Johanna McDowell, Managing Director – Independent Agency Search & Selection (IAS)
Currently the Managing Director of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), and with a background that includes being on both the agency and the client side of the fence, Johanna McDowell is well placed to offer commentary on marketing and advertising in both the South African and international contexts. McDowell has built her career in marketing and advertising since 1974, holding directorship in both South Africa and British advertising agencies until she was appointed Managing Director of Grey Phillips Advertising in 1988.
An “entrepreneurial heart in a power suit”, McDowell understands the industry from the inside: She built Integrated Communications, a public relations-driven marketing communications company that went from zero base in 1991 to an R 8 million fee turnover by December 2004. After graduating in marketing and business studies, her experience had spanned large corporates including banking, manufacturing and retail both in UK and South Africa, along with a 15-year stint in two of the largest advertising agencies in South Africa and in a medium sized agency in the UK.
Widely published and quoted in local media, McDowell regularly gives expert media advice on topics such as:
- B2B communications
- ROI in Marketing
- Managing and strengthening client/agency relationships for long-term success
- The importance of ethics
- McDowell advises and works alongside clients and procurement professionals on agency selection, agency pitching, relationship appraisal, commercial evaluation and benchmarking projects.
Her company, the IAS, is a leading intermediary consultancy that specialises in and focuses on optimal marketer-agency relationships. Twice a year she attends Ad Forum Summits as an international consultant which helps her lead the South African advertising industry and keep in line with international trends and remain competitive.