Renowned brand strategist and marketing whizz Sylvester Chauke. Image: Supplied.
JOHANNESBURG - Renowned  brand strategist and marketing whizz Sylvester Chauke is working on having his company achieve a global footprint and stresses that it’s upon young entrepreneurs to build a better future for themselves.

Chauke, who serves as chief architect of his marketing and brand communications agency DNA Brand Architects, which he established in February 2012, says he is also excited to form part of the judging panel for the 2017/2018 South African Premier Business Awards (Sapba).

The awards ceremony, an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African, would be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg this week.

Chauke, who was named as young entrepreneur of the year during the Sabpa awards in 2015, says he is honoured to be chosen as a judge for the awards ceremony.

“It is an honour to be able to contribute to the selection of the cream of the crop in business today. I understand the effort it takes to participate and I also get great joy from awarding and celebrating the great businesses around us,” he says.

The Soweto-born entrepreneur's hard work and determination catapulted him to industry stardom as the guy behind the controversial and quirky Nando’s adverts created between 2008 and 2009.

Chauke says he has won over 28 sought-after national and international awards but singles out the Sabpa one as “very special” to him.

The awards include the World Confederation of Businesses-Inspirational Company, Golden European Award for Quality and Commercial Prestige, BBQ Awards-Young Leader of the Year, National Small Business Chamber-National Entrepreneur Champion, European Business Assembly’s Best Enterprise Award, with the latest being the CNBC All Africa Young Business Leader of the Year in November last year.

“We’ve won a couple of awards in Africa, Europe, Dubai, Berlin in Germany, and in the US,” he says, adding: “I look at them quite often. It’s more about the encouragement they represent than the awards themselves. They say perhaps we are on the right track, perhaps we are doing the right thing. They are very encouraging.” 

He describes running his company as a phenomenal journey, saying he is already expanding its footprint in African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda. He also revealed that DNA Brand Architects would also be opening its Cape Town office in the next three months.

“We also plan to expand globally because we have a few clients who are global,” says Chauke, who has travelled to all the continents except Antarctica, and likes bonding with his team.

“It’s most amazing when I travel with the team. It’s incredible to see the world together - with a business eye. Look, travelling also says possibilities because you think with a global mindset when solving your problems,” he says.

Today he employs over 30 great minds, stressing: “I also wanted to contribute to the narrative of a South African and African approach to brand communication and build a team of new thinkers in this space. As entrepreneurs we have a lot to do to stimulate and grow our economy and it is awesome that we are seeing young entrepreneurs starting and growing their businesses. Every employment opportunity we create as we grow our businesses is a much-needed contribution to our economy.”

He is optimistic that South Africa - Africa’s largest and most industrialised economy - is currently in an “incredible space”, stressing that it’s up to young entrepreneurs to “truly build a better environment for ourselves, in a stable and thriving economy”.

Chauke is not shy to call out the government, saying it has an important role to play to stimulate the growth of young entrepreneurs in the county.

“An opportunity that I see is for government to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This includes infrastructure that works, uninterrupted services like water, electricity, traffic lights, telecommunication lines that function, and airlines that are competitive. More can be done to allow more job creation and participation to take place. Moreover, entrepreneurship should become a school subject so that young people can engage with the matter early on in their development,” says Chauke.