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Global auto giant Volkswagen has indicated that it sees growing consumer potential in East Africa with the announcement last week of an assembly facility in Kenya that will produce the Polo Vivo small passenger car. When it begins operating in late 2016, it will be the company’s third plant on the continent, as it already has facilities in South Africa and Nigeria. Reuters noted that VW is “looking to sell more vehicles across the East African region” and pointed out that the German company is no stranger to emerging markets. It had, for example, had great success with the Beetle model in Mexico, the news agency reported. Kenya's car market is dominated by imported second-hand models from countries such as Japan, although there is some local assembly of vehicles by various brands. “We believe that Kenya has got the potential to develop a very big fully-fledged automotive industry. The East African Community has got the potential and today is the first step in this direction that we want to take with our passenger cars,” VW’s Thomas Schafer said at the signing of an agreement between the parties involved. “We are taking the successful Polo Vivo from South Africa to Kenya to leverage the enormous growth potential of the African automobile market and participate in its positive development. This compact model is the best-selling car in the sub-Saharan region – so it is the ideal entry model for the promising Kenyan market,” Schäfer commented The Nairobi ceremony was attended by, among others, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who said the company’s decision return to the country after 39 years was proof that the government’s initiatives to improve the economy had borne fruit.
Monday, 12 September 2016 08:52

Growth of free Wi-Fi a boon for marketers

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With marketers increasingly turning to digital strategies to engage consumers, the roll-out of free public Wi-Fi networks in cities such as Tshwane is ever more important. Called TshweeFee or TshWi-Fi, it’s claimed to be the largest free public Wi-Fi network on the African continent and offers each user 500MB of data daily across more than 780 free Internet zones – including open public spaces, tourist attractions, educational institutions, schools, clinics and libraries. The service is provided by the City of Tshwane, with branding and promotion being handling by marketing consultancy Retrolex. According to an article published earlier this year by the technology-focused website ‘Memeburn’, young social entrepreneur Martin Nyokolodi is one of those who has taken advantage of the Tshwani service to create an Internet radio station called ‘ZAsong’. “Using Tshwane Free Wi-Fi, he is able to run his online streaming radio station, which broadcasts for two hours a day. Martin interacts with his listeners by utilising social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to promote his radio station,” ‘Memeburn’ says. Cape Town is another metropolitan area where free Wi-Fi is increasingly being made available to residents and visitors. In a 2014 article, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO of the Cape Town Partnership – a body that promotes economic and social development in the central city – noted: “From a business perspective, if I think how we are increasingly moving from an economy of physical goods to a knowledge-based economy, to me the availability of high-speed free Wi-Fi is as important as the road network.” Other entrepreneurs are seeing business opportunity in the Wi-Fi space. Johannesburg-based View4Mahala, for example, aims to make free Wi-Fi available to consumers who are willing to view advertisements on the network. It calls its concept ‘ad-funded free Wi-Fi’.
Friday, 09 September 2016 08:41

Foschini creates online game to attract e-shoppers

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In a further indication of the growth of gamification as a marketing tool, South African retail giant, The Foschini Group (TFG) has been using an online game called Super Stan to help promote its ‘Shop Hop’ online sale taking place today (Friday). Inspired by Nintendo’s hugely popular Super Mario Bros. game, Super Stan was created to educate consumers about TFG’s so-called eMall, which gives shoppers access to 11 linked store brands within the group – among them Foschini For Beauty, Markham, Totalsports and Duesouth. “The aim of the game is to navigate Stan on a mission to grab as much merchandise from as many stores as he can,” TFG explains in a media statement. “Evil shopping trolleys have to be avoided and jumping the queue at the end completes the game. Super Stan is a cool and quirky reference to the benefits of online shopping, where customers can avoid crowds, trolleys, and queues.” As incentive to play, shoppers can win prizes ranging from tech to online gift vouchers upon completion of the game. According to a study of gamification in marketing carried out by the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ and due to be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine, the global gamification market is set to grow in value from US$1,65-billion in 2015 to US$11,1-billion by 2020. “The strong growth of social media, propelled by the increased use of sophisticated Web-connected mobile devices, is a primary driver of the gamification market as consumers are increasingly using social media networks to connect with brands,” the report says. “This encourages businesses to, in turn, use online marketing techniques such as gamification to engage with customers.” Play the Super Stan game here:
Thursday, 08 September 2016 08:36

Coffee shop chain plans African expansion

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Vida e Caffè, the South African-owned coffee shop chain, has announced that it is looking to increase its footprint in other parts of Africa and build on the outlets that it already has in Mauritius, Kenya, Ghana and Namibia. To date it has 17 stores in those countries, with four more planned by the end of 2016. Mauritius and Ghana are proving to be the regions with the best growth opportunities and the most popular non-SA store is in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis. Outlining the Vida vision for further African expansion, Business Development Manager for International and Corporate, Craig Gravett, says the brand has “noted some significant opportunities with partners in Africa that had originally been based in South Africa”. All rest-of-Africa stores are franchises with a joint venture partner or master franchisee. “Understanding that each country and culture is unique is imperative,” says Gravett. “As an example, while coffee is traditionally perceived as a morning thing, in Ghana it’s an evening pastime – with the majority of stores trading to 10pm-11pm.” Referring to the planned expansion into other parts of Africa by giant US-based coffee chain Starbucks, Gravett notes: “[It’s] no secret that our environment is hotting up. But we have been strategically planning ahead for several years and our hard work is really coming to fruition. We have the first-mover advantage in a number of new business development areas.” In June, Starbucks’ founder Howard Schultz predicted the brand would move into other parts of the continent following its successful launch in South Africa in April. “I think Nigeria will be at some point an interesting opportunity for us … “I look at the opportunity here [in Africa], which is really unexploited, to significantly add to the revenue and gross margin of the company.”
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 09:36

A measurement evolution for out-of-home ads

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Lack of credible audience measurement data has long bedevilled the South African out-of-home media industry. Now a new high-tech system could help grow its share of adspend. This is according to the August-September 2016 issue of the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’, the magazine of the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM). Unlike print, television and digital publishing, the out-of-home sector has long struggled to provide marketers and their agencies with quantifiable data on impact, reach and other key metrics. Recently the Out of Home Measurement Council unveiled a measurement model which, it says, will change all that. The council is an industry body launched by key players JCDecaux (formerly Continental Outdoor), Primedia Outdoor, Outdoor Network and AdOutpost. The model is called ROAD (for Roadside Outdoor Audience Data) and aims to put out-of-home on an equal footing with other forms of media when it comes to audience metrics. The methodology was designed by specialist Spanish-based research company Cuende Infometrics. “For every billboard and campaign, users will know audience metrics, profiles and demographics. So they can analyse reach, frequency, duplication, impacts and cost-per-thousand,” says company founder Daniel Cuende. “Our research covers all OOH formats that can be geo-positioned on a digital map – including billboards, bus shelters, taxi ranks and urban furniture.” The system uses satellite data to provide real-time information on human movement patterns around outdoor advertising sites. Interestingly, the model does not necessarily equate passing traffic with advertising contact; instead, it factors in ‘zones of visibility’ and takes account of obstructions, orientation, size of the outdoor advertisement, and even other points of interest in the area. This data is combined with localised research data that was compiled during a 12-month survey involving more than 15 000 adults. The survey is to be conducted annually in future.
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 09:41

Uber brand extension has lift-off in Kenya

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Uber, the ride-hailing taxi app that has become a major market innovator and disruptor in various parts of Africa, has now taken its brand extension strategy a step further and is offering helicopter ‘taxi’ services in the Kenyan centres of Nairobi and Mombasa. Known as UberChopper, it is already available in the South African city of Cape Town as well as international destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Melbourne and Hong Kong. In Kenya the service is being marketed as a way to transport business clients and busy executives between destinations without having to deal with traffic congestion. It is offered in partnership with Corporate Helicopters, a well-established Nairobi-based charter service. The Kenyan launch took place on Sunday (September 4), with local media reporting that the launch strategy involved the use of celebrities such as Tima Keilah, the current Miss Global Kenya, TV celebrity chef, Chef Ali, and Mombasa-based deejay, DJ Lenium. There was also a social media competition in which members of the public could win helicopter flips. While Uber is best-known as a ride-hailing taxi app for the general public, it already operates a number of brand extensions apart from UberChopper. There is an UberBike service in the Dutch city of Amsterdam, for example, and UberSki in the US snow resort town of Lake Tahoe. In a recent interview with ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), General Manager for Uber in sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits, noted: “We use a non-conventional approach to marketing and find this to be most effective. On-demand services such as UberYacht and UberChopper – products that enable customers to use the app to order yachts and helicopters – create a buzz around the brand, as do frequent strategic partnerships with other businesses.”
Despite the lack of a doughnut-eating culture in South Africa, the Krispy Kreme chain is already selling 600 000 doughnuts a month in the country through its four Gauteng outlets – a figure that will increase markedly over time as the brand aims to open 35 outlets nationally within five years. According to Nick Eleftheriadis, Executive Director: Marketing with responsibility for Krispy Kreme in South Africa, more outlets are being rolled out in Gauteng in 2016 (the Sandton City store opens this week), with KwaZulu-Natal beginning its roll out next year and the Western Cape in 2018. He was speaking to an audience of professional marketers, students and alumni at an Institute of Marketing Management (IMM) event in Sandton last week. The gathering – held at Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville – was the first of a series of new-look networking and information events being arranged by the IMM. Eleftheriadis said the ethos of the Krispy Kreme brand was to bring emotion and joy to customers. “It’s not just about eating a doughnut: it’s about the whole experience,” he emphasised. Part of the marketing strategy is to promote the idea of ‘sharing’ – encouraging people to buy the product to share with family, friends and work colleagues. Therefore, customers are just as likely to purchase a dozen doughnuts as they are to buy a single one. In terms of customer experience, the brand concentrates on five factors: taste, touch, sight, sound and smell. “We drive it into our brand and to the people who look after our brand,” Eleftheriadis said. The event included entertainment by singer/musician Jacques Lagesse, an address by IMM Director, Helen McIntee, opportunities to sample the doughnuts, and a fun competition in which guests were asked to take selfies with Krispy Kreme products and tweet about the experience. The MC was acclaimed speaker Zipho Sikhakhane.