Meet the boss
Backed by over 15 years stellar service in the Communications industry, Karabo Thupane took his impressive career to a new level when he was appointed Managing Director (MD) of Incepta Communications on 27 March.
A little over a week into his new role, we caught up with Thupane, 42, to find out how it’s going…
Congratulations on your recent appointment, you must feel great?
I never thought I would say this as I have always been passionate about the work that we do but the passion has increased. The excitement of the role has ignited even more spark for the work!
Give us an idea of what Incepta does?
Incepta is a communications agency which is strategy led, meaning we assist brands with developing innovative, sustainable solutions.
We have managed, over the years, to build strong teams from the various communication disciplines that we are able to give expert advice on PR, Advertising, Digital, Experiential Marketing and so much more.
And as a new leader, what is your roadmap?
My ascension to the job couldn’t have come at a more ideal time because we just embarked on formulating a business strategy early this year after the previous strategy came to an end in 2022.
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It’s a three-year strategy which intends on aligning our growth opportunities to where the industry is heading, using our strengths to best position ourselves as futuristic thinkers.
Before joining Incepta, what were you up to professionally?
I had a short stint in banking before getting into advertising in 2008, working for a company called Y&R Integrate. Our biggest client then was a Pay TV company called Gtv, which unfortunately shut down due to the 2008 credit crunch.
So the company closed in 2010 and I immediately started work for Horizon Ogilvy, where I stayed for seven years. I started off as an Account Executive, got promoted to Account Manager then later became Operations Manager.
I then went into a different field when I started working in the FMCG [Fast-Moving Consumer Goods] industry at Sally’s as a Sales Manager. I really learnt a lot there as it was a completely different industry.
In 2019, I went back to the advertising industry and started at Incepta as a Traffic & Production Manager, a role I held until my latest appointment.
How does your new role compare with your previous position?
It’s very different and in some respects similar. The traffic role deals with all other departments on a daily basis, which is what I do now but at a different level.
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The seat I am in now means I have to look at other aspects besides the flow of work in and out of the agency. My current leadership role means I have to grow the business, grow the team and empower them.
Who are Incepta’s biggest clients?
Over the years we have worked on an array of clients in different sectors. These include accounts like SPEDU, De Beers, Namibian Breweries, Bokomo Botswana, Bomaid and Puma Energy Botswana.
Most recently we have enjoyed working with Stanbic Bank, an account which we have held for the last five years and Pulamed on their rebrand just to mention a few.
Incepta is 15 years old, what impact has it made in the industry?
We have had the opportunity to work with many brands. We like to call ourselves the ‘Home of Experts’ and we are strategic communications specialists.
We have managed to turn around companies through internal and external communication strategies. We have also assisted a lot of organisations to rebrand – a few examples are Pula Medical aid, BUAN and Aleyo Capital.
What are your plans for Incepta going forward?
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The old way of doing business no longer works, where agencies create clever or pretty adverts. At Incepta, we are intentional about having strategy at the heart of everything: what we do as our strategy is what informs the tactical approach and rollout.
We plan to revolutionize how brands communicate to their stakeholders. It is time that we communicate using our culture and tying it to brands as this usually resonates and appeals more to customers.
We have seen on various social platforms how our culture is being celebrated and really stands out as unique and relevant.
How do marketing, advertising and PR inter-relate?
Thank you for the question, a lot of people confuse the three disciplines. Marketing entails the process of creating a product/service, packaging it right down to delivery to the final customer. PR and advertising make up part of marketing.
The two complement each other as advertising is a paid medium to commercialize a product or service while PR strives to create a positive image of a brand, which then makes it easier for stakeholders or customers to trust a brand’s products and service. The three function simultaneously.
What is the key to being a good communicator?
They should be believable and genuine. The audience will immediately block anything that tries to take them for granted or seems unauthentic. We saw during Covid-19 when customers were being more critical of brands and what they had to give.
The first thing when people get information is WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). So hard selling is never a good idea.