SA Home Loans/The Hardy Boys win FM AdFocus 2016 ‘Partnership of the Year’

Last night, the Financial Mail AdFocus Awards 2016 took place at Room Five in Rivonia. Amongst the various category winners, The Hardy Boys and SA Home Loans were awarded the ‘Partnership of the Year’; a category sponsored by marketing services consultancy, The Observatory International.

Other contenders for this award included FCB Johannesburg and Toyota, King James and Santam and M&C Saatchi Abel and Heineken.

The Hardy Boys/SA Home Loans relationship started back in April 2008. Commenting on the account gain the following year, strategist Adam McKeon at The Hardy Boys shared, “Initially we won the pitch because we proposed a cheeky, anti-bank stance to differentiate SA Home Loans from the banks, but through our engagement with SA Home Loans, we went deeper.”

The agency described how the client allowed them to challenge them, something that is evident in the consistent creative output of the brand. This rapport requires an element of trust, and great relationships or partnerships are built on trust.

John Little, Regional Managing Partner, Middle East and Africa of The Observatory International said, “Recognising and learning from great partnerships can be invaluable. In fact, there’s considerable empirical evidence that great partnerships lead to great work – usually award-winning work – that delivers superior business results and up to twelve times greater return on marketing investment.”

He continued, “We are delighted with this announcement. This partnership is a longstanding one, which has delivered excellent business results. Of particular note, however, is that the two organisations have worked hard to build and maintain a very special relationship.”

The Observatory International has become synonymous with search and selection, but over time, has built its model to include other relevant services, including compensation consulting, performance measurement and resource optimisation. Through these services, its team has been exposed to the secrets of client–agency relationship success across many and varied markets and reveals six pillars to build on including; choosing the right partner, aligning the teams, establishing business terms, measuring performance, uplifting skills and motivating ‘collaboration’.

A successful partnership in this industry is founded on ‘soft’ criteria such as shared values, similar ambition, ‘will to win’, work ethic and inter-personal trust and respect. There also needs to be common understanding of the goal both are striving for, an agreement on the ‘rules of engagement’, and creative evaluation criteria. These factors all contribute to solidifying a sustainable and rewarding relationship.

The Hardy Boys is a WPP agency that started in 1994. The agency describes itself as passionate problem solvers, who help clients create, refresh, re-position and build brands.