience spans over a decade, with expertise in digital telco and mobile financial services as Executive for Vodacom, Botswana Telecoms and Virgin Mobile.

In his role as the MD, Xala will bring together a team of seasoned professionals who will work hand in hand with corporate leaders in steering the ship towards recovery, shaping forward-looking plans to build brand resilience.

“This practice exists to help leaders think and act on resilience. We see this as a unique problem that requires a unique approach. It necessitates creativity and innovation as businesses are faced with challenges post the pandemic, ” says Xala, “The team’s collective set of skills and proven track record of success in entrepreneurship and innovation is key to the work we will be doing. Our approach is anchored on three key elements: our creative edge as an agency, our commercial grounding as a business and our collective perspective around how technology advances humanity.”

Understanding the new consumer

Research shows that a new consumer will emerge from the ashes of the coronavirus and as consumers move deeper into essentialism in the new normal, businesses will need to reset their strategic priorities. Studies show that during the outbreak, consumer categories that meet people’s most essential needs have seen unprecedented demand. “We see this trend continuing, as consumers look to brands who lead with purpose-driven strategies while providing essential products and services,” adds Xala.

Of resilience and perspective

“Business leaders around the world face enormous business challenges: the collapse of customer demand, significant regulatory modifications, supply chain interruptions, unemployment, economic recession, and increased uncertainty. But ad hoc responses won’t work; organisations must lay the groundwork for their recoveries now,” articulates Xala.

The Practice will interrogate the business recovery process using the lens of resilience to address the immediate challenges. The specialist team will then help leaders create a detailed plan on how the business can return to scale quickly, all while navigating the cultural and identity change within the organisation.

“Businesses need strategies and tools for rebuilding trust, re-creating structures and protecting its brand. All while keeping up with a very fluid situation. In this new normal, businesses will do things that are going to be radically different, but it will be no less important.”

In addition, the Practice will assist qualifying entrepreneurs in South Africa by hosting free consultation sessions through online engagements. “We know that entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. As a proudly homegrown business ourselves, we would like to contribute towards getting South Africa back on its feet,” ends Mkhwanazi.

Resilience Practice at Avatar is designed to help African businesses rebuild strategies and tools to help navigate it’s ”new normal”. Founded by Avatar Agency Group, the largest black-owned and managed agency group in South Africa, other management members of the Practice include Avatar Agency Group CEO Zibusiso Mkhwanazi; Chief Creative Officer Veli Ngubane; and Ewoudt Cloete, who currently serves as Chief Digital Officer.

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