We value your company #21: Building brands and businesses (Mike Abel, founder M&C Saatchi Abel)


Great advertising is about making the strange, familiar, or the familiar, strange! In Mike Abel’s world, it’s all about the customer and recognising that every interaction that a customer has with a business is part of building the brand.

Mike works with some of the biggest brands in South Africa. On top of this, he has experience in leaving the safety net of corporate to start something new. This gives Mike a unique viewpoint on the world that resonates with founders.

In this podcast with The Finance Ghost, some of the topics covered included:

  • How did Mike enter the advertising industry and how did the deal with M&C Saatchi come about?
  • Mike has been on the receiving end of the same hard lesson that many others have learnt when leaving corporate, but he was well prepared for it. What was that lesson? Clue: it relates to having sufficient runway for a startup.
  • How do large clients think about their advertising budgets?
  • How do B2B and B2C strategies differ, particularly in terms of the sales cycle?
  • What is the danger of clients regularly changing their advertising agency?
  • Why is it so important to obsess about the customer, not the brand?
  • What is the value of sports-related marketing and is it always a winner, or is there a more scientific approach to figuring out how to reach the right audience?
  • Which campaign or project is Mike proudest of?
  • What are his views on the Twitter / X rebranding?

Mike ends off with a frank discussion about what it takes to get the desired result with campaigns. He’s passionate about what he does and it comes through in everything discussed on this podcast.

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.

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