The Publiko Prince and his royal ambition
Equipped with over ten years of experience as a Graphic Designer, Weston Takaedza decided the time was right to go it alone.
Thus in 2016, the young go-getter founded Publiko, an advertising agency that is quickly emerging as one of the best in the creative industry.
Voice Money’s KABELO ADAMSON meets the boss, who eloquently outlines the challenges faced by the sector and how he believes these tough times can be overcome.
Please introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m West Takaedza, 30 years old and Managing and Creative Director at Publiko.
I’m a Brand Expert fueled by creativity and believe in breaking the rules and being able to bend things most people see as a straight line.
Interesting! Take us through your journey in the creative industry.
I started my career as a Graphic Designer. For over 10 years, I have been generating, creating, and discovering new ideas and possibilities in the creative industry.
I have worked for several reputable Advertising Agencies as Creative Director.
In my capacity as Creative Director, I spearheaded re-branding exercises for private companies, organisations, and parastatals.
I also created creative strategies for multiple companies before establishing a Creative Design Studio, Publiko.
And how would you describe the journey to date?
It’s been phenomenal.
I constantly evolve.
I’ve learned that every situation, every experience, no matter how difficult it may be, holds within it the opportunity for creative growth.
I continually try to stay focused on building success for clients and being consistent in the quality of work I provide.
What high points have you enjoyed career-wise?
My highest moment was being recognised as the Young Creative of the Year in Botswana back in 2015, at the Segai Creative Awards organised by the Association for Communication Agencies Bostwana.
I have also collaborated on creative projects that won multiple prestigious awards from the creative landscape.
And the lowest?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I have had low moments.
While negative experiences can hurt a learner’s self-esteem and confidence, a career devoid of any failures is one where no learning or growth can occur!
Well said! Now briefly tell us about Publiko.
Publiko is a Creative Studio that functions as a mouthpiece between ‘Publik’ and the ‘Corporate.
We are a modern-day agency full of innovative ideas and solutions.
At the heart of Publiko, is creativity and disruption.
Some of our services include Graphic Design, Content Creation, Social Media Management, Brand Development, and Web Design.
Our team is completely driven by creativity and understands the pressure our clients face daily to achieve measurable market gains, win customers, and secure repeat business in a fast-growing competitive market; it is our role to make sure they get a return on investment.
What sets Publiko apart from other agencies?
Our biggest strength is in visual content creation for both digital and traditional platforms.
Our strategy is to do more, in less time, with fewer capital expenses.
We offer good quality work at reasonable prices.
To help achieve this, we also believe in collaborations and forming strategic alliances with other creative departments, these include Photographers, Videographers, Broadcasters, Producers, Printing and Publishing Companies, and more.
We continually try to focus on the things they’re uniquely able to do better than anyone else.
What challenges does the creative industry currently face?
Whether you run marketing, advertising, design, or another type of creative agency, you already know that it’s tough to operate, grow and keep high margins in your business in the current pandemic climate.
Clients are cutting budgets and demanding more innovation and creativity to save costs.
What can be done to overcome them?
In the creative industry, you have to evolve or fall further behind.
Marketing is rapidly changing into new digital platforms (primarily social media) and new cultural norms.
Digital trends are putting pressure on our agencies and are forcing us to evolve.
The smartest, most successful agencies change the rules.
Covid-19 has accelerated various trends that were already developing in various parts of the world, including increased investments in eCommerce.
We ought to take advantage of such platforms.
How else has Covid-19 impacted the industry and how has Publiko positioned itself to survive this challenge?
Our work during the pandemic has increasingly focused on helping our clients communicate and sensitize the public about the effects, symptoms, and preventions of Covid-19.
We have been working with several companies, funds, and organisations in the Medical Industry.
We have also taken advantage of digital opportunities and found new ways of building affinity with clients through better branding and marketing.
We have shifted our strategies, hosting webinars online instead of hosting in-person events, and offering contactless delivery so that products can still go out to our clients in a safe environment.
In your view, do you feel the local creative sector is being given enough support?
One thing we need to realise is that creative enterprises and freelancers will have a huge part to play in leading the country out of the crisis.
There is a lot that still needs to be done in the creative sector, these include: public and private finance for culture and creative events; designing programmes that build creative capacity; investing and securing funding for the creative economy, and embedding support into local policies and strategies that improve the creative sector.
What can we expect from Publiko going forward?
We want to grow our client portfolio beyond borders and create work for international brands.
We wish to continually invest creatively in Botswana and continue to create employment opportunities for upcoming young creative minds.
We wish to participate in workshops, seminars, and/or roundtables that help nurture future talent.