Generating lasting wealth: Creative genius Pepe Marais is no ordinary Joe
SUNDAY WORLD / 04 MARCH 2021 - .14.56 / KABELO KHUMALO
Johannesburg – Pepe Marais is no ordinary Joe, lest you’re fooled by the company he has built into one of the most formidable integrated and communications group – Joe Republic.
The Cape Town-born Marais has come a long way since the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey as a newspaper delivery boy. The business mogul credits his success to 20 habits, a journey that has resulted in a book: Growing Greatness: 20 Habits that break habits.
Growing Greatness book
“Through my teetotalling years, I have increasingly experienced a significant improvement in my critical thinking, my creativity, my energy and my drive … my liberating water drinking has played its part in our business going into flow, it has contributed to our high-performance culture,” Marais reflects on his alcohol-free journey since 2007.
The success and transformation of Joe Public talks to the creativity and energy the group is known for.
“In 2009, a few months after buying Joe Public back from the US-based shareholder, who back then owned 100% equity, the company hit a massive brick wall amidst the second worst recession in our living history – the worst being the challenge the world is facing today.
“But somehow, in a pitch against Ogilvy, Joe Public managed to win a piece of US-funded business, enabling us to create and launch the Brothers for Life brand.
“This period of the company’s journey led it to unearth the true purpose of Joe Public, beyond profit.”
Marais said he was mostly proud of the transformation journey the business had undertaken under his tenure. Sixty percent of the company is in black hands – making it the largest majority black-owned, independent agency group in South Africa.
“It took us two years to find the right partners to help us finance this transformation deal and in February 2020, Joe Public United became the largest majority black-owned proudly South African communication group, with 60% black ownership and 40% of the company remaining in the hands of the founding shareholders,” said Marais.
He confesses that his success through the years has brought him untold wealth and comfort, not that he makes a fuss about it.
“The only way to create new wealth [for everyone] is to create more value. All you need to do is to make value. Instead of waking up and thinking you must make money, you should appreciate that money is the by-product of value.”
Marais determination to inspire people to change bad habits is best captured in the preface of his latest book.
“And if ever there was a reason for exchanging limiting habits for liberating ones, it would be for the sake of hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their lives throughout this spell, who will not be as fortunate as we are to lay eyes on a new world post Covid-19 crisis.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER