25 September 2015

Kim Browne

Loving our heritage

On Heritage Day, I happened to find myself interviewing a candidate for a design job at The Toast. We don’t know each other at all and in trying to explain a little about who we are and what we do, I found myself talking about our heritage. I was struck by how much we are influenced by our publishing experience, and how perfectly those many years spent in the magazine world, shaped us to be able to deliver hybrid marketing services to our clients today.

One of our USPs is fast-turnaround. Without weekly magazine publishing experience, we would not be able to deliver on this. Not everything needs to be an epic undertaking and if a prototype exists, it’s easy to build on. Take the recent story of a series of high-end brochures. After a number of  legitimate hold-ups, it took almost a year to finally get a beautiful bespoke company brochure completed and printed, but then, this month, in just two weeks we produced another three completely new brochures for the same client for an important event. At the same time, we were designing a 170-page catalogue for another client, which needed to go to print at the same time!

Feeling a little nostalgic, I reminisced on the customs we have developed at The Toast over the last four-and-a-half years. As we grow and get busier, we’ve outgrown phases such as brewing our own beer and braai days have naturally morphed into Nando’s Fridays. We like to bang the gong and drink champagne when we sign a new client and we all have a serious addiction to good coffee and Woolies sweets.

Talking about Woolies, we have the best one in the country on our doorstep, so after the interview I popped up to get supplies for a family braai. It was packed with amazing braai-centric goodies, but what really made me feel proudly Safrican was the beautiful heritage dress-up adopted by the staff. They were encouraged to wear their own traditional African dress by management and the effect was electrifying. It felt authentic and real – a happy place to shop!

Another aspect of our heritage is the long-standing relationships we’ve built over the years. Printers? We know the best ones in town. Branding material? We’ve been using the same guys for 10 years plus. Freelancers? We have an excellent pool of highly-skilled people we can call on. IT? We have a 20-year history. Eventing? We’ve thrown some legendary parties. PR? We know just who to call.

A successful business is just like with a braai. You have to have the right tools, take the time to build a fire and let it reach the perfect temperature, so as not to burn the food. The accompanying side-show of salads and refreshments need to be tailored to your specific tastes and it’s also best enjoyed with the right mix of family and friends who you like to spend time with.

As they say in a classic ad jingle. Braaivleis, Rugby, sunny skies…  ☺