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The Brand Connection Wild Activations and Broadcasts

The Brand Connection saw the need for community radio stations to be able to hire Outside Broadcast vehicles as the cost of buying them can be prohibitive and is not feasible. Two years ago the decision was taken to build its first van to rent to community stations when they needed it.

According to outside broadcast manager Bevan Milne, The Brand Connection didn’t go the traditional route of construction on the van where the back of the van is closed off for technicians. He added, ‘We wanted an open feel to the van, so we put a lot of thought and design into the van in this regard.’

One of the key features which the team at The Brand Connection wanted to accomplish was giving community stations a commercial-grade OB van to give them a professional look and feel on-site. Operations manager, Simon Mile added, ‘This is exactly what we did, by getting equipment that was to international standards. Once we had completed the first van it became an instant hit with the stations, and was on the road three to four times a week and being used by numerous radio stations including Jozi FM, Alex FM, North West FM, Tuks FM, Soshanguve FM and many more. This van has been called the “Rhino”.

Clients love the open feel of the van and the quality of audio being produced form the van. The level of technological sophistication assists the radio stations and clients in achieving professional broadcasts with the result that they are becoming more confident in the community radio sector with regard to Outside broadcasts. Bevan added, ‘This was a great feeling for us as we felt that we were really helping community stations on-site.’

After a year of the OB van running, a second, bigger van was added. The ‘Elephant’ was designed with the aim of being the best OB van in the country and The Brand Connection believes that it has achieved that. Said Gary Laidler, broadcast specialist, ‘We have not held back on anything. It features six 32-inch TV’s, DSTV and many more extras. This van has also done very well with our top-end clients. It has been used for a number of different events including a lot of government work around the country.’

That is by no means the end. Bevan added, ‘We are now on the go to build our latest van, the “Buffalo”. This will be a very basic van, no frills and no extras. It is being designed specifically for radio stations that want to promote themselves and have small budgets, but it will still give them the same quality of audio. This van will make its broadcast debut early 2015.’

That is still not the end. The Brand Connection is intent on offering the ultimate outside broadcast service available in the South African market, if not the whole of Africa. Simon added, ‘Our latest purchase is the “Lion”. This is a 3m by 3m mobile studio with a full 360 degree viewing of the presenters doing their thing. It is perfect for mall broadcasting or any space where the vans can’t go. What’s really nice about the Lion is that it has a 70 percent branding space for clients. Giving the client maximum exposure on the job. We have done a couple of jobs with the Lion and clients and radio stations are overwhelmed with it. This will be used primarily for Brand Activations but can also be used for outside broadcasts.’

The Brand Connection also has its own Sentech channel which is used for doing multi casts. Most radio stations in the country have the Sentech bouquet available to them and The Brand Connection uses this for government work or big marketing campaigns. It broadcasts to the whole of South Africa on this platform but, from 1 December, its platform has been extended to the whole of Africa. This means that it can now broadcast anywhere on the continent.

With four of the Big Five giving voice to the messages which are important to Africa, the Brand Connection really is taking outside broadcasting to the wild side.

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