Never ignore the elephant in the room.

2016: DevCom

Don’t think of an elephant. Don’t picture one in your head. Don’t visualise one. Put all your focus on not acknowledging the elephant in your head. Stop seeing the elephant!

Impossible, isn’t it? DevCom is an expert in dealing with organisations’ elephants: the issues that people see, but shy away from. We identify them, reduce them to bite-size chunks and create tools to confront their intrinsic challenges, head on.

Ready to expand, we developed a direct customer relations communication campaign aimed at growing our business. We wanted a creative concept that would cut through the clutter and showcase us as the award-winning strategic communication experts that we are internationally recognised to be.

Our implementation

Our first goal was to close new business with two clients not in our current network, and to generate awareness among potential customers of our service and brand. Our second was to add 10% growth to our annual revenue, and our third was to mitigate risk by not having one client account for more than 33% of our revenue.

With the ‘Elephant in the Room’ Campaign of 2016, we targeted qualified prospects with specific messages explaining DevCom’s value proposition of social and business impact via strategic communication.

The goals and objectives of the campaign were to convince clients that DevCom was a sought-after specialist in using strategic communication – spanning stakeholder engagement, business management, and communication measurement – to improve business performance.


Using an elephant doorstop, we provided leaders with a visual reminder to stop turning a blind eye to uncomfortable business issues – including measurable business and social impact, positive return on investment figures, measurable employee engagement, measurable communication results, or maximising profits.

The package needed to grab attention, and the elephant doorstop started the process.
We then had to prove our ability as communicators; to demonstrate that what we sell are results, not strategies, so we included our profile, a campaign brochure and our The DevCom Way book to reflect the substance of our work. The ultimate goal was to secure a meeting, to begin the relationship and sales process.

Our campaign messages were carefully targeted to specific types of executives. We crafted messages for chief operations officers, chief executive officers, financial directors, human resource directors, marketing and communication directors, and strategy or innovation directors. The messages were illustrated and fun, and were given substance by case studies that illuminated strategic communication’s role in general business improvement; HR issues such as absenteeism; stakeholder management; improved productivity; improved business sales and financials; etc.


We incorporated testing into this direct sales campaign, by inviting a sample group of existing clients to a breakfast focus group session.

Their feedback helped us to refine our messages, confirm our choice of gift, and access valuable information on the appropriate amount we could spend.

The focus group further convinced us to roll out the campaign not only to prospective clients, but also to existing clients – as a reminder of the full spectrum of our expertise, experience, skills, capacity, and services. This led to double the amount of sales in our existing customer base, in addition to new sales.

Our impact

DevCom managed to identify 50 companies in manufacturing, automotive, pharmaceuticals and incubation. With the entire DevCom team serving as a guiding force in supporting the campaign’s aims and objectives, we also used both print and online platforms.

By the end of the campaign, we had successfully reached 150 key decision-makers. It resulted in 100% awareness with all the participants, 38% conversion into meetings, and closing three new accounts to the value of R6 million. We also upsold in existing accounts to the value of R23 million in an 18-month period, allowing us to double the turnover of our business during this time.