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Loeries Special Section

#Loeries2023: Khensani Nobanda on the importance of creativity in business growth and brand conversation

The Loeries have announced that Khensani Nobanda, group executive for Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Nedbank and 2021 Loeries Marketing Leadership and Innovation Award winner, has been appointed to the Board of the Loerie Awards Company.
Image: Bizcommunity. Khensani Nobanda’s, group executive for marketing and corporate affairs, Nedbank has been appointed to the Board of the Loerie Awards Company
Image: Bizcommunity. Khensani Nobanda’s, group executive for marketing and corporate affairs, Nedbank has been appointed to the Board of the Loerie Awards Company

Bizcommunity chatted to her at The Loeries Networking Brunch held at The Loeries' Johannesburg offices on the appointment, what creativity means, and why it is so important to business.

“For me it is an absolute privilege to even be asked to be on the Board of the Loeries because I respect creativity and I completely believe that creativity drives business growth and business transformation,” says Nobanda.

She says that it is also about senior marketers, such as herself, being involved in the industry, for many reasons, not just to step up.

"It's important for senior marketers to be involved in the industry to ensure that marketing and advertising are at their best because I do think that if we don’t get involved in that way, we could see the standards drop.”

It’s the same, she adds, why marketing needs to sit on the C-suite of any organisation. “To make sure that the standard of marketing remains at an incredibly high level.

Creativity: Fundamental to business

When Nobanda started in her role at Nedbank, the feeling from exco was that advertisements are nice but not necessarily fundamental to the business. Then the bank ran the 2020 Secrets campaign.

“Never mind the business growth that followed, the conversation around the brand was incredible. It led to the thinking that this creativity thing can actually help you from a brand perspective to get into conversations that might never happen otherwise.”

The Secrets campaign was also linked to a couple of the Bank’s products and these grew significantly that year.

The Bank won a Loeries Grand Prix for Film - Branded Content Film - for the campaign and this, she says, was what really led to the mind shift at exco level. “When I say creativity drives business and brand growth, they have a clear of example of this,” she states.

“So now when I come back and show more work that is maybe challenging for them - should Nedbank be doing this - because they have seen what Secrets did, they now have more trust in me,” she says.

This trust is very important. “Just yesterday, I presented what I think is going to be a Loeries Grand Prix winner to the exco, but some were a bit uncomfortable, however, because of the trust we build over the last few years as a marketing team, they said we trust you on this and we know it is going to work so you go do it.”

Trends in creativity

Technology is defiantly a big part of creativity. “Whether it is AI, or the metaverse… technology is sitting at the core of creativity,” says Nobanda.

Therefore, creativity is no longer just about a nice TVC. “You have to deliver an idea, whether a business idea or product idea, the TVC is just the cherry on top that sells that.”

What she also finds interesting from a creativity perspective is that many brands are bucking category trends. “Sometimes even as you watch a campaign or TVC, you wonder where it is going and then you realise oh it’s this type of brand. As long as brands stay clear to who they are I enjoy this trend.”

Lastly, she says, we have spoken about purpose for many years in the industry.

“The difference I am seeing now is I am finding purpose is not something brands are saying, but doing. When they say they are purpose-driven, the creative work is based on a business idea that is actually based on the brand’s purpose and I am loving this.”

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.
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