2024 Africa PR Consultancies of the Year | PRovoke Media

2024 Africa Consultancies of the Year

The 2024 EMEA PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 200 submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the UK, Europe the Middle East and Africa. Analysis of each of the Winners and finalists across 20 geographic and specialist categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below. Winners are unveiled at the 2024 EMEA SABRE Awards, which take place in London on 17 April. Tickets and tables are available here.

You can find the 2024 SABRE Awards EMEA finalists here.

Finalists

BCW (WPP)

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BCW Africa, built from the acquisition of South Africa’s Arcay by Burson-Marsteller a decade ago, remains one of the leading PR networks across the continent. Led by Karl Haechler and Bridget von Holdt, the firm continues to uphold a commitment to honesty, transparency, integrity, and excellence, across a diverse workforce and blue-chip client roster. 

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Headquartered at its owned office in South Africa, BCW has a significant presence across Africa with over 300 consultants operating in affiliate and partner offices across the region.

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BCW Africa grew revenues by 10% in 2023 compared to the previous year, driven by a 65% conversion rate of more than 70 new business requests referred to the broader BCW Africa network. New clients in 2023 and early 2024 included well-known names like Coca Cola, Sage, BHF, ATC, The Economist Group, FIFA 2023 – Portuguese World Cup bid, Immersion Group, Hogan Lovells, Gilead, and Fresh Del Monte. These new clients joined an existing roster of key network clients, such as CNN, Warner Bros. Discovery, BCX, LHDA, Experian, Cambridge International, Qualcomm, Puma Energy, and Bloomberg. 

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The agency's commitment to diversity and inclusion is commendable, with a 16-person South African workforce that is 94% female and 75% black, reflecting the country’s demographics. This commitment is also evident in its ownership structure, with 51% black ownership through WPP SA Holdings. Furthermore, all employees of color are beneficiaries of the WPP Yellowood Trust. Gomotsegang Motswatswe rejoined the firm in 2023 to lead stakeholder and media relations for legal, financial services and healthcare clients.

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

BCW Africa has showcased its thought leadership through initiatives like 'Embracing the Digital Frontier: The Evolving Landscape of PR in Africa', demonstrating a deep understanding of the changing PR dynamics in Africa. Innovation is also evident in its Starting Blocks Internship Programme and Innovation Series Africa, while its work in the CIGC in Cote d’Ivoire demonstrates an impactful approach to campaign work across the region. The multiple awards won by the agency in 2023 further attest to its successful work across the region

Arun Sudhaman

DNA Brand Architects (South Africa/Independent)

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Launched more than a decade ago by Sylvester Chauke, DNA Brand Architects had the odds stacked against it as a Black-owned consultancy needing to find its footing in South Africa’s PR industry. Today, 11 years later, the firm continues on an upward trajectory, cementing its stature as a leader in serving clients in the FMCG, financial services, broadcasting, tech and art sectors — including big-name brands like Apple Music, PepsiCo and Avis. Chauke, who has been honored as one of Africa’s young business leaders, continues to lead DNA as CEO. 

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DNA Brand Architects is based in South African and has operations in Nigeria, Kenya, and Dubai.

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In 2023, DNA continued on its years-long growth trajectory, with fee income rising to R130.5 million (roughly $7 million), a 12% rise from the year before thanks to a mix of new business wins and lasting relationships. That was on top of an impressive 38% lift in revenue in 2022. In the last year, DNA’s staff grew by 10 to 54, building out a team big enough to serve top-tier clients including Apple Music, PepsiCo, Avis, Nivea, Viacom, Martel, Telkom, Barloworld, Bathu, Tiger Brands and First National Bank.

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Chauke sees boosting staff as an integral part of running a successful business and invests in ongoing training and development as a result. The company is committed to diversity and inclusion, with 30% of its workforce members of the LGBTIQ+ community, 80% BPOC and 70% female. All staff receive fully paid medical aid, funeral policy, disability and dreaded disease and income protection. Employees 21 days of annual leave and, in 2022, all team members received a December bonus.

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

DNA Brand Architects is an active member of the community, hosting 14 guest lectures at the University of Johannesburg, making eight grants and hiring five paid interns in 2023. Notable projects include Nivea’s 'For Your Shade of Beautiful' campaign and the 'Celebrating Music Icons Heritage' campaign for Tastic. In 2023, DNA was named the PRISM Agency of the Year for the third consecutive year. The firm also won two awards at the Global Alliance World PR awards in India and ICCO media relations award for 2023. 

Diana Marszalek

Flow Communications (South Africa/Independent)

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Started in a spare bedroom 18 years ago, South Africa’s Flow Communications has grown significantly from its inception, burgeoning into sprawling operation that spans more than 30 countries and has more than 150 awards to its name. Propelled by a steadfast focus on innovations, about 30% of Flow’s business is now international. The agency’s roster includes clients outside Africa seeking support on the continent and their home markets including the US, Germany, Nigeria, Senegal, Botswana, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire.

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Flow is based in South Africa and is also registered in the United States. In 2023, the agency had expansive reaching, having worked across EMEA as well as Australia, continental Europe, India the UK and the US.

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2023 was Flow’s best year yet, with a 72% increase in profitability and a 24% increase in net profit, resulting in a revenue of R51.2 million (roughly $2.7 million) — a nearly 15% year-over-year increase. The growth reflected the agency's strong presence in the Middle East & Africa, which generated 70% of its income. Flow’s 58-person team in 2023 served new clients including the South African Reserve Bank, ForAfrika, the Daily Maverick, the World Bank, GIZ-African Union, the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), Air Côte d'Ivoire and the American Tower Corporation as well as existing clients such as Industrial Development Corporation, Hollard, South African National AIDS Council, Gibela Rail Transport Consortium, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and Deutschen Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit.

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Flow’s commitment to diversity and inclusion shows in its makeup — 67% women-owned, a female CEO (founder Tara Turkington) and managing director (Tiffany Turkington-Palmer)and a 75% female staff. The agency also has a level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment rating, the highest ranking of its kind in South Africa. Flow supports employee growth through sponsoring high school and post-secondary school education and offering paid internships. Hard work pays off; employees receive pay raises and bonuses when financial goals are met. 2023 saw the return of agency veterans Thrishni Subramoney and Miliswa Sitshwele, seen as a testament to Flow’s culture and growth. 

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Committed to leveraging innovation, Flow has used AI to boost its client work, seen in the success of the loyalty program it built for car wash chain Carspa. Flow’s creation, TiggerMessage, used AI to read license plates numbers, deliver custom messages and ultimately retain customers — and earned eight industry awards for doing so.  Flow’s work on the 21st Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture showcased the agency’s expertise in leveraging digital platforms, including social, to deliver messages that reach and resonate with consumers.
The hybrid event beat all its goals, reaching 260.5 million people through traditional media, well above its 20 million-plus goal, and 16 million via social media, beading its goal of 10 million.  The lecture by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai  also generated 335 million media impressions, higher than its 50 million goal while sparking important conversations around Yousafzai’s topic of gender apartheid in Afghanistan.

Diana Marszalek

Magna Carta (South Africa/OPRG)

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South Africa’s Magna Carta has been in the reputational management game for nearly three decades, during which it has grown into a full-scale comms agency offering reputation management, issues & crisis work, media relations, investor relations, public affairs, brand activation and more. Today, Magna Carta is a R45.3 million, pan-African focused firm working with premiere clients like Coca-Cola in 18 markets across the continent

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Part of the Ketchum network, South Africa-based Magna Carta operates in 18 African markets including Angola, Botswana, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe among others. 

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Nearly 30 years in, Magna Carta continues to grow, with its PR fee income rising nearly 22% in 2023 to R45.3 million ($2.5 million). The firm also staffed up; headcount rose from 33 to 40 to serve new business from Coca-Cola, Standard Bank Group, SPAR and Windhoek as well as long-time clients like Standard Bank, Eskom, Deloitte, Emirates, Engen, Distell and Medscheme.

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Managing Director Moliehi Molekoa sees her staff as the cornerstone of Magna Carta’s success  — including its Level 1 BBBEE rating — and runs the shop accordingly. The agency invests in employees’ skills development and training and runs a mentorship program.  Magna Carta actively recruits Blacks and women and has created specialized internships to nurture emerging talent. Launched in 1994 — the same year Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first Black president — Magna Carta also supports the larger community through efforts like supporting Black-owned businesses to foster growth. In addition to Johannesburg-based Molekoa, leadership includes Cape Town MD Lisa Biggs and deputy MD Mary Gearing.

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Magna Carta had a strong presence in the PR industry in 2023, during which it contributed to the publication of the first Africa PR and Communication report — providing new insights into the industry across the region. Moliehi personally has played a big role in Magna Carta’s visibility as numerous industry events’ featured speaker on the importance of trade associations in elevating, and professionalizing, PR in Africa.  Moliehi is also one of the 25 GWPRempower mentors working with the next generation of female PR leaders. 

Diana Marszalek

Razor (South Africa/M&C Saatchi Group)

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Advertising group M&C Saatchi launched Razor as its South African PR firm in January 2020, bringing in respected industry veterans Dustin Chick and Kalay Maistry to build a new business in the midst of a recession and just as the pandemic was starting to take hold. Despite (or perhaps because of) the market conditions, Razor is the fastest growing startup in M&C Saatchi’s venerable history, with its senior-level focus and expertise in financial services, technology, public advocacy and measurement helping to underpin a very 21st century reputation management firm, underpinned by a focus on kindness and values. Most notably, Razor has demonstrated a world-class ability to marry high-level reputation counsel with stellar creative, in a country where multi-stakeholder engagement has never been more important. 

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Razor’s 30 full-time employees are largely based in the South African cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. The agency's influence extends across 28 markets via the M&C Saatchi Network and it has 9 international hubs through its affiliate network, SERMO. 

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Despite a difficult global environment, Razor grew fee income by 15% in 2023 to ZAR47.7m with headcount also up to 30. The agency added a number of prominent clients including  MultiChoice, PepsiCo, CIPLA, Johnson & Johnson Consumer / Kenvue, Merdian, Old Mutual (data analysis), Rise Mzansi, and Ticketpro Travel Solutions to its portfolio, joining existing clients such as Anglo American, Takealot.Group, Audi, NTT/Dimension Data Middle East and Africa, Tiger Brands, BDO, Innovation Africa, UNU Health (Standard Bank), Virgin Active, and The Milken Institute. In particular, Razor demonstrated significant growth in key markets, particularly South Africa, and has expanded its reach through the M&C Saatchi Network and SERMO, along with a new partnership with UK behavioural change agency Lynn.Global. Razor’s work for clients such as Anglo American, the Milken Institute, and Of Soul and Joy, among others, has been particularly impactful, demonstrating the agency's ability to deliver high return on investment and reach a broad audience.

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Razor’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evidenced by its level 1 BEE status, along with a group-wide EVP role that takes into account the emotional, experiential, and contractual aspects of the firm’s relationships with employees. Razor also has a junior advisory board, the Culture Club, which is central to the agency's culture, and a remuneration model that is approximately 25% higher than the PR industry average. The firm places a strong emphasis on employee development, with about 32% of staff completing formal training programs that lead to a formal qualification. Razor also prioritizes employee well-being, offering medical aid, provident, and an EAP that addresses financial and emotional wellness. In addition to Chick and Maistry, key leaders include ECD Chris Lazley, Cape Town managing partner Liesl Williams, corporate head Ima Peter, and new appointment Wynand Coetzer, who is head of strategy. 

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Razor’s strategic partnership with Lynn.Global makes it, arguably, the first PR firm in Africa to provide a dedicated misinformation management cell and incorporate behavioural science in all of its client work. That kind of thinking underpins Razor’s commitment to thought leadership and innovative client work across the Middle East and Africa. The firm has also developed a unique AI Governance Policy with AI experts and created a Talkability Index, a real-time measurement tool that revolutionises the way they assess the impact of their work. Notable campaigns include work for Anglo American and the Milken Institute, demonstrating the firm’s ability to leverage strategic partnerships and innovative tools to deliver impactful results.

Arun Sudhaman