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IMA continues global expansion in South Africa

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Leeds-based Intermarketing (IMA) is joining forces with Cape Town-based Elevator Agency, which will rebrand to IMA South Africa later this month.

Elevator will join the IMA Global Network, which is headquartered in Leeds and has offices in London, Manchester, New York, Amsterdam, Munich and Sydney. IMA forms part of its broader Smollan Group family through the joint venture in Europe, Advantage Smollan.

Elevator Agency was acquired by the Smollan Group in 2017 and will keep the same local leadership team.

“We have admired the Elevator business in South Africa for a number of years and have been in conversation with them for a while about how we can support the rebranding of Elevator into IMA is a part of our collective growth ambitions,” said Steve Sowden, chief operations officer at IMA Global. “This transformation feels like a natural next step in the evolution of both our businesses and will support the opening of our new and untapped markets to support our clients wherever and whenever they need us to be.”

Elevator’s managing partner Katherine Freemantle said that the partnership is an amazing opportunity for her team and for the agency. “It opens the agency’s exposure to new and exciting global clients, and mentorship opportunities from the IMA network.”

She added that the agencies’ synergy in positioning, values and vision is uncanny. “We, much like IMA, focus on creative solutions around a brand’s objectives and its consumers, and not around a specific channel. As businesses, we have been compatible from day one and the rebrand affords an amazing opportunity for expansion for both brands.

“We also saw that the transition would allow us to really sharpen our key focus areas in terms of skills, insights and capabilities, and truly tap into IMA’s ethos of thinking ‘longer, not just bigger’ to ensure that we execute sustainable ideas that don’t just last – they live.”

Catherine Mavrocoleas, Elevator’s managing partner, said: “Being part of a global network means we can leverage IMA’s vast global knowledge, experience and skills in retail, content, digital and experiential and we will utilise those global learnings and innovations for our existing and new clients.”

She added that while IMA brings global knowledge and innovations to the table, Elevator has the local creative capabilities, coupled with an agile and effective way of working and Smollan has the retail execution skills. “Together we feel we can provide the South African market with a truly end-to-end service that no other agency can.”