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

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.

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
-Kyalami
-Musina
-Tamboti