Bakwena, the concessionaire for the N1and N4 toll roads, has won an international road safety award for its marketing campaign in conjunction with Wheel Well, a non-profit organisation that aims to reduce child fatalities caused by car accidents. The UK-based Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards are presented to companies or organisations around the world in recognition of their contribution to improving road safety. The also recognise marketing achievement and innovation in the field. Peggie Mars, founder of Wheel Well, and Charmaine van Wyk, Public Relations Manager for Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire, received the award at a ceremony held at The Savoy, one of London’s most prestigious hotels, on 13 December. The ‘Car Seats for Kids’ campaign encourages parents to donate their used car seats to Wheel Well, which then restores them and verifies that they still meet safety standards. Thereafter, they are provided to less fortunate families for a nominal donation. Wheel Well is the only non-profit organisation to focus exclusively on road safety for children in South Africa. Its objective is to raise awareness, educate and affect changes, and promote the enforcement of legislation pertaining to the safety of children in and around vehicles. “This award will do wonders for the efforts of Wheel Well to raise awareness for child road safety,” says Mars. “The judges assessed the programme to be a significant contributor to child safety and one which could be replicated elsewhere. The award is a rare privilege for a South African road safety initiative,” adds Van Wyk, who explains that Bakwena’s support for the campaign arose from concern over the high rate of infant deaths from road accidents. According to the most recent Medical Research Council study, released in 2013, road accidents cause around one-third of non-natural, or injury-related deaths, among under-fives in South Africa.
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.Brand South Africa has welcomed the country's improved performance in the 2016 Anholt-GfK Nation Brand Index. SA went up by three places in the latest survey and now stands at 35 out of 50 nation brands. “South Africa’s improved performance can be attributed to improved perceptions of our governance, immigration and investment, and people. This speaks directly to the work we are doing as a country in implementing the National Development Plan and programmes like Invest South Africa,” Brand SA CEO Kingsley Makhubela says. “In addition, our Nation Brand continues to be admired for our unspoiled natural beauty, with 13 nations ranking South Africa in the top 25 countries being assessed. Moreover, we are recognised internationally for our efforts to preserve the environment. In this regard, South Africa moved up six places to stand at 29 of 50 nations. This resonates with the brand of the country as a good international citizen.” He continues: “We can say with confidence that our country is going in the right direction as a globally competitive Nation Brand.” The study ranks the US as the strongest global nation brand, followed by Germany, the UK, Canada, France and Italy. However, all of the Top Ten suffered falls in their global reputation this year – with eight of those being classed as ‘significant’ drops. Notes GfK senior executive, Vadim Volos: “How a nation is perceived is a function of both long-standing attributes (such as stereotypes of its people or region, and images of its natural and social environment) and short-term influences (such as positive or negative news coverage or dramatic events). Each nation has some ability to impact either of these areas, by promoting the nation’s key positive assets to drive up inbound tourism and investment.”
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016 08:55

KWV takes a Southern African gin to the British

It’s not quite selling snow to Eskimos, but South African liquor giant KWV is attempting something similar as it takes on the British market – the home of gin – with an African boutique gin brand. Cruxland Gin, a product that is infused with signature botanicals including Kalahari N’abbas, was launched this month in the UK and is being sold through major retail chains such as Morrisons, which has 400 outlets nationwide. N’abbas is a species of truffle indigenous to the Kalahari Desert and Namibia. They only grow for a short time after the first rains of the season and it is said that only a highly experienced ‘truffle hunter’ can find the right location to dig for them. “It is not something consumers will find in any other drink, anywhere in the world,” KWV claims in a media statement. The company adds that a product development team took three years to create the gin from botanicals typical to Southern Africa. This provides a distinctive point of appeal, notes Anneke Mackenzie, KWV’s Global Portfolio Manager for Spirits. “Experts say the gin revival has been sparked by unusual flavours and launches of small [product] batches, which are adding vitality to the category and the re-emergence of a cocktail culture.” Mackenzie claims Cruxland offers gin consumers something that is unique and, more importantly, something that has a ‘taste of origin’. “[In South Africa] the response has been phenomenal and we are happy to report that the introduction to the UK market is showing signs of equal interest.” The product was introduced to the UK liquor trade, media and other influencers through an event at the Whistling Stop, a trendy gin and cocktail bar in London.
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Despite experiencing an African summer Christmas, shoppers in South Africa still seem to prefer decorations in the country’s shopping malls to hark back to a cold and snowy European-style winter wonderland. An article published last week by the international news website, ‘Quartz Africa’, ponders the seasonal disparity between Northern and Southern Hemisphere Christmases and the vexing question for SA mall managers as to what constitutes appropriate festive season decorations – given that most customers would never have experienced snow, never mind sleigh bells and reindeer. “Even as the country’s consumer base has become more diverse and sophisticated, Western visions of Christmas still appear to be a huge draw to the country’s multitude of malls,” observes the publication. “For mall managers, this wholehearted embrace of ‘atmospherics’, or the Western-perfected practice of using decor, sound and smells to put people in the mood to shop, has taken on an even greater importance during an economic downturn that is seeing consumers adopt more measured, rather than merry, shopping habits.” Jan Griesel, co-owner of a specialist decorating business The Magic Christmas Co, says there has been a growing effort in the last 15 years to recognise local traditions. These range from using Ndebele tribal prints to replace ribbon, a giant baobab tree instead of a fir tree, and handmade wire reindeer, sheep, and cows. “What we’re trying to do is incorporate more local people to produce more local things, so we can put it together in one statement,” he tells ‘Quartz Africa’. But while some malls have tried to find a balance between African and Western traditions, it seems the white Christmas approach is here to say, the publication reports. Even though malls might be catering for more diverse communities, religions and races, “… there is an expectation for beautiful, traditional stuff,” Vanessa Fourie, Brand Manager at the new Mall of Africa, says.
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016 10:28

Chicken brand celebrates African milestone

.While new fast-food and quick-service restaurant brands continue to enter the market in sub-Saharan Africa, the long-established operators are not resting on their laurels. KFC, for example, has announced the opening of its 1 000th outlet in the SSA region. The new restaurant is located at the Lemo Mall in Bloemfontein and represents a major milestone for the company, which arrived in 1971 via an investment in a store in the Johannesburg suburb of Orange Grove. It now has a presence across 16 SSA countries – among them Swaziland, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana and Kenya. “We are thrilled to be celebrating this significant milestone, which emphasises our growth and expansion strategy in sub-Saharan Africa” says Doug Smart, Managing Director of KFC Africa. According to a media statement released by the company, a localisation strategy has been key to its success. In addition to the traditional global menu, KFC develops new menu options that appeal to local tastes by drawing inspiration from Africa’s diverse flavours. Over the last five years, for example, it has introduced products tailored to local markets which include jollof rice in Nigeria, morogo in Botswana and nshima in Zambia. Founded in 1940 in the US, KFC now has a presence in around125 countries and operates more than 20 000 outlets worldwide
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Wednesday, 07 December 2016 08:49

Foschini Group innovates in e-commerce space

Retail giant The Foschini Group (TFG) is trialling a ground-breaking new delivery service for its products being sold online. Called ‘Deliver 2 Me’, it uses a geolocation tracking system – similar to that used by smartphone tracking systems or the Uber taxi app – to enable customers to pinpoint exactly where they want their purchases to be delivered. The ‘Deliver 2 Me’ system sends an SMS to a customer when their online order is ready for delivery and the client then selects a ‘Deliver Now’ option that enables the order to be delivered to the customer’s location, typically within three hours. The location need not be the client’s home or work address, but can be wherever they happen to be located at the time. TFG is offering the service in conjunction with WumDrop, an app-based courier service that operates in much the same way as Uber. The service is currently being trialled in Cape Town, but will go live in other cities in South Africa in the early part of 2017. Traditional retailers like TFG are facing increased competition from online retailers in SA and are now moving rapidly to counter the growing threat. After a slow start, fashion retailing is one of the sectors that is moving increasingly online
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Marketers are in a race to better understand the customer through data and experiences on digital marketing channels. Once this deeper knowledge of consumers has been achieved, digital communication will be less noisy and more effective. This is the view of Zibusiso Mkhwanazi (33) – recently named by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and a founder of Avatar, a Johannesburg-based integrated marketing agency. In an interview published in the current issue of the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’, the magazine of the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM), he says this is especially true when it comes to understanding young black consumers. “Speaking to them in language they understand does not mean translating English into vernacular languages or tweeting in isiZulu. It means that the strategy and big idea should be thoroughly tested so that it resonates and creates truly meaningful experiences,” Mkhwanazi observes. Looking to the future, he predicts that technology will play an even bigger role in the communication mix. “This means that there will be a big technology skills requirement, even at CMO level on the client side. I don’t foresee the title of digital manager lasting very long because every brand manager will be just that, and more,” he says. Equally important in the industry is building agencies that transcend outmoded above-the-line and below-the-line thinking. The traditional demarcation between marketing’s lines of ‘above’ and ‘below’ are not relevant anymore, Mkhwanazi states. Born in Soweto and raised in a township on the East Rand, he is entrepreneurial at heart and co-founded a Web design company at the age of 17. After several career twists and turns, he and a partner started Avatar in 2012. The company now employs more than 60 people.
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In another indication of the efforts being made by South African banks to differentiate themselves using technology, Nedbank has introduced what it claims is the world’s second – and Africa’s first – interactive ATM machine. This transforms a conventional ATM into an interactive on-screen banking session with a human teller, who is situated in a remote location, at any time of the day or night. Customers can talk to the teller via a video link and do complex banking transactions at times when physical bank branches are closed for business. “It also enables branch staff, who we call service champions, to have a real-time view of client detail, and allows clients to experience a more personalised interaction when transacting at our self-service devices,” Nedbank says in a statement. “We are committed to providing clients with [innovations] that create safe, convenient and memorable client experiences. This cutting-edge device provides clients with an additional channel to engage a teller,” notes Brian Duguid, Managing Executive for Integrated Channels. The interactive ATM also has security features such as built-in ID and signature authentication. According to Duguid, in a world fuelled by constantly evolving technology it is important that the bank offer its clients a choice of channels most suited to their requirements. A recent study of social media-based customer sentiment around South Africa’s banks found that Capitec (just under 40%) carried the most positive sentiment, followed by Nedbank (also just under 40%). They are followed by Standard Bank (33%), FNB (25%) and Absa (24%). “Although positive sentiment surrounding other banks spiked in response to specific campaigns … Capitec retained a clear, consistent lead,” research company BrandsEye said.
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In yet another strategy to make the payment process easier for South African retail customers, McDonald’s and social communications app WeChat have joined forces to trial mobile payments at selected restaurant outlets in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Payment is being facilitated by a mobile option called Quick Pay which is claimed to be safe, quick and easy. The system allows customers to generate a WeChat QR code that can then be scanned at point of sale to register a payment. Quick Pay is part of the Mobile Wallet technology unveiled by WeChat in 2015. Like a physical wallet, customers can store their bank cards and make instant cash payments within WeChat. They can also make cash payments to certain merchants. “We are continuously searching for innovative ways to enhance our customer’s experience,” says McDonald’s Chief Marketing Officer, Daniel Padiachy. “We believe the partnership enables [us] to provide a modern solution to our customers.” Notes WeChat Africa CEO, Brett Loubser: “Although Quick Pay is innovative, it also offers customers a much faster and easier payment option to traditional payment.” According to research by the National Restaurant Association in the US, quick-service restaurants are more likely to implement high-technology payment solutions than formal sit-down outlets because the latter are driven by speed. This is why online ordering, smartphone apps and mobile payment are more of a focus for them in day-to-day business operations. The association says that technology can clearly help to boost productivity and efficiency in restaurant operations. But it also has to simplify, not complicate, the customer experience.
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016 07:38

Pick n Pay speeds up service at its tills

Retailer Pick n Pay has confirmed that it is launching a tap-and-go system at its stores in an effort to speed up the processing of customers and reduce queues at till points. The chain is apparently the first major South African retailer to introduce the system, although it is already popular in many other parts of the world. According to ‘Business Day’ newspaper, last year there were three-billion such transactions in Europe alone. Tap-and-go enables a customer to touch their credit card against a card reader and the transaction is then competed around 30% faster than a typical credit card transaction. Customers do not need to swipe the card, enter a pin or provide a signature. The system can be used for payments under R200. Pick n Pay Deputy CEO, Richard van Rensburg, says the system is easy to use. “You just tap or hover your credit card above the terminal, confirm the amount and the transaction is processed immediately,” he explains. “After a number of years of significant investment, our systems have reached a level of maturity where we are able to introduce an increasing array of innovations that make shopping at Pick n Pay cheaper and more convenient.” The retailer is in the midst of a turnaround strategy and has previously said that innovation and modernisation is critical to its success.
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