'Turning change into opportunity' with Otsile Matlou, ENS

Africa Legal Podcast

19-09-2023 • 26 mins

In this podcast, Otsile Matlou chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the brand refresh at ENS, an African law firm that operates across the eastern, western and southern regions of Africa. To keep ahead of the changes and developments that are sweeping across the world, ENS (previously ENSafrica) is going through a brand refresh. Otsile Matlou, Chief Operating Officer at ENS, explains that their new positioning was spurred by the changes brought on by geopolitics as well as technology. The purpose, Matlou says, is to turn change into opportunity. “We went down a sort of strategic discussion that landed our firm with a new purpose, and it is out of that purpose that we ended up with this brand refresh.” Part of the brand refresh includes dropping the word “Africa” after the ENS acronym. “In 2012, the brand strategy of the firm supported the business strategy which was to ‘continentalise’ our practice. We don't feel that the brand name needs to continue to support the business strategy. We think the brand name needs to support the firm's new purpose, and so the brand name shifts from aligning with the business strategy to linking closely with where the firm is going as a purpose-led organisation. We do, however, maintain our business strategy completely focused on the African continent.” Other features of the brand refresh include embedding technology as a legal service. This will allow leading clients to use active dashboards that showcase the financial aspects of their relationship with the firm, and is one way of moving from a traditional client–attorney relationship to a closer partnership where there's a line of sight on both sides – and predictability. “Our clients can expect a partner firm that is going to infuse our expertise, our skill sets, technology and a bit of social conscience to make sure that we can deliver good products,” says Matlou. He adds that the best way of making sure that lawyers at a large entrepreneurial firm like ENS adopt technology is not just to present the prowess of technology, but also the ease of client service benefits they can get out of it. Matlou emphasises that the success of their firm is dependent on its people who are considered brand or purpose ambassadors. “We believe that our purpose is nimble and dynamic enough to accommodate our diversity. Our brand is designed around this and therefore part of what we are going to do as we roll out the brand refresh, is embedding the firm's values across our business to ensure that there's alignment between the purpose of the organisation, what the brand stands for, and the set of behaviours that people embody on a daily basis to live up to the purpose.”

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