Before I dwell into the crux of this week’s topic, let me first tell you about my light-hearted story about my relationship with radio as a source of infotainment. Perhaps this will ease your nerve if accounting is a nightmare for you. This intervention this week is critical because it will to dispel many myths harboured by the world of business. Two of those are that marketers are ignorant of accounting; and another is that marketing doesn’t deserve a seat in both the executive and non-executive boards. Just for the uninitiated, Dr Phillip Kotler defines marketing as “science and art of exploring, creating and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market as a profit”. Yes, your target is profitability whether you’re registered as a profit-making or not-for-profit making entity – the only difference is that the former pays dividend to the investors whereas by law the latter has to re-invest the profit into the sustainability of the entity. So you can’t talk profitability if you’re not familiar with accounting, and a company can’t make profit without marketing effort. It’s as simple as that.
So let me first take you on a detour about my story with the radio. Many of you know by now that for these three weeks I have been a “crosstitude” – yes instead of being interviewed on radio as I have been doing for my entire professional life (including my daily Radio Bop SA interviews at 13h00), I have crossed the floor to become a radio presenter. So, here’s my earliest encounter with this tiny wonder of technology. When I grew up, there was no television for black people up until 1982. So we relied on radio for infotainment. Yes. I loved dramas in the evenings, word puzzle games and music.
Because we were in a rural village, New Eersterus in Hammanskraal to be specific, we didn’t have electricity, so we powered our radio with a battery – often PM 9 (9 volts) and PM 10 (10 volt), the latter when my mother’s meagre budget allowed. These were “made up of carbon-zinc chemistry, these hardwearing batteries are one of the most cost-effective kinds of disposable battery”. When battery power was exhausted, although by its inability to power the radio was telling, we still placed its two terminals on our tongues to see if we could feel the tingling sensation. If it wasn’t strong, our suspicion was confirmed, so we had to put the battery on top of our roof, exposing it to the heat of the sun. Growing up, I realised the folly wasn’t only in getting the tingling sensation, but we didn’t understand the principle the higher you go, the colder it becomes – so we thought putting it higher it was to get more heat. For me it feels like one could switch off the lights and still switch on the match to see if the lights were really off. Or sometimes when I’m in a public bathroom I’ll get the knock and then respond to say “nobody inside”, and the person will still try to open the door to come in.
So excuse my detour. Back to my radio story, to preserve the battery power, we rarely played it during the day so that we could have enough power to enjoy the daily drama at 20h00 and perhaps also a bit of music. By the way, the overtures that introduced the radio drama plays were my first taste of jazz – so I loved jazz because of them.
Our daily schedule was cast into a crisis when my dad came home on weekends. He worked “countries” – a euphemistic coinage that meant such male labourers were migrants working far away from home but within the country and only coming back home for weekends. He will switch on the radio earlier to listen to the news bulletins. By the time 20h00 hit for the drama episode, the battery will be exhausted. And the sun will be set, so we won’t expose the battery to the sun. So we’ll miss that night’s episode.
The battery power saga would become even more dramatic. After we bought a car-battery powered 31-cm television set in 1982, my neighbourhood friends were equally excited because every evening we’ll converge to a major television soapy of the evening. We preserved the battery power because if this one was exhausted, we couldn’t repower it through the sun (by the way, even charging radio batteries that way didn’t quite work because they weren’t solar batteries, but we still did it). The only exception in our choice of what to watch was us a music programme in addition to the dramas.
Then Friday landed, and my dad too. He would watch all the news bulletins – basically same news in different languages, every 30 minutes till 20h00. My protestations couldn’t get through to my dad’s ears. By the time 20h00 hit, the television images would be scrambled. The battery would be exhausted. That meant us going back into the dark streets to play “touch” or hide-and-seek – though my mother frowned upon us playing the latter or housy-housy at night, for obvious reasons fearing we could experiment with things we weren’t allowed to. But now I sometimes just smile when I remember my dad during those days because I do find myself stuck to the news channels the whole day alone in the living room while the children dash to their rooms playing online games. Yes, they hate me driving them to school because I insist on listening to talk radio – arguing it’s too early for their loud music. Yes, I behave the way my dad did. I do also imagine his face when the TV characters were kissing and he could hear us urchins giggling.
So after three weeks of presenting “Sunset Serenade” on 101.9 Chai FM (or web-stream on http://ndstream.net/chaifm/new/ios.htm), I can say I feel really privileged. I kicked off the programme by tracing the origin of South African jazz in the 1920s in Queenstown – which earned itself the nickname, “The Little Jazztown”. I headlined the programme with Mankunku Ngozi’s “Yakhali ‘nkomo” (the bull bellows). It was a tour de force of troubadours across Africa and beyond. As Hans Andersen, a prolific Danish multidisciplinary artist, mused: “Where words fail, music speaks.” The second take looked at deconstructing the manifestations of jazz featuring timeless, explosive and yet soul-soothing serenades defying the narrow definitions of this universal music genre expressed through an African idiom. Then this coming Sunday I will be paying tribute to South Africa’s 1950s jazz renaissance suburbs of Sophiatown (Johannesburg), District Six (Cape Town) and Lady Selbourne (Pretoria) by dishing out iconic pieces by Kippie Moeketsi, Pat Matshikiza, Allen Kwela, Steve Dyer and then wrap up the hour with melodies from jazz supremo, Yulia (a Russian whose surname is Petrov but now she’s based in the US) and a duet between Nat “King” Cole and his daughter, Natalie. This is an exceptional way to celebrate the last sunset of the weekend which also happens to be the first of the week.
So I enjoy being in the driving seat. We have big dreams for this jazz programme. Soon I’ll be hosting jazz groups performing live in my studio – it will be a platform for them to launch their new albums too. Watch this space.
By the way, as I go into the main business of today, let me emphasise the point that this independent radio station is an excellent marketing platform for your brand management initiatives. Since brand value may be quantified, it is now included in many company’s balance sheets. Although there are many ways of calculating it, I have found the formula developd by Sherry Jacobi and Chandra Blouin – founding directors of Studiothink, a branding agency – the user-friendliest. Before I go into that, they introduce their agency as “here to deliver wow-factor design, powerful brand stories, well-coded websites and strategic digital marketing because we want something better for your company – authentic brands that connect with people.”
The duo define a brand as “the entirety of your marketing. It includes how your company looks, the personality of your messaging, and the way you make a customer or employee feel. A brand that is visually appealing, consistent, unique and authentic is extremely valuable to a company.”
According to www.lytho.com, the illusiveness of the construct of brand value translates into it meaning “different things to different people in different contexts”. But this shouldn’t be construed as meaning it’s worthless to calculate your brand’s value. This illusiveness means that “there are several different possible approaches to measuring it”. So each company has to choose the methodology or formula that “makes the most sense for (their) identity”. These approaches include cost-based valuation (that is, how much it costs to build a brand); market-based valuation (value based on market conditions); income-based valuation (current income generated by the brand); revenue-premium valuation (comparing the revenue generated by your brand against non-branded alternatives); customer-based valuation (number of current and future customers with lifetime values attached to them); and net promoter score (NPS) which speaks to how your brand generates inspiring, organic word-of-mouth.
The following is the logical outline by the two brand architects, Jacobi and Blouin (that I have alluded to above), of valuing your company’s brand.
They move from the assumption your company’s gross annual revenue is $1 000 000, the total annual return generated by your brand alone will be $90 000.
So how did they arrive at this figure?
· The return on brand recognition
They argue creating a strong visual identity that connects with your customer will result in a higher chance of purchase. So if you allocate the industry average of 7% to your marketing budget, you may develop an authentic brand that the market will remember, meaning you will be able to reduce your spend by 1% to reach the normal targets you’ve been achieving. This will equal: $10 000 per year.
· Return on higher perceived value
A brand that is virtually appealing creates “an immediate association to better quality and higher prices”. It creates a perception of value for money and therefore affording you the opportunity to charge a modest 2%above your competition. This will gain you: $20 000 per year.
· Return on increased confidence
A strategically presented political candidate may garner up 12% more votes. The authors argue “if the same metrics hold true in business as in politics, a strategically designed, authentic brand will convert” 12% more people from prospects to customers. So they chose to be more conservative in the impact the new “face” of a business will have – yes, there are few Richard Bransons or Steve Jobs in this world – and reduced that percentage score from 12% to 3%. That gains: $30 000 per year.
· Return on improved staff pride
When your employees “live your brand” is when they are proud to work for you; they love coming to work; they arrive earlier, try to work harder, and even work till late. “If in an eight hour shift your proud employees work only 10 minutes harder or smarter, this translates to a 2% impact.” This is valued at $20 000 per year.
· Return on customer pride
Word-of-mouth is a critical marketing tool especially if your customers tell their family, friends and colleagues about their purchase. So out of 100 sales, how many more referrals would one receive? Customers who love your product will spread a good word about their experience and will recommend you. The authors believe this will result in 1% new business generated from referrals, which equals: $10 000 per year.
This basically motivates – like I’ve alwayss been arguing in this news portal and my book,”De/constructing brand Africa: A Practitioner’s Perspective” – that the marketing for “Made in Africa” service and product brands should be sufficiently resourced so that they could compete successfully with the foreign brands that the African consumers cavort more with them than the former. I have repeatedly alluded to the annual brand Africa survey that when it was first launched In 2010, 34% of the “Top 100 Most Admired Brands in Africa” were of African origin, but now in 2022 the number has dwindled to only 10%.
Enjoy your weekend and please do enjoy your weekend and end it up on a high note by tuning into 101.9 Chai FM to listen to this weekend’s edition of “Sunset Serenade” that I have just previewed for you.
Saul Molobi (FCIM)
Publisher: Jambo Africa Online
Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: Brandhill Africa™
Tel: +27 11 759 4297
Mobile: +27 83 635 7773
Social Media: Twitter / Instagram / LinkedIn / Facebook / YouTube / Jambo Africa Online
Physical Address: 4th Floor, The Firs; Corner Bierman and Cradock Avenue; Rosebank; JOHANNESBURG; 2196.
RESEARCH. INNOVATE. RE/ENGINEER
– a pan African competitive identity and public diplomacy agency decorated with the “Best Brand Award” at the World Brand Congress’ “Brand Leadership Awards 2021” –
A Strategic Partner to UNISA Enterprises (Pty) Ltd
A Strategic Partner to Enterprises UP (University of Pretoria)
A Strategic Partner to Proudly South African (Proudly SA)
A Supporting Partner to the African Agri Council (AAC)
A member of the World Free Zones Organisation (World FZO)
A member of the African Tourism Board (ATB) and World Tourism Network (WTN)