Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
11-12 March 2013

Exploring the challenge of creating a sustainable brand in emerging markets – the Proctor and Gamble case

Any successful retailer will tell you that building strong brand awareness is the best long – term marketing strategy. However, creating a sustainable brand in new and emerging markets presents a unique challenge for international retailers. If you would like to learn more about how to create a strong brand in emerging markets, then you need to be at Retail World Africa 2013! 

Retail World Africa 2013 brings together innovative game changers that have managed to build successful brands and secure their position at the forefront of the industry. Join us as Stand Vecera, Vice President for South and East Africa at Proctor and Gamble shares his knowledge and experience of branding in emerging markets. Go to for more information.

If you’re wondering how to overcome the challenge of making your brand appeal to the local consumer, then Procter and Gamble’s presentation on “Exploring the challenge of creating a sustainable brand in emerging markets ” at Retail World Africa 2013 will give you insight into how you too can get people talking about your brand.

The other retail experts include:

Unilever Africa 
Nestle Southern Africa 
Procter and Gamble South Africa 
Stuttafords South Africa
Zando South Africa 
Uchumi Kenya
Capacity Holdings, South Africa 
LuxLife, South Africa
Bid or Buy, South Africa
Mercedes Benz, South Africa
Swop and Shop, South Africa

Serial games entrepreneur and sometimes angel investor Dylan Collins has a new project, which he no doubt describes as “awesome”. Aiming to help solve the discovery problem faced by physical and digital products targeting the fickle market that is kids, the aptly namedBox Of Awesome is like a free Birchbox for 13-14 year-old children, stuffed with games, music, books, and other kid-friendly stuff. The draw for brands who pay for space in each bi-monthly box is the opportunity to be discovered by influencers in that hard to reach demographic.

To that end, I’m told that the startup has already amassed 30,000+ subscribers in the UK, where it is initially launching, and will begin sending out the first Boxes Of Awesome at the end of this month.

The idea for the service was born out of Collins’ experience in the games industry and most recently as Chairman of boys online game Fight My Monster. He realised that the challenge of targeting 13-14 year-old kids isn’t just creating content that resonates with them (before they move on to the next cool thing), but actually getting their attention in the first place. It’s a familiar problem faced by products in many markets: the barriers of distribution are much lower online, but discovery is now a lot harder as supply beats demand.

One way to think about how Box Of Awesome is tackling this problem is akin to ‘give aways’ found on the covers of children’s magazines. And in fact, the scale that the company is gunning for in the UK is at least on par with that model, which it is directly competing with.

In order to maintain the element of surprise — in a call with Collins my reaction to his pitch was to describe the concept as “like Christmas every other month” — the company is remaining tight-lipped about what exactly is in its first box. When pressed, however, Collins had this to say: “We’ve got a range of brands, so quite a bit of variety across the boxes, including major book publishers, collectibles (cards and figures), two music labels, two games publishers and one clothing company. And it’s not just about big brands. What’s really cool is that we’re also bringing two completely new companies to our community in the first box.”

In other words, should Box Of Awesome pan out, it could potentially be a way for startups to not only use the service to help launch, but also to piggyback the bigger brands that make up the majority of the box and provide the pull to get kids interested in the first place. Presuming, of course, that the expense isn’t too prohibitive; currently it’s the brands that pick up the tab, though it’s conceivable that if there is enough demand a paid-for subscription model could be adopted to help soften this.

“Fundamentally, we’re curating a collection of genuinely awesome products for our community so it’s a great way of mixing established and new”, adds Collins.

Alongside Collins, who is funding the startup via his private equity vehicle OMAC Investments, Box Of Awesome is co-founded by Nic Mitham, a virtual worlds marketing consultant.

Prior to Box Of Awesome, Collins has founded and sold three companies: Jolt Online Gaming (acquired by GameStop), DemonWare (acquired by Activision Blizzard), and mobile messaging company Phorest (acquired by MBO).

Issued by Trinitas Consulting


Many a company draws in customers with promises of excellence in after-sales service, but once the customer has purchased the item and experienced difficulties with the use thereof, the after-sales service becomes an intangible promise which the supplier is not willing to uphold.


In the Information Technology (IT) industry specifically, the importance of this after-sales service cannot be overstated. In any company in the world IT failure, computer’s crashing or something as simple as a keyboard malfunctioning can cause hours if not days, weeks or months of delays. If the correct after-sales service is offered, issues can be sorted out quickly, ensuring that little to no time is lost by the client. Time is money, downtime costs money.


While most companies offer ‘after-sales service’ one needs to be vigilant about checking the fine print involved. The question is not so much whether the supplier offers after-sales service, but rather whether that service is fast, reliable and provides real benefit to your company. If one were to return an IT product purchased at a large retailer the general process would be that your machine would wait in a queue of others to be sent to an external party for repair and eventually, weeks or even months later, the machine will be returned, (hopefully) fixed satisfactorily. In this technological age it is difficult to imagine being without ones laptop for weeks waiting on repairs – in all likelihood a new machine would have to be purchased to use in the interim; why bother with repairs then – the after-sales service in this case is not doing what it purports to do.


“People cannot afford to have downtime,” says Greg Johnson, managing director and owner of Phase 2 Computers. “As a supplier, one needs to focus on the customer’s business and do everything possible to ensure superior after-sales service. Loan the customer a spare machine while repairs are being done and try to accommodate the customer and meet their needs in a caring manner. Too many companies have hidden pitfalls to their so called after-sales service, lulling clients into a false sense of security.”


In various instances, clients are also offered a product guarantee when purchasing an item, yet when the machine’s manual is read one is informed that no enforcement of the guarantee will be made by the store from which the product was purchased. The client is tasked with tracking down and contacting the actual brand manufacturer, resulting in further delays and frustration in most cases.


“We have confidence in our products and any company that does so would be more than happy to provide effective and efficient after-sales service. It is important to offer clients real value for money, such as; extended warranties without charging extra, offering back-to-back warranties on components with vendors, passing on vendor or manufacturer warranties and the collection and delivery of components and equipment where possible,” adds Johnson. To ensure efficiency, a retailer should be capable of doing repairs on the spot, swapping out faulty internal parts while the customer waits or, in the cases where repairs will take longer, doing these repairs in house to avoid the delays caused when sending machines out to a third person.


When purchasing new goods, after-sales service may be the last thing on one’s mind, but should that equipment malfunction the importance of after-sales service will become glaringly obvious. Check and double check the terms of after-sales service before purchasing goods from retailers; this could save much time, money, effort, frustration and will aid in eliminating the incessant excuses offered as to why the equipment cannot be repaired.


Government Clamps Down on Tenderpreneurs

Government has addressed the growing problem of tenderpreneurs, typically businesses and individuals that are enriched unfairly from government tenders.

The new government rules are B-BBEE-based compared to the previous government tender selectioncriteria and now apply to all tenders from state owned enterprises as well as government entities issued after 7 December 2012.

Now, the PPPFA has stated that a business cannot subcontract more than 25% of the contract value to a BEE entity that has a worse BEE score. This is one of the provisions providing opportunities for entities with good BEE scores.

Tenders will have prequalification requirements that are able to weed out tenderpreneurs. The rules will ensure that business owners will no longer need to sell a share in their business to gain a competitive BEE rating.

“If you ask the average business owner what concerns they have with B-BBEE, their answer will most likely be government awarding tenders only to black-owned business. Sadly this has been the case even though it was not directly part of the B-BBEE act,” says Keith Levenstein, CEO of EconoBEE, a B-BBEE advisory firm.

“However, with the changes to the tender act, all new business awarded by government must take into account the supplier’s broad-based BEE scorecard and not their ownership. Further, the tender act uses a formula to determine the winner of a tender.”

The current status is that:

·      A supplier who has no competition will win.

·      A supplier who is significantly cheaper with no BEE status will win.

·      A supplier who is marginally cheaper with no BEE status may not win.

·      A supplier who is equal with price but a better BEE status will win.

“This is good news. It provides consistency and openness. Tenderpreneurs and subsistence businesses will now be ineligible to win tenders,” he says.

“A small change to the PPPFA will mean more emphasis is placed on becoming BEE compliant. However, to gain full benefit and generate business opportunities, access new markets and maintain existing business, BEE scorecards will need to improve.”

“Businesses are now motivated to improve their overall score, thereby increasing their chances of winning government tenders. A good BEE status will now be a major advantage,” says Levenstein.

Refilwe Machaba has been the top achiever at the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy in Boksburg, Johannesburg for the last two years. The Academy provides Grade 10 to Grade 12 students from participating technical high schools and others from further education and training colleges in Ekhurhuleni with free, hands-on skills training.

Refilwe, this year in Matric at Katlehong Technical Secondary school, lives with his unemployed mother and two younger sisters in Katlehong Dikole. At school, he excels in physics and maths, and as has been shown by his performance at the Samsung Academy, he clearly has an aptitude for electronics as well. “I was thinking of studying actuarial science and becoming a financial advisor at Samsung,” he says. “But now I’m torn, because I’m fascinated with electronics as well.”

The Samsung Academy finds employment for those graduates who do not have the opportunity to continue with their studies. Out of this year’s 40 graduates, 17 have gone on to tertiary education, while Samsung has placed the remaining 23 graduates in jobs at its service centre, knock down plant and call centre partners. The company is proud that it has managed to place 100% of its graduates in jobs for two years running – a result of the Academy’s focus on practical, relevant skills to meet industry demand.

Refilwe says that the biggest challenge presented by the academy is balancing the commitment with the rest of his studies, but he says that this is good practice for his university studies.

“It’s very important to me to study further,” he says. “I want to be able to stand on my own two feet and to look after my family. I hope my sisters look up to me.”

In recognition of his achievements, Refilwe was awarded a television at the 2011 Academy graduation, and at the 2012 graduation, he received a washing machine. “It’s been really cool – I’m starting to fill the house with furniture,” he says. “I’m not even working yet and I can already show my family how I will provide for them.”

Samsung’s Electronics Engineering Academy is a part of the company’s commitment to developing 10,000 electronics engineers on the African continent by 2015. This ties in closely with the South African Government’s New Growth Path, which includes the key target of producing 30,000 engineers in this country by 2014.

SA – the Good News

CTI offers free tablets for students

CTI Education Group will become the first higher education institution in South Africa to offer its students tablet computers loaded with prescribed textbooks, at no extra cost. 
More than 2 000 who will start their degree studies at CTI in January will receive the new 10-inch touch-screen Samsung Galaxy Note tablets, loaded with up to eight prescribed textbooks of course material.
The tablets will be supplied to first-year students commencing their Bachelor of Commerce and BSc in Computing Systems degrees at CTI’s 12 campuses across South Africa.
“To succeed in their future careers, young South Africans will need to be IT-literate and fully fluent with the latest technology. We want to make our students’ learning experience as close as possible to the world of work they will be entering, and we’re very pleased to partner with Samsung, one of the world’s leading technology companies, to do that,” says Darren Fox, chief executive of CTI Education Group.
A study conducted earlier this year by the Pearson Foundation of college students in the United States revealed that students believe tablets and other mobile devices will transform learning, with tablet ownership among college students having tripled in the last year.
The survey reveals that more students are reading digital books, and that a majority (63%) of college students believe that tablets will effectively replace textbooks within the next five years.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the third most popular tablet among the students surveyed in the Pearson Foundation study.
Nearly all the students surveyed believed these devices are valuable for educational purposes, and around half of them say that they would be more likely to read textbooks on a tablet because of access to embedded interactive materials, access to social networks to share notes or ask questions, and access to instructors’ comments in the reading material.
Fox adds: “Our partnership with Samsung makes us the first higher education institution in South Africa to offer our students tablet computers loaded with all of their prescribed textbooks at no extra cost beyond their normal course fees.
“By putting cutting-edge technology into their hands while they study with us, we believe we can give our students the best possible education for the modern world and the industries in which they will work. CTI focuses on equipping our students with the skills and drive that they’ll need to find fulfilling careers and add value to the South African economy.
“That is why our graduates tend to find employment more quickly than most.”
CTI students will access their textbooks through e-text software, allowing them to read their textbooks onscreen. Course lecturers will be able to make notes and update texts throughout the academic year. These will automatically update to students’ tablet devices.
Students will be offered training in how to use their tablets, and will have access to additional loan tablets and e-learning support when they are on campus. Students will also be able to use their tablets to access WiFi at all of CTI’s campuses, at no additional expense.
CTI has also secured insurance and warranties for all the tablets and will pay for this on behalf of the students.

Absa Group’s Enterprise Development unit has taken a step into the retail sector by partnering with wholesalers Masscash to provide funding for Masscash’s growing retail outlets.

Masscash, which is a cash ‘n carry wholesaler that forms part of the Massmart/Walmart Group, is diversifying and moving into the retail sector by aggressively expanding into the township areas of South Africa using its own retail brand called “Fairpriced”.

Commenting on the deal, Absa Retail and Business Banking head for Enterprise Development Sisa Ntshona said he was excited that the agreement, which had taken many months to put together, had finally come to fruition.

“As Absa we have always said creating an environment that would enable the growth and development of sustainable small enterprises is one of the methods in resolving the poverty and unemployment challenges our country faces,” he said.

“That is why Absa in its efforts to assist with the development of entrepreneurs has teamed up with Masscash/Walmart. We will initially assist with the funding of a targeted number of  Fair Priced stores with the option to extend the programme to all of the planned 2500 stores over the next 2 to 3 years,’ he said. 

Absa will not only provide funding for the refurbishment of existing outlets or the building of new stores and with the option to provide working capital funding, but also provide access to products that include deposits, Point of Sale devices – POS and ATM machines.  

Among other strategic partners involved in this project is USAID who will also provide assistance to the entrepreneurs alongside Absa.    

Masscash’s Business Development Manager: AJ Bruwer said Masscash would identify suitable (previously disadvantaged) entrepreneurs to become the owners of these stores. “These stores will either be built from scratch or existing ones will be refurbished. Ideally the owner must live on the business premises.”

He said in order to ensure these stores were sustainable Masscash had identified other business partners including Builder’s Warehouse – to provide all of the required materials to build or refurbish a store; the University of Pretoria – to assist in training all entrepreneurs on the managing of stores and National Integration Solutions Services – to assist the entrepreneurs on a daily basis.

Bruwer said Fairpriced Outlets will be the vehicle to drive the Informal market into the future by using strategic partners experience and expertise. With the target to open 2500 of these stores over the next 2/3 years nationally. “We want to own the retail township space,” he said.

‘World first’ for Absa mobile payments

South African bank Absa and payment innovations company Thumbzup have signed an agreement to launch a mobile payment device, Payment Pebble, which will enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to accept debit or credit card payments through smartphones or tablets.

Payments will be made through a world first, plug-in device called “The Absa Payment Pebble”, the bank said in a statement last week.

“The Absa Payment Pebble” is a small card-reader device that can be plugged into the audio input on any mobile smartphone or tablet and used along with a mobile application.

The Absa Payment Pebble is scheduled to be available as a value-added service from Absa from early 2013.

Once the mobile app has been downloaded and the entrepreneur or business has registered for the service and received a pre-configured device, payments can be made via debit or credit card.

“One of the key differentiating features of the technology is its ability to enable safe and secure payment acceptance as a pin entry device, for both chip and magnetic swipe strip cards,” Absa said.

“The Absa Payment Pebble is also extremely simple to use because it seamlessly interacts with any smartphone without the hassle of complex synchronisation or power supply concerns.”

No other mobile acceptance device allows merchants to process payments remotely with a plug-in device, said Absa head of retail markets, Arrie Rautenbach.

“It is a game-changing innovation with the potential to transform the way in which entrepreneurs can safely accept offsite payments.”

He also said the deal with Thumbzup offered the potential of expanding into other African countries through Absa’s parent company, Barclays.

“We have a strong global commitment to innovation,” he said.

“As the Absa payment technology landscape changes, Absa is focused on delivering pioneering solutions to fundamentally transform the customer experience and build strong foundations for growth.”

SAinfo reporter

Read more:

Over the years there have been endless  discussions and points of view regarding ‘Price vs. Brand’ and ‘The Shopping Experience”. I have just returned from a fly fishing trip in the Lesotho Mountains with a bunch of likeminded chaps from different walks of life all with one thing in common – the love of the hunt for wild Rainbow Trout! – Rather similar to consumers, all looking for the same bargain – or are they?

Of the eight of us, two were absolutely committed to catch ‘big’ fish, while the majority were content to just ‘catch’, but all of us were in agreement about the venue which was stunning. Why drive six hundred kilometers to catch trout when there are plenty of trout an hour away? I believe, like shopping, it’s not only about the fish, but it’s about the outing; the Experience!

As retailers compete in a highly competitive environment and basically sell what their opponents are selling, at a similar price I must add, what else can you do to ‘woo’ me into your store? Surely you have to provide me with ‘The Experience’!

Research conducted in Canada and USA found that 35% of shoppers have had an extraordinary , or wow, retail experience in the past six months. But in order to hit that mark, retailers must deliver on as many as 10 different elements of the shopping experience simultaneously. Retailers are rewarded when shoppers tell others about their experience. Customer expectations are pretty high. It’s easy to fall short of those expectations, and hard to eclipse bad experiences. Unfortunately, people in general prefer to moan than to praise! 

So, as a retailer, what must you do in order to create an exceptional shopping experience for your customers?

Firstly, I believe, you need to get back to good old fashioned ‘manners’; being polite, genuinely caring and interested in helping, acknowledging and listening to your customer, after all, they know what they want!

Then, you have to provide Service Excellence, including patiently explaining and advising, checking stock, helping your customers to find products, having product knowledge and providing unexpected product quality.

Next, you must provide a Brand Experience. This includes exciting store design and atmosphere, consistently great product quality, making customers feel they’re special and that they always get a deal – not necessarily the cheaper price!

Consumers today are very busy and retailers must take note of this. Being sensitive to customers’ time on long check-out lines, being proactive in helping speed the shopping process is a critical component of creating the ‘Experience’.

Another important element to the ‘Experience Factor’ is Problem Recovery. You need to help resolve and compensate for problems; make refunds and returns extremely easy and painless. I shudder with consumer emotion when a manager argues over a R30 refund when his average sale is R400! What are your customers worth to you?

In the current recessionary climate, price is important to consumers, but only one factor in the overall wow shopping experience. The researchers found that of those experiencing a wow shopping trip, 43% said having consistently excellent products was a factor in their recent great retail experiences. That was the top response in regard to brand experience, followed by “getting a deal,” which was cited by 31% of respondents. 

Today’s economic situation is leading consumers to focus more on value than price. People are being more scrupulous about where they buy and what they buy. More educated consumers are looking for a better value in everything , even in a challenging economic environment, retailers are able to deliver a wow experience if they plan to provide the basic elements of a great shopping experience. 

We can also learn from the world’s best retailers. Over the last 10-years, Apple has risen to retail dominance and, in the process, became the most valuable company on the Forbes 2000 with a market value exceeding $500 billion.  Instrumental to this financial rise has been Apple’s cultivation of one of the most successful retail environments in history.  As a recent in-depth New York Times series puts it, “the Apple Store is the undisputed king, a retail phenomenon renowned for impeccable design, deft service and spectacular revenues.”  Apple has built this truly unique retail empire through the vertical integration of the product, retail, and customer experiences within the Apple Store. Apple is one the best retailers in the world at creating an engaging customer experience whose retail environment provides an excellent framework for growing retailers to emulate.  By analysing and applying the critical success factors of the Apple retail model in combination with new, innovative tools, growing retailers can readily create an ‘Apple-like’ retail experience in their stores. I believe that Apple’s biggest ‘retail win’ is their sales team. They have a team of cool looking nerds in blue shirts who are pure Apple Specialists and are also Apple Fans who want their customers to fall in love with Apple! Another winning aspect is that these Specialists are not financially incentivised to push one product over another – a subtle message that helps reassure the customer and open the channel for dialogue.

One common thread shared by the leadership of companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Disney,  is an appreciation for the customer experience. Great brands are built and sustained on great customer service. Especially in a time when consumers have more buying choices than ever, great customer service adds value and differentiates brands from their competition; and service is delivered by people!

So, to be the best you need to employ and keep the best. You must be constantly training and communicating with your team members. Information sharing is also paramount to your success. Team members need to know ‘the numbers’ and your company’s strategy, after all, they are going to take you there! Finally, you and your team have to have fun; what is the point if you do not enjoy what you are doing?  Do I enjoy fly-fishing? Sure I do, especially when I catch fish!

Johannesburg, South Africa. October 15th 2012. Canon SA will be hosting two of the world’s most renowned professional photographers at this year’s Canon SA Expo. Photojournalist, Ziv Koren and wildlife photographer, Brutus Östling are among the guest speakers on Canon’s panel for the Expo at Sandton Convention Centre from 30 November to 2 December. 

Canon has increased their efforts this year and will be hosting two speaker sessions, which will run simultaneously throughout the expo period.  

“We are extremely excited about the calibre of local and international speakers who will be sharing their expertise with visitors at the Expo. Both Koren and Östling are Canon ambassadors and those interested in their fields of photography cannot afford to miss these sessions,” comments Michelle Janse van Vuuren, Marketing Manager at Canon SA. 

Ziv Koren started his photographic career as a young military photographer in the Israeli army. He has been freelancing since 1998 and is best known for his award-winning 2003 project – ‘Louai Mer’i’, (a sergeant is going home) documenting an injured soldier. He regularly lectures on photography and exhibits his work around the world. 

One of his images was selected in 2000 by World Press Photo as one of the 200 best pictures from the previous 45 years. He has also won numerous awards including Picture of the Year, World Press Photo and Photo District News awards. Koren was also very active in covering the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

Brutus Östling started publishing his work at the age of 22 in 1981. Specialising in bird and wildlife photography, three of his photo books have been bestsellers in Sweden. Two of his books also won the WWF Panda Prize as best nature books in 2006 and 2007, when he was also appointed as ‘Scandinavian Nature Photographer 2007-2008’. Recently Östling has been photographing birds in the US states of Alaska and Florida, and has travelled throughout Europe to appear and speak at a variety of photo events and workshops.

The speaker sessions will start at 11:00 daily with the last one commencing at 16:00. The speakers and their topics include:

-Ziv Koren (Photo Journalism)
-Brutus Ostling (Wildlife)
-Roger Machin (EOS DSLR range)
-Abri Kriegler (Digital Compact range)
-Dave Han (Portraiture)
-Andrew Aveley (Wildlife)
-Paul Hoffman (Pricing photography)
-Dave Devo Oosthuizen (Conservation)
-Graham Smith (Workflow and DPP)
-Qasim Abdullah (Entry-level video)
-Manus van Dyk (Macro Photography: Equipment and Technique/Action Photography)
-Marlene Neumann (Creative Photography)
-Heinrich van der Berg (Wildlife)


Entrance to the Canon SA Expo is free. Visitors will be able to get a closer look at the latest Canon products and technologies, which include the company’s wide range of consumer and selected business solutions.

Canon will also be selling selected products at the Expo, with various specials on certain items while stocks last. 

For a complete list of the speaker sessions and topics and for general information with regards to the expo, please visit


* Please note speaker topics may be subject to change, please refer to the website for updated list.

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