Extend your retail reach with Outdoor

Extend your retail reach with Outdoor

Innovative, practical and effective solutions to business approaches are essential elements in today’s retail environment. In November Shopping & Retail SA had the privilege to meet with a highly successful team in the outdoor advertising arena – and whilst sitting in the boardroom with this team the excitement and enthusiasm in the room was tangible. This is their story:

The innovative directors of SB Outdoor: brothers Daniel, Mendy and Chaim Sarchi

The primary key throughout outdoor retail advertising is: a) effective reach to the target demographic; and b) the ability to communicate effectively with your customer. Truly a science comprising many facets.” – Chaim Sarchi

Focused on one such communication field within the outdoor discipline is a family business which was established five years ago by three very dynamic and enthusiastic brothers. This company has grown rapidly from strength to strength and is now a respected and preferred supplier by media agencies in this segment, to some of the largest local and international brands.

We are of course speaking of SB Outdoor – fuelled, driven and enthused by brothers Mendy, Chaim and Daniel Sarchi.

[During our discussion it was absolutely enthralling to watch this team bounce the ball around the room, each picking up where the other left off – an amazing display of unity, ESP and like-thinking as I have never before experienced. What a cool and together young management team – Ed.]

Outdoor gives advertisers unprecedented control

over how and where their ad is seen

From humble beginnings

Back in 2012 on a visit to their alma mater in Johannesburg, Mendy & Chaim Sarchi noticed that the school sign was looking somewhat ropey. He and his brothers, who were all working at the time, undertook to have a new sign designed and manufactured.

And the rest is history…

The school sign was duly replaced and the resounding success of this first initiative was such that it spurred the trio on to explore other opportunities in outdoor advertising and communication. And so it began. Working from their kitchen at home these entrepreneurial brothers then actively sought out landlords, new shopping malls and retail property owners, offering a range of outdoor advertising options and innovative billboard solutions.

This range of solutions soon became the company’s main focus and hallmark, and was exactly what landlords, property owners and retailers alike were looking for – innovative ideas and professional service.

SB Outdoor honed in even more by concentrating specifically on billboards. And then the business really took off.

Mendy: Unlike TV, radio or print, outdoor is media that cannot be turned off or put down. Viewers cannot fast forward through an outdoor ad as it moves through their environment or they enter the viewing range of strategically placed displays – like billboards. With TV, radio, print and the Internet, consumers have the ability to change the channel, fast forward, turn the page (or miss the page) or close the browser window.

Outdoor is possibly the last place where consumers do not control the ad space. This gives advertisers unprecedented control over how and where an ad is seen. Outdoor is GIVING advertisers more control over their ad space through its unprecedented offering of different media options. This at a time when other ad media are offering advertisers less control.

The company’s first biggish contracts in smaller retail billboards were soon followed steadily by higher visibility billboards on highways and in retail parking areas. Bigger brands across a number of sectors came into the fold, including restaurants, food brands, fast foods, financial service providers, car brands, cell phone service providers and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

The first products developed by SB Outdoor were cable-frame signs, which require little or no capital. Production was, and still is, outsourced to appropriate professionals, whereas systems management and ad rotation sequences – the core of the business – are all managed in-house.

Mendy: We really got traction once one of the bigger property groups came in

with rotational contracts of three months and longer. It was at this point we decided we needed to focus on traditional formats of billboards and building wraps – from highway billboards to billboards in shopping centres. Once that focus happened, and it continues to date, we now continue to secure restaurants, fast food and FMCG clients.

Our Billboards and high impact Building Wraps offer supreme diffusion in a variety of markets and are perfect for both established and growing brands

Daniel: Retail parking areas are high spend environments. People are arriving at a shopping centre to purchase goods – from groceries to big-ticket items. Parking areas are close to where the buying power is – the point of purchase. They are the ideal point to communicate the retail offering of suppliers within and to generate direct income for both the retailers and the property owner.

By advertising within these retail property environs we’re able to give retail landlords what they were looking for, and their retail clients booking with us in turn find the concept very attractive and effective – directly due to the fact that that is where the consumer buying decision is made – right there.

We work very closely with the landlords and see our relationship as a partnership which is built on open and transparent communication, including joint review of monthly revenue reports – and we only take on opportunities that are likely to offer high returns for the landlords and not just sign up and have vacant sites.

SB Outdoor media solutions range from airport mediums through to highway billboards, large building wraps and our media packages. The most popular package the company has developed is a standard format 3×6 meter billboard for the retail sector. It’s versatile, is very easily rotated between locations, is relatively simple to install, and is easy to maintain.

Chaim: We pride ourselves in this 3×6 meter format package. Our focus on this is what has made us a leader in outdoor advertising. The package that we offer our clients, property owners and tenants alike, includes moving these around (rotation) from site to site at two week intervals at no extra charge – for example from Sandton to Pretoria, to the West Rand and the East Rand. This regular rotation almost guarantees the landlord or property owner a fixed income off this structure in their centre; and the retail advertiser enjoys the high visibility and extended reach achieved through frequent rotation without having a high volume of bookings ‘everywhere’.

The success and demand for the 3×6 also enables us to keep the boards let at a high rate.

Daniel: In this short time frame of a few years our client base has grown to include many landlords and property owners from large listed companies to medium-sized and smaller businesses. We are there to meet their needs, advise on their requirements and arrive at a correct solution.

Our solutions hit the spot for both parties, property owner and advertiser – adding value all the time. We make sure that eyeballs are seeing our billboards right outside the shopping centre, with reach, with rotation, and with relevance – in areas that suit the required demographic. Shopping centres see the value of having good brands out there all the time, which in turn brings them good value. We need to get the eyeballs to see these boards – so it’s about marrying the two together… we aim to meet the needs of the landlord and we discuss most strategic positioning – which is why they choose SB Outdoor.

Research shows that static billboards on – for example – a highway route are less effective after two weeks. Rotation every two weeks is most effective, whereas after two weeks the reach “flat-lines” and loses effectiveness.

Geographic footprint

Presently operational in Gauteng and Bloemfontein, SB Outdoor is poised to expand into all regions of South Africa. With initial focus on Cape Town and Durban the company plans to roll out this working model to large and small shopping centres in these regions.

We have a very active sales team,” says Mendy. “And in line with our standard approach of running a lean operation we will work with local professionals in these areas, including print, production, manufacture and site maintenance.”

Daniel on technology and operations:

We will definitely be investing in digital billboards in the immediate future and have already begun negotiations in this regard. There are pros and cons to this technology and we expect to digitalise a few existing sites initially. One advantage is that digital screens anywhere in the country will be managed directly from this office.

With our core staff of nine here in Johannesburg we manage all aspects of sales procurement, site management and accounts. We run a tight ship using a sophisticated, efficient and fully automated operations solution in the office – and we never drop a call.

SB Outdoor is a premier out-of-home advertising company, specialising in billboard and large format communication. The company operates out of well-appointed yet conservative offices in Melrose, Johannesburg.

SB Outdoor’s mission is to provide the most advantageous locations and outdoor solutions which provide the greatest value and return on the client’s advertising investment.

The company takes pride in providing an exemplary level of service by meeting the needs of its clients and providing the most pertinent outdoor communication packages to suit their brand communication requirements and to best complement their vision.

For an assessment to generate additional revenue on your property call SB Outdoor on 011 268 1211 or 083 387 2661

Woolworths Food tops in Ask Afrika Orange Index 2016/2017 Awards

Woolworths Food tops in Ask Afrika Orange Index 2016/2017 Awards

At the same time that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was issuing his bleak interim budget, the news was announced that South Africa’s private sector service delivery is at an all-time high.  

Ask Afrika Founder and CEO Andrea Gevers

Although the mood was celebratory at the opening of the 2017/2018 Ask Afrika Orange Index Awards, held at The Venue at Melrose Arch last Wednesday, CEO Andrea Gevers referred to the finance minister’s address with a warning for businesses not to rest on their laurels.

In his speech Gigaba quoted Ben Okri’s poem Poetic Flight which offers the final refrain “You can’t remake the world without remaking yourself” and issued a challenge for all South Africans to remake the world around us. Similarly, Gevers said, “If they want to reap a [healthy] harvest businesses need to remake themselves daily. Those businesses that we see here this evening are the ones that have succeeded in continuously remaking themselves.”

Out of the 32 industries surveyed 29 showed an increase and only three showed a drop. Service levels in South Africa are at their best ever.

The service sector is vital to the South African economy. It drives 60% of GDP, accounts for 63% of employment and of 74% of capital formation. When Ask Afrika started the Orange Index 16 years ago, South African businesses started at a low base, but have steadily climbed year on year. In the early stages of the benchmark, telecoms and banking were rated the highest, they are now at the bottom end of the ranking.

Ask Afrika team with the Orange Index Top 10 Winners

Meanwhile the automotive and food retail industries have maintained top ranking status consistently since 2012 and again held the top two positions, with food retail coming in ahead of the automotive industry for 2017/2018.

Service is a people business which makes it a moving target,” said Gevers. To be successful the sector needs to look at what is happening in society and to approach things from the consumers’ point of view.

We’ve seen that organisations that obsess about themselves or their immediate competitors, will only ever edge forward, they will never leapfrog. We’ve seen this in business and we’ve seen this in politics,” said Gevers.

The 2017/2016 Ask Afrika Orange Index overall winners

It’s not only the winners of the 2017 Ask Afrika Orange Index that had reason to kick up their heels, this year the entire customer services industry had reason to celebrate. This year’s Top 10 winners are:

  1. Woolworths Food

  2. Donna

  3. Cape Union Mart

  4. Miladys

  5. Audi

  6. Sportscene

  7. Burger King

  8. Roman’s Pizza

  9. McDonald’s

  10. Woolworths

Service levels are at their best ever…This is largely driven by technological advances and progress, with systems, and technological solutions and self-help channels and chat bots in place to deliver bigger, better, faster. This massive investment in systems and technology is paying off and ill place the next emphasis on HR and recruitment as the opportunity to differentiate. Brands have mastered systemic excellence, and speed and convenience, the next challenge will be relationships. Not only old people want relationships…everybody does, this is accentuated by technology, wants and needs…whilst the growing systemic success will also make us more demanding, more impatient and probably less equipped to deal with dissatisfaction – said Sarina de Beer, MD Ask Afrika

Technology is top of the trends

The success of customer services can largely be attributed to their investment in advancing technologies and systems. Self-help channels and bots are allowing businesses to deliver on time and more efficiently. But while services are improving there is also a slow shift towards declining emotional satisfaction and a loss of connectedness as a result.

Sarina de Beer, MD of Ask Afrika

With excellent ratings, amazing access to clients, Big Data, world-class systems, AI and chatbots we have the world at our finger tips,” said Ask Afrika Managing Director Sarina de Beer. “The question is ‘what now?’ What will we leverage, how will we integrate and use the current success to build the next tier of success? We need to optimise what we have, use it, go for gold, but find the opportunity to differentiate and be relevant to all our customers’ needs and expectations.

Relationship and connection is the new game, but this is significantly more tricky to conquer than systems and infrastructure. It is significantly more demanding on inter- and intra-personal skills and capabilities.”

Perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

The flipside of the convenience of technology is that consumers are developing an unrealistic expectation of personalised perfection that makes it difficult to deal with the inconsistencies of human behaviour.

The expectation is that every channel, be it Internet banking, online shopping or a company’s social-media platform, should be tailored to specific needs. They should be easy to navigate, be available 24/7 and any issues we have should be resolved swiftly.

As a result when consumers actually deal with a human contact centre, they expect short queues, validation, accurate knowledgeable information and quick resolution. Where self-help channels direct the interaction with a specific set of clear questions and comprehensive answers, human based responses can get messy. After all humans are subjective, frequently get things wrong and their responses can get cluttered.

Ironically, while consumers get the simplicity and clarity they desire from systems, they are becoming increasingly emotionally dissatisfied and lonely.

Comfortably numb behind our emoticons

It might be more comfortable for consumers to deal with bots and processes but it is resulting in disconnectedness and increasing emotional numbness. In a world where humans can rely on a preselected range of emoticons to hide behind online, and curate a personality and lifestyle for others to admire, emotional range is becoming stunted and artificial.

Emoticons are hollow,” said De Beer. “They represent a preselected range of emotions that are not owned by ourselves. We can respond to a statement with an emoticon but we don’t expect to actually have to deal with that emotion.”

If we look at service, reputation, effort, fairness, trust, loyalty and relationships, we see that 65% of consumers collectively state that their emotional experience was one of numbness. ATMs, SMS, and email channels (so non-people channels) do better. When they actually come into contact with a technician the lowest emotional satisfaction is experienced. So our expectations are misaligned.”

A quest for meaningfulness

The customer services industry is no longer about selling a product or service it’s about creating an experience, preferably one that stirs a positive emotion. Successful marketing messages are those that create desirable value statements. Medical aid is no longer just about covering medical costs, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. Cold drinks sell happiness and airlines sell dreams. Consumers no longer aspire to just owning a particular product they want that item to create meaning in their lives.

We want something to tweet about, we post we type we don’t talk, but we need something to share,” said De Beer.

An increasingly exclusive ‘shared economy’

When talking about a shared economy or collaborative non-ownership, we tend to think it’s something new, like Uber or Airbnb, but said De Beer the concept has been around for a very long time. Think stokvels or video shops or libraries. To be a member a person needs to fulfil certain criteria and follow certain rules. To be a member of a library for example, you need an ID and proof of residence, you need to take care of the books you borrow and return them on time.

The difference now is that access to shared economies is becoming a lot more exclusive. To use Uber, for example, you need access to the Internet, a smartphone and in some countries, a credit card.

Interestingly businesses like Uber and Airbnb are coming full circle in an effort to regain control over expectations, consistency and quality. Airbnb is buying apartment blocks and Uber is purchasing fleets.

Tech is the new LSD

Tech has become our LSD, we expect too much on our own terms and have an elevated need for experience,” said De Beer. “We expect more from tech and less from ourselves and our personal relationships.”

On the upside, tech has allowed people a voice and a sense of power parity. Platforms like social media support allow us to protest and people are using it to engage in narratives that increase their social capital.

Tech adapts to my likes on my terms,” said De Beer. “The question is how do you build a relationship without compromise? How do we deal with customer dissatisfaction when they can’t compromise?”

We attach to what we nurture

If we nurture tech that’s what we attach to,” said De Beer. And this disconnected approach is extending to caring. More and more we find that caring is being outsourced to professionals

Take a psychologist as an example. By outsourcing problems, a person gets a full hour to talk about themselves. The professional can offer some insight, but they can’t talk too much and they can’t judge.

What we really need is sociable robots that marry sociability with the convenience of having everything adapt to specific likes and needs. It’s all well and good, but De Beer asks, “Would you let your child have a close relationship with a robotic friend? How do we teach kids the soft skills? Societies fail when we can’t learn together and tech makes us unlearn.

This year we can celebrate lots of hard that has already happened to make this the best year ever for private sector service delivery, but there is still work that needs to be done to connect and build real relationships and real connections with customers.”

Ask Afrika Group is the largest independent South African market research company. The company focuses on local relevance, benchmarked against the global context, and is also a member of European, Market Research Organisation (ESOMAR). Apart from its South African footprint, Ask Afrika Group also operates in a dozen other African countries.  

Choppies: The Entrepreneurial Transition

Choppies: The Entrepreneurial Transition

Choppies commenced its operations with a single store under the name “Wayside Supermarket” in Botswana in 1986. Over the past 31 years, Choppies has grown as a home brand in Botswana and spread its wings into eight other African nations and has become a significant retailer represented in the sub-Saharan African market. Between 1986 and 1992 the group had a single store at Lobaste, Botswana and between 1992 and 1999, it added one more. Since 1999, the group embarked on a fully-fledged expansion drive taking its number of stores to 217 in the African region.

It became the first retail company listed on both Botswana Stock Exchange (2012) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (2014). At present, the Choppies group operates in eight Southern African countries: Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Namibia and continues its expansion into new, as well as under-serviced areas in the existing markets. The management of Choppies is supported by over 300 qualified professionals.

The African markets are growing steadily,” says Mr. Ram Ottapathu, CEO of Choppies Enterprises Limited. “Other countries (excluding Botswana) where we have operations give us the opportunity to grow into new markets, representing the second engine of growth for the Group. Today, we have over 133 stores outside Botswana, which contributed meaningfully to our profits.”

Market analysts support Mr Ram’s views. In its study on African markets, accounting consultancy firm PWC says that the sub-Saharan African market is remaining as the next ‘Big One’ and it believes that it will remain as it is in the next few decades. “The African economy is one among the few economies in the world with an annual GDP growth of more than 5%. It’s young and connected middle class is growing fast and is still deciding on its favourite brands,” the PWC report said.

In the past decade, many sub-Saharan Africa countries have emerged among the world’s fastest-growing economies. For example, in 2016, Namibia, Tanzania, and Mozambique grew at average annual rates of 6.1%, 6.69 %, and 6.3% respectively. Many African countries are moving towards better administration and deepening democracy. These developments, coupled with urbanisation and an increasing demand-oriented consumer class, have given the retailers a lot to be positive about.

The Choppies group, managed through its Botswana and the rest of Africa divisions, is a food and general merchandise retailer, selling a vast range of products at a great value. The group always puts customers at the heart of its business and always treat them with the utmost respect.

Through its Hyper Stores, Super Stores and Value Stores brands, Choppies serve customers across the diverse spectrum of Botswana society and is expanding its reach into the African continent. Over 50% of Botswana shop regularly in Choppies stores and the group has some of the most loyal customers in the country.

Today, the group operates 217 stores across Africa and employs over 16 000 people 7 000 in Botswana alone.

Choppies’ offer to customers mainly focuses on food and non-edible groceries, clothing, tobacco, beauty products and general merchandise. The offer also includes additional value added services such as financial transactions at the point of sales. In addition to manufacturer-branded products, we have a number of Choppies private label products to suit every budget.

Choppies stores range from large hypermarkets where customers can buy everything under one roof, through to small convenience stores where customers can shop quickly for their immediate needs. In addition, Choppies will be soon launching our online business which will give its customers the opportunity to shop from their homes and have their order delivered to their doors in a fixed time slots.

The group has developed Centralized Distribution Channels (CDC), in Botswana and South Africa and Zimbabwe with a strategic focus on accelerating the level of central supply in its business. At present, supply in Botswana is 60% centralized, while in South Africa and Zimbabwe it is 80%, 50% respectively. The Group aims to take this to new levels by the end of 2018 financial period. At present, Choppies operates five CDCs across the eight countries catering for groceries, fresh and perishable produce.

Choppies group has already been established as an economy retailer and it has a competitive advantage in pricing, distribution centre and store locations. The group achieves its low pricing strategy by having a smooth business cycle maintained by unbeatable distribution centre which supported by trucking network and excellent store locations.

It is estimated that each week over 3.5 million customers visit its 215 stores under three different banners in eight African countries. The Choppies group continues its conquering journey in sustainability, social responsibility, and employment opportunity. It is all part of the group‘s firm commitment to creating opportunities and bringing value to customers and communities across the African continent.

With over 16 000 staff members, the Choppies Group is a significant employment generator in the retail sector in Africa. The success of Choppies business is a result of the collective effort of this massive staff force.

The Group will continue to address the socio-economic challenges faced by the communities it serves through the supply of high-quality, affordable food for all customers while providing significant employment and economic opportunities across its value chain.

South Africa- the next big market for Choppies

At present the Choppies group operates 74 stores in South Africa, the location such as Gauteng, Northwest, Mpumalanga , Free States, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. “ We are planning to open another 10 more stores by the end of the current financial year, taking our total number of stores over 80” says Mr Ram.

Choppies’ move comes at a time when the South African retail market faces, various economic and socio economic challenges. Factors like exchange rate volatility, the declining availability of credit and inflationary pressures adversely affected the finances of many households. However, most consumers remain aspirational, with the demand remaining strong for essential FMCG, especially products which are in line with global trends.

However, Mr. Nazzar Mulackal, Director of Operations at Choppies South Africa is confident: “We have already established here as a value retailer. We are very competent in pricing. Besides, we have been widening our product ranges in order to increase our value shares and target a wider consumer group,” he said.

According to a study of the South African retail market by Euromonitor International, grocery retailers continue to dominate retailing value sales in South Africa: “Many grocery retailers are becoming increasingly competitive in non-grocery specialists channels. Some grocery retailers operating in channels such as supermarket have introduced ranges of non-grocery products in their stores in order to showcase their differentiated offers and be more competitive,”

We have implemented aggressive pricing strategies and have expanded our product lines across numerous categories. In addition we have introduced complementary services such sale of electricity, airtime, bill payments, and play tickets,” says, Andrew Coppin, Operations Director of Jwayelani Retail – a retail business acquired by the Choppies group last year.


Retail solutions on-demand

Retail solutions on-demand

It’s comforting to know that next time you need your shopfront re-designed, shopfitting redone, new signage – or any other retail service – that there is a one-stop professional company on hand to assist at a moment’s notice.

Based in Midrand, BluChip Retail Solutions is headed up by CEO, Brett Stagman. The company is made up of specific divisions for each discipline, each managed by a professional in that field, resulting in a group with design and implementation capabilities second to none.

We live in an on-demand economy and BluChip Retail Solutions is a company that offer end to end solutions, support and service,” says Stagman. “ We are able to transform your dream into a reality with our extensive range of services.”

What differentiates BluChip from its competitors is that the company is able to handle all your retail positioning needs.

Irrespective of the project BluChip has a team of dedicated, committed individuals who are able to offer you the specific services and solutions that you require.

Just some of BluChip’s extensive services include:

Design Services: Liezl van der Linde

An experienced team of Interior designers, architects and industrial designers able to provide a full turnkey design solution.

If you can dream it BluChip can design it.

Digital Services: Chantal du Preez

BluChip are experts in digital display and content management. In the digital world BluChip is inter connected through media, digital devices and digital marketing services.

Shopfitting Services: Simon du Plooy

Each project is approached professionally and individually. An integral part of the cycle is BluChip’s state of the art manufacturing facilities which ensure that deadlines are met.

BluChip is very much “hands-on” in every aspect of every project.

Installation and Civil Services: Dion Mclean

Imagine an empty shell of a space. BluChip Retail Solutions will transform that space into a functional area regardless of your requirements. The company prides itself on providing an entire solution to all industries, thus creating your niche brand in the market.

Project Management Services: Mark Kinnear

By offering a full turnkey solution and covering most store build deliverables in house, BluChip is able to reduce costs immediately, working within your budget to deliver the best solutions.

Retail Maintenance Services: Vernon Gravett

BluChip have developed an extensive network of skilled technicians and subcontractors capable of assisting in all maintenance and project requirements, from shopfitting and shopfronts to digital and civils. Service levels are individually and appropriately designed to suit clients’ needs nationwide.

Steelwork Services: Jonathan Joseph

BluChip designs and manufactures products to specific requirements, versatile, modular, flat packed products are a speciality. A high standard of workmanship with top quality finishes is always assured.

Signage Services: Sakkie Huysamen

BluChip Retail Solutions offer a full turnkey signage solution and services. This incorporates all internal and external signage as well lettering and all types of signage applications.

Retail Property Advisory Services: Adam Bravo

BluChip Retail Solutions are leaders in strategic and property facilitation within South African retail market, with over 1 000 lease agreements under management. The involvement of the turn-key facilitation and a developing focus on retail consultancy provides the edge within this market.

Virtual Reality (VR) Services: Chantal du Preez

BluChip is able to customise a full 360 degree VR fly through of your retail store experience. This will enable you to see an holistic view of your store, determine planograms, understand departmental flows and modify any materials.

Biometrics Services: Conrad Taljaard

Biometric verification is any means by which an individual can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits. Unique identifiers include fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris pattens, voice waves, DNA and signatures.

Survey reveals the favourite brands in South African townships

Survey reveals the favourite brands in South African townships

The top brands in South Africa’s townships were revealed in a Daily Sun supplement on 16 May 2017.

Market research company, Ask Afrika, conducted a comprehensive nationwide survey with a sample that is representative of the township population comparing brand usage across 144 product categories and ranking 2 996 brands.

This year 36 Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands and 59 potential Kasi Star Brands emerged from the study. Kasi Star Brands are woven into the fabric of vibrant South African townships.
The overall 2017/2018 Kasi Star Brands winner and favourite township brand is Coca Cola, with KFC in second place, Kiwi shoe polish third, Koo beans fourth and Mageu No 1 fifth. Coca Cola has been the top township brand for two years running.

Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands are defined as brands that are used most loyally by South African township consumers. These brands encapsulate a common experience and Kasi consumers are committed to them. The Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands benchmark is a powerful tool for brand owners to measure return on investment (ROI) in the township market.







The 36 Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands 2017/2018

Kasi Star Brands
Category Name
Coca Cola
Non-Alcoholic Cold Drinks: Colas And Other Fizzy Drinks
Fastfood Outlets
Shoe Polish
Koo (Beans)
Tinned Beans/Vegetables
Mageu No 1
Milk: Mageu/Maheu
Food Retail (Supermarket)
Tile Retail Stores
All Gold
Condiments And Sauces: Tomato Sauce
Lucky Star
Tinned Fish
Fabric Softners
Milk: Fresh
JC Le Roux
Wine Sparkling
Huletts (Sugar)
Sugar & Sweeteners
Liquid Antiseptics
Black Cat
Spreads (Peanut Butter, Jam, Savoury and Sweet Spreads, Syrup, Honey)
Frozen Chips and Potato Products
Toothpaste (Normal)
Stock Cubes
Defy (Stove)
Stoves / Ovens / Hobs
Telecommunications ( Cell Main Network Provider )
Bull Brand
Tinned Meat
Razors (Male)
BP (Express)
Garage Convenience Shops
Fatti’s and Moni’s
Hot Drinks: Instant Coffee
Toothbrushes: Manual
Always (Pads/Towels)
Female Sanitary Products
Eye Make-Up
Insecticides / Insect Repellents
Medicine: Sticking Plaster
Ultra Mel
Rice (Rice And Couscous)
Margarine / Butter

Three criteria were used to define a Kasi consumer in 2017/2018: he or she has to live in a South African township, fall into the socio-economic level (SEL) 3-5 and not have a post-graduate qualification.

This is aligned with Sandeep Mahajan’s definition of a “regular township resident” and excludes the more affluent consumers that make townships their homes. All nine provinces were included in the sample of 4,403 Kasi consumers interviewed, representing the view of 9.3 million Kasi consumers across South Africa. The results were independently audited by BDO and Dr Arianne Neethling and verified by township market expert, GG Alcock.
What drives brand loyalty in the Kasi?
Nothing for mahala, siyazama zama (nothing is free so we make a plan). The Kasi market largely remains a price sensitive market. Kasi consumers are excellent with budgets and they are receptive to special offers. They live in an unreliable and in many cases an unsafe environment, an investment in high quality brands provides a sense of reliability and assurance to the Kasi household.
The top line trends of the Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands survey reveal a number of loyalty drivers that brand owners and marketers should bear in mind when targeting this market.
Brands are a ‘cheap price’ for aspiration
“I know where every cent goes, every cent is put to a cost, the money is like water through my hands, it touches them then it washes off someone else’s hands.” (GG Alcock 2015: 138)

Kasi consumers, on the whole, spend money more carefully than they used to and say that it is worth spending more money for quality goods. The Kasi shoppers always look out for special offers, but if they like a product they will buy it regardless of price. They are open to trying new brands to see if they like the product, but once they find a brand that they like, they tend to stick to it. Kasi consumers will, however, try out a different brand if it is on special offer.
An investment in brands is seen as a ‘cheap price’ for aspiration. It is important for Kasi consumers that they care for themselves and the people in their household by giving them the best their money can buy.
“Kasi consumers expect quality and usually have a brand repertoire within their loyalty spectrum which they will compare in terms of price points and special offers. They understand the advantage of choice and will choose the best their money can buy. If a brand consistently delivers quality at the right price point, it will be used by Kasi households,” says Dr Amelia Richards, Account Director at Ask Afrika.
Proudly South African

Coca Cola the international giant is continuing to enable a customised approach for their brand. The ability of a global brand such as Coke to merge local vernacular with a personal intimate occasion between two potential lovers, is the ideal recipe for loyal consumption of Coca Cola to celebrate special moments.
Kasi consumers are proudly South African and opt to buy goods that are produced locally, believing that South African products are usually of high quality. They think that it is important that brands act ethically and refuse to buy products from a company that they disapprove of. Kasi consumers support brands that empower previously disadvantaged South Africans.
“The Target Group Index (TGI) data has shown that Kasi consumers are very loyal to South African heritage. Tradition and community is important in the Kasi where people take care of one other. They expect the same from brands that they pay money for,” says Richards, “There is a misconception amongst those that don’t know the market that when Kasi consumers become more affluent they become westernised.”
According to GG Alcock this is not the case, greater affluence does contribute to modernisation, yet township residents often stay close to their cultural and local South African heritage – they become Afropolitan. Brands that want to be successful in this space must first understand the culture and then contribute towards it in a meaningful way.
Never underestimate the Kasi consumer
“eKasi was once a swear word, a place to be feared, but is now a place where life is shared with brands and people that inspire hope, celebrate a multitude of entrepreneurs, community leaders, responsible proactive citizens of both the Kasi and the Emalalini, the rural villages.” (GG Alcock 2015)
Living and doing business in African market places require an ethos and connection to the informal, invisible and intangible. It is vital that marketers targeting this market have an in-depth understanding of this continually changing environment and lifestyle. It is important to talk to aspiration, yet to remain within reach. Many Kasi consumers travel into the cities for work and see the way that brands are being advertised there. It is vital not to denigrate the Kasi consumer through inconsistent brand messaging and tone of voice in cities versus townships.

Sharing and CSI
Brands that share what they achieve in empowering and uplifting disadvantaged communities through their CSI initiatives will garner loyalty from the Kasi consumer.

Not only did the KFC “Add Hope” campaign feed 5 million children during World Hunger month, but it feeds 110 000 children every day. In 2016 the KFC initiative included the unveiling of the wall mural on Vilakazi street in Soweto, increasing awareness for the campaign. The residents can collect seeds from the tree mural on the wall encouraging them to grow their own vegetables and fruit.
“Brands that connect and identify with the language, the culture and local style will win over the hearts of Kasi consumers. Respect is inherent in the Kasi culture as are ethics, caring for the past and present, hope and a belief that we will all build a better future, as a collective – brands are expected to be part of this ethos,” concludes Richards.
Research reports
In-depth Ask Afrika Kasi Star Brands research reports assist with brand planning and marketing strategies, competitive intelligence, consumer profiling, product enhancement and client pitches. There are various reporting options that look at what is driving loyalty in the township market or which are tailored to media and marketing strategies that target the township consumer.

Primedia Unlimited Malls pumps up its re-branding

UnionPay International, the bank card utilised at Standard Bank and First National Bank ATM’s around the country, has enlisted the expertise of Primedia Unlimited’s mall advertising specialists Primall Media to encourage its Chinese cardholders to utilise their cards in shopping malls and receive substantial discounts in the process

Primedia Unlimited Malls pumps up its re-branding

“Creating smarter malls”

Primedia Unlimited Malls (PUM) have announced the implementation of a year-long re-branding project in response to changing markets, ensuring they still deliver on unmatched value through their ability to optimise how brands engage with shoppers.

Molefi Moloantoa, CEO of Primedia Unlimited Malls

“As the leaders in the industry providing integrated mall media, shopper marketing, activation and digital solutions in South Africa, it became evident that we needed to re-evaluate and enhance our offering to stay relevant in this ever-changing industry,” said Molefi Moloantoa, CEO of Primedia Unlimited Malls. “This will ensure we continue to meet the needs of the shopper. This re-brand is part of our coming of age and is pivotal to our growth and expansion.”

Operating since 1996 and building a monumental presence in the retail environment PUM realised in order to stay ahead they needed to evolve. A primary drive of the evolution was moving away from being an offering focussed business to a solution based business.
“Our experience and success of mastering shopper engagement and meeting the expectations of property owners was achieved through providing unmatched offerings that connects brands to shoppers whilst maximising the ability to integrate and foster relationships with shoppers while maximising non-GLA opportunities,” continued Moloantoa.

“The shopper is the heart of our business, we are a shopper-centric business. We needed to better understand the shopper in order to engage with this profile in a different non-direct way. This is why we have invested in data and research to better understand this market and how we can effectively communicate with them.”

With the ultimate vision of creating smarter malls, Primedia Unlimited Malls puts the shopper at the heart of the business.
Furthermore, digitising the business and the environment was critical for the growth of PUM and was one of the biggest challenges faced. PUM needed to ensure innovation and enhancement in their space and environment. Supporting this need with their commitment to providing creative and forward thinking solutions meant a new and improved presence.

“In order to keep ahead of the market and industry, our new branding has enabled the creation of a consistent and recognisable brand, without losing the prominence of our individual centres of excellence, led by experts.”

“To this note, we have transformed our business to include Product Managers. This new structure will focus on ensuring we provide bespoke and creative solutions for clients, in which we have seen a very strong uptake from brands and mall owners on providing solutions rather than services,” explains Moloantoa.

All the keys to PUMs development were within business. Their investment in insights and data analytics, addressing innovation through tailored product offerings only further enhanced the expertise within their integration of services.

Crucial to PUM’s re-brand project was the emphasis on creating value, PUM’s new brand promise of creating smarter malls, re-positions and re-enforces the company’s guarantee, offering to provide innovative solutions and integrated services to those seeking advertising platforms applicable to media, activations, shopper marketing and digital areas of the retail landscape.

As Moloantoa asserts, “Above all, this re-brand is a behaviour change, in the way we speak, engage, deliver and are perceived. Smart is our core promise and philosophy that will be evident in all our offerings and services.”
Additionally, declining consumer confidence and fluctuating low economic growth have proven to be challenging for the retail industry, PUM’s timely re-brand highlights consistent growth of the company and the maturation of the business as they adapt to the changing environment, optimising client experiences.
“Initially, re-branding the business had to be accepted and achieved internally before we made it public. We needed our staff to be engaged internally and externally. We had to create meaning beyond our individual roles, building connectivity, camaraderie, a sense of belonging and purpose within each of our 160 employees.”
“Knowing that change always begins from the inside out, one of the initiatives which was catalyst in achieving change, was utilising our own people, our own capabilities and capacities. This came in the form of an internal staff manifesto video, which was conceptualised, created and executed by our own staff.”
The video features every single staff member of PUM, from all regions, who came together to make this visual illustration of their common purpose and what they represent, further entrenching how their individual roles play a part in the bigger picture of the business.

“This re-brand has been one of the most transformational undertakings and journey’s we have been on. The next step for PUM, is to align with property owners in the creation of a common vision for their business and malls so that together, we can deliver the smart malls that the shopper wants,” concludes Moloantoa.


The specialised art of signage production

The specialised art of signage production

A company profile:

AE Plastics, masters of signage in the retail and petro-chemical space.

Seldom does one have the privilege of working with a group of people, or company, with such a deeply entrenched set of ethical standards, skills development programme for its own staff, close attention to customers’ needs and expectations, and a core staff of which many have over 20 years of service.

In February 2017 Shopping & Retail SA did indeed have the privilege of visiting such a company. And this company, as to be expected, is a family business, where the term “family” naturally extends to encompass not only all staff, but is loosely seen in the culture of the organisation to ultimately include suppliers and customers alike.

Des and Brendan Geraghty

AE Plastics was founded some 40 years ago by Des Geraghty in 1976 with a staff of four. At the time the need for signage was for “point-of-purchase” products, where vacuum formed packaging and creative display shelving was the main priority – thus the name “AE Plastics”. Des’ son Brendan joined the business 19 years ago and is now the Managing Director of the business.

In the ’70s and early ’80s, as demand began shifting steadily towards signage, the plastics aspect soon fell away. In a short space of time AE Plastics became synonymous with high quality signage. “Edgars was our first big client – since 1980 – and still is today,” said Des. “And securing this account put the business firmly into the retail space.”

Des’ statement really says it all: “…and still is today.” Only companies with true dedication, strong depth of capability, and a deep understanding of their clients’ needs is capable of retaining clients of this calibre over a period of decades, and is ongoing.

In terms of capability, AE Plastics is proud of its unparalleled set of in-house skills, coupled with a modern well equipped 10 000 m2 factory complete with overhead cranes, warehousing for bulk storage, and offices – conveniently located in Wadeville, Gauteng, between the N3 and N17 highways.

On staff and skills: “Our primary mission is to always supply the client on time,” said Brendan. “Our skill-set is growing all the time and many of our 110 staff have been trained up in-house over the years.

“Whilst welders and spray painters are recognised trades – and these skills are readily available – this is not so with signage skills which are unique and learned “on the job”. There is no “signage NQF” qualification, so we go to great lengths to train our staff in the skills specific to the signage industry, including fabrication and installation. Furthermore, we take care to look after our staff, most of whom have been with the company for over 30 years and include their own new generations joining and becoming part of the business.”

On this note, it is pleasing to learn that AE Plastics offers bursaries to its staff and their families. “We invest heavily in our staff, and always have,” continues Brendan. “An integral part of our vision is to help with the education of our people, to be a part of creating exciting opportunities for them to grow within the company. Ours is a “non-traditional” family business in which all participate with great pride.”

On customer service: “Few have the capability, the premises, the plant, the staff, and the knowledge and expertise that we have,” explains Des. “In order to be successful in this industry it is essential too, to develop a long term understanding of the needs and requirements of the client, and to ensure continuity in quality and service delivery over time. In our value system we spend a great deal of time communicating with our employees, customers and suppliers alike.”

The work pressures that come with signage manufacture can be significant, and as deadlines loom the close-knit culture within the company comes to the fore to the extent that everybody pitches in and stays until the job is done. “We keep in step with our clients,” continues Brendan. “And we have learned to move at the same pace as they do, anticipating their speed of requirement and growth.”

On plant and equipment: “Signage is very much a “hand-made” process,” explains Brendan. “At our new premises here in Wadeville our artisans are able to apply their skills to the full, as each job has its nuances. Processes always vary slightly – depending on design and customers’ specifications – there is very little repetition. Each sign is a little different – even for the same client.”

The AE Plastics production line has a quiet air of purpose about it. A sense of organised calm prevails. “Much time and effort is spent on pre-production planning and preparation,” said Des. “Our strength is in how to make the best product as quickly as possible in the most efficient and cost-effective way.”

Quality checks are in place at every stage of production, be it the CNC letter bending machine, framework and fabrication, wire work, spray-painting, final assembly or lighting and testing. The end results speak for themselves – and have done for decades.

On technology: “At one stage we had several of our own neon glass-blowers, and although there is still a small and specialised requirement for neon, that and fluorescents are now only maintenance contracts,” said Brendan. “Today LED is the main lighting technology, and quality is paramount.”

On geographic footprint: “AE Plastics operates throughout Southern Africa and in many African countries. All operations are fully managed directly and hands-on right here from our head office,” continued Des. “And all installations controlled and managed by our own teams on all sites.”

Regarding future direction: Brendan tells us that the market is changing slightly, and always is. “ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) cladding of buildings is becoming a practical way of revamping the exterior of older buildings – and is a natural extension of our business, which of course enables us to develop even more skill-sets,” explains Brendan. “So we are doing a fair percentage of that too.”

“Another direction of interest is the incorporation of renewable energy sources into the illumination of our signage. This will not only be of particular interest to our clients in keeping running costs down, but of course maintains our competitive edge with regard to leading the field with sensible application of modern technologies.”

In forthcoming editions of editions of Shopping & Retail SA we’ll be bringing our readers insight to some of AE Plastics’ installations and on site capabilities through a series of case studies, and we’ll be spending more time with them on the production floor getting to know the artisans and their skills developed through this exemplary company.

Sites where projects are currently in progress for various clients include:
-Springs Mall
-Ballito Junction
-Alexander Mall

vida e caffè launches limited edition blend called Auriga

vida e caffè launches limited edition blend called Auriga

South Africa’s coffee consumption is reportedly growing at approximately 6% per annum and the market continues to develop across a number of areas outside of sheer volume. The quality of coffee and the importance of speciality coffee beverages emerge as key trends that are positively shaping the future of the local market. This, according to the SA Coffee Landscape Report 2017.

In the same way that wine palettes change over time so too do coffee palettes. Considering that for example red wine contains up to 320 volatile aromatic compounds, while coffee has a whopping 900 and counting compounds, it becomes clear just how complex the art of coffee-making is. For coffee lovers looking for something different, vida e caffè has therefore just launched a delicious new limited edition blend called Auriga, that delivers a bold, rich taste of Africa.

vida’s original blend called Estrela, which is Portuguese for “star” has become a daily staple for countless people since the brand launched in 2001. Today with over 200 stores nationwide. Now with the launch of Auriga, the Latin word for “charioteer” and the name of a constellation, vida is the first national, speciality coffee chain to offer an additional blend in espresso form – significant given the maturation of the coffee market in South Africa. Together, the two offerings introduce a stellar theme that will see more limited edition blends launched seasonally that tie into the idea of a “constellation of coffees”.

Auriga brings another important first for vida, as it’s the first time that African beans – globally acclaimed for their great quality – are being used. In fact beans from the African region are among the world’s most expensive.

“While our Estrela blend, which we affectionately refer to as our “house blend” will always remain a constant, we felt that in order to stay true to our ethos of coffee excellency, we wanted to offer variation for our customers who might sometimes want something different,” says Darren Levy, CEO of vida e caffè.

Auriga is being rolled out nationally and will soon be available in most stores. “Coffee is in fact seasonal and we wanted to explore this notion through new limited edition blends that stay on trend for evolving palettes. Towards the end of the year we’ll launch the next ‘star’ in our ‘constellation of coffees’,” concludes Levy.

Charles Denison

The intense process of developing a new blend has been one year in the making and has seen vida partner with the country’s most renowned specialist coffee consultant, Charles Denison. As one of only two licensed Q-Graders (Coffee Quality Institute) in South Africa, Denison has spent time in the coffee fields of ten of the major growing regions of the world. Together with Denison and other hand-selected taste-makers, vida held twelve different cupping sessions in order to perfect the delicious Auriga blend.



Denison is an experienced coffee professional second to none – with nine years in the agro-commodity industry. He has also worked for one of the top four largest Arabica coffee suppliers and has been exposed to the full coffee chain at origin, from growing to export. This includes green bean trading (both physical and derivatives), hedging, logistics and shipping, and small-scale farmer advancement through rural agronomy training and certification. This experience included dealing with some of the world’s largest coffee roasters to the most specialised.