DNA Brand Architects founder Sylvester Chauke has helped shape some of the biggest brands in the country. During his time at agencies like Ogilvy and DDB, he worked on large accounts like DStv and Coca-Cola. He then moved on to Nando’s, where he was head of marketing as the company exploded on the global scene.
Six years ago he decided to set up his own shop, and in a short time DNA earned an impressive client base including Vodacom, Pernod Ricard, SABMiller. Boardmans and Steers.
From the start, he was very clear on what he wanted from the working environment of the agency. He wanted to establish a place that would allow staff to bring "their inner and truest self to work with no reservations".
"This is the only way one can truly create work that is inspired and completely re-imagined," he says.
Chauke's has a young team, mostly millennials. This was a strategic decision. "The audience that most brands are after today is this very important demographic, so a greater understanding of them cannot be read in book, it has to be lived.
"It is important for the company to align itself with a group of individuals who capture the essence of DNA. Young, black and talented thinkers."
DNA Brand Architects' motto is: People, Product and Profit, in that order. "If you take care of your people, they will inevitably create great products that will translate to great profits."
Chauke aims to maintain a high level of energy in his office, as he believes this results in fast and innovative solutions for his clients. "Very often our energy is palpable as you walk into our environment and that cannot be re-enacted, it has to be authentic."
To bolster energy and help morale in the office, he started coordinating regular dance routines among his staff. It was a natural inclination for him. He started dancing at the age of 10 and seriously considered it as a career at one stage.
He believes it has helped his team to work more closely together and learn from each other.
"We have some natural dancers in the team and it is always such a pleasure to weave the choreography together for a fun routine to re-energise us," says Chauke.