CLIENT 251 Communications
SECTOR Marketing
PROJECT NAMEProject Re-set
PROJECT DATESSeptember 2023


The marketing sector in Ethiopia has been gradually developing, driven by the country’s economic growth and increasing urbanization. Ethiopia is experiencing rapid changes in consumer behavior due to factors such as urbanization, increasing disposable income, and technological advancements, which are all influencing the marketing landscape.

Some key points about the marketing sector in Ethiopia include:

Growing Economy: Ethiopia has been one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with significant infrastructure developments and foreign investments in various sectors. This growth has led to an expanding consumer market, which in turn has fueled demand for marketing services.

Urbanization and Changing Consumer Behavior: Urbanization in Ethiopia has been on the rise, leading to changes in consumer behavior and preferences. This shift necessitates tailored marketing strategies to effectively target and engage urban consumers.

Digital Transformation: Like many other countries, Ethiopia is experiencing a digital transformation. With increasing internet penetration and smartphone adoption, digital marketing channels are becoming more important for reaching consumers. Social media platforms and digital advertising are gaining traction among businesses as effective marketing tools.

Challenges: Despite the growth opportunities, the marketing sector in Ethiopia faces various challenges, including infrastructural limitations, regulatory hurdles, and a relatively nascent advertising industry compared to more developed markets.

As for the number of marketing agencies in Ethiopia, it’s challenging to provide an exact figure due to the dynamic nature of the industry and the lack of readily available data. However, there are several local and international marketing agencies operating in Ethiopia, offering a range of services including advertising, branding, market research, digital marketing, and public relations. These agencies cater to diverse clients across various industries, including FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods), telecommunications, finance, and retail. The exact number of agencies may vary over time due to factors such as market dynamics, industry consolidation, and new entrants.

Our Client 251 Communications was one of the pioneer marketing agencies in Ethiopia initially with a focus in PR but widened their scope to accommodate the growing needs in Above the Line, Below the Line and Digital Marketing with a supporting production line. The agency however noted the need to amplify their voice in the sector and refine their strategy in order to regain their positioning in the industry given the space has new players slowly changing the nascent space.


251 Communications, once a prominent player in the marketing agency sector in Ethiopia, is experiencing a decline in its market presence and influence. The agency’s failure to adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape of the industry has resulted in a loss of its once-strong voice. Despite previous success, 251 Communications is now struggling to compete effectively against a growing number of dynamic and innovative agencies in Ethiopia.

The need for a comprehensive review of 251 Communications’ business strategy and organizational culture became evident. The agency’s inability to keep pace with the advancements in the sector hindered its ability to capture new clients, retain existing ones, and deliver cutting-edge solutions that meet the evolving needs of the market.

Lead Consultant: Michelle Wanja – Agency Commercial Strategy & Operations
Support: Helen Solomon Abebe – People & Capacity
Support: Amity Weiss – Culture


We took a comprehensive and structured approach to reviewing and revitalizing 251 Communications’ business strategy. Here’s a summary of the steps taken:

Baseline Assessment: Starting with a baseline assessment helped in understanding the current situation and identifying the specific needs and challenges faced by the agency. This provided a foundation for further analysis and strategic planning.

Review of Existing Systems and Documents: A thorough review of existing systems, templates and documents allowed for an evaluation of the agency’s internal processes, resources, and capabilities. This step helped in identifying areas of improvement and optimization.

Engagement with C-Suite Team: Engaging with the C-suite team to understand their vision was crucial for aligning strategic objectives and gaining leadership buy-in. This ensured that the proposed changes and recommendations would be in line with the overarching goals and direction set by the top management.

Business Review: Crafting a business review helped in rethinking the agency’s revenue generation strategies and aligning them with industry standards. This involved analyzing market trends, competitor strategies & rates, and identifying opportunities for growth and differentiation.

Capacity Review Project: Conducting a capacity review project focused on evaluating the team’s strengths, restructuring roles, and defining key performance indicators (KPIs) for the new direction. This step aimed to optimize team efficiency and effectiveness in line with the agency’s strategic objectives.

Development of New Workflow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): Creating a new workflow SOP aimed at reducing friction in cross-functional teams and enhancing collaboration. This would streamline briefing processes, review processes, improve communication, and foster a more cohesive working environment.

Redefining Values and Commitment: Rethinking the agency’s values and committing to abide by them moving forward was a critical step in reinforcing organizational culture and guiding decision-making. This ensures that the agency’s actions and behaviors align with its core principles and objectives.

Overall, this systematic approach addressed various aspects of the agency’s operations, culture, and strategic direction. By implementing these initiatives, 251 Communications is likely better positioned to adapt to industry changes, drive revenue growth, and regain its competitive edge in the market.


We had 100% staff participation in the process and acceptance of roles & KPIs
We had 100% adaptation of new workflows & processes.
At present a 6 month review is upcoming to review revenue growth, client retention rate, pitch success rate, work flow efficiency and employee satisfaction since the implementation of the strategy.


Change management is a journey that cannot be accomplished in a week.

Communication is Paramount: Effective communication is essential throughout the change management process. It’s vital to communicate the reasons behind the change, the expected outcomes, and how it will impact employees and stakeholders. Transparent and consistent communication helps in reducing resistance to change, building trust, and gaining buy-in from all stakeholders. It’s important to listen to concerns and feedback from employees and address them promptly to foster a supportive environment for change.

Leadership Commitment and Involvement: Leadership commitment and involvement are critical for the success of change initiatives. Leaders must accept to be uncomfortable, actively champion the change, lead by example, and demonstrate their commitment to its success. Their visible support and involvement inspire confidence among employees and motivate them to embrace the change. Additionally, leaders should empower employees to participate in the change process, involve them in decision-making, and provide the necessary resources and support to facilitate the transition. The must also be ready to engage in tough conversations & decisions to align to the needs of the organization.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Change management requires flexibility and adaptability to navigate unforeseen challenges and setbacks. Not all change initiatives will go as planned, and it’s essential to be prepared to adjust strategies and approaches as needed. Organizations should embrace a flexible mindset, encourage experimentation, and learn from both successes and failures. It’s also crucial to celebrate milestones and successes along the way to maintain morale and momentum throughout the change journey.