“Finding the right career and organisational fit has been a bit challenging for me in the past couple of years but after many calls and conversations, Warren’s vision and humanity tipped the scales,” says Shabalala. “Making a positive and progressive contribution to the world matters a great deal to me; one way I can do that is through my work. So naturally, it’s important to me that I am aligned with the people or organisations that are driven by the same motivation. Having a human-first approach isn’t just a nice-sounding phrase that Demographica puts in client presentations, it is stitched into their organisational culture,” Shabalala continued.
Outside of her scope as head of strategy, Shabalala is passionate about issues pertaining to and affecting women in society and the workplace – particularly issues concerning Black female leadership, young leadership, as well as diversity and inclusion.
“I believe in the fundamentals of human behaviour, communication principles, and economic and marketing acumen. And I have used this to shape and guide meaningful and impactful solutions for brands across various industries such as financial services, FMCG, alcoholic beverages, and even fashion retail,” comments Shabalala.
Having spent her career (to date) working mostly but not exclusively on consumer brands, her thinking has built and reshaped some of South Africa’s most loved and effective brands and campaigns. Always striving to make great work happen sustainably without human cost; Shabalala aims to create and maintain a balanced and fulfilling work experience for herself and her team, stating: “My approach to any piece of work is rigour, focus, and simplicity… And to always leave room for some magic!”
Shabalala goes on to say that her take on her role as head of strategy will consist of building on Demographica’s legacy of being strategically strong. Drawing from years of experience as a brand strategist and independent marketing communications consultant; Shabalala’s approach is to foster an environment that will produce impactful and clear thinking that leads to the clients’ commercial success.
Shabalala continues by saying...“We have seen in recent times that creative effectiveness is increasingly recognised as a key driver of growth. If we can achieve this and simultaneously help make our clients and their brands famous through award-winning creative work, even better!”
Shabalala goes on to explain that the addition of a B2B Awards category at Cannes is evidence that a golden age of B2B marketing is on the horizon.
When asked what excites her most about taking on this role, Shabalala explains that while B2B marketing is new to her, for the first time in a while, she is completely out of her comfort zone, stating: “I mean to move forward with guts and grace!”
Warren Moss, CEO and founder of Demographica, comments on the appointment: “After many years of searching for Demographica’s head of strategy, I am delighted to welcome Gugu Shabalala to our leadership team. Strategy is one of Demographica’s strongest capabilities and having Gugu bring her whole self to this work is extremely exciting for Demographica and our clients”.
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