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Boomtown assists Mashesha Stoves develop its purposeful brand

Mashesha Stoves approached Boomtown to assist with its marketing after receiving an R100 000 grant to increase awareness of its innovative stove and its benefits. Mashesha Stoves are scientifically engineered to provide clean, safe and an environmentally conscious way to cook. Initially designed for use in rural communities, it is also a convenient way to cook in urban areas with schools also benefitting from the innovation as well as forming part of corporate CSR initiatives to uplift individuals and communities.

The brief given to Boomtown was to assist in the development of the brand, the marketing strategy and marketing material which has elements that need to be easily understood by those who are illiterate. ‘This meant we split the target market and altered the communication method for each,’ remarked Boomtown Account Director, Anina Pienaar. ‘There are a multitude to applications for the stoves from educating those in developing communities and giving them access through distribution as part of corporate CSI initiatives, targeting Principals and the Department of Education to assist in school feeding programmes, as well as city dwellers who want a cleaner more environmentally way to braai or cook potjie.’

Talking about the birth of the Mashesha Stoves, Louise Williamson who is the mind behind the product said, ‘Spending 17 years working in rural communities on sustainable living projects, I found out that over 12 000 schools rely on wood to prepare food for over nine million hungry learners as part of the national nutrition programme. The schools use semi-enclosed shelters and exposed to huge amounts of smoke, which leads to a myriad of health issues. Additional to this is that in most cases native timber is being used, which leads to major deforestation, biodiversity loss and increased emission of CO2. The Mashesha stove is a solution, addressing social, environmental and economic issues.’

With this knowledge, Boomtown created a solution that addressed the problem, explained the benefit and encouraged the adoption of the Mashesha stove to help the environment through reducing the consumption of wood, by emitting less smoke and assisting ladies in the community. ‘The ladies tasked with cooking and collecting wood can cook more food, faster with the Mashesha which means less time gathering wood and cooking, and less smoke means less illness,’ added Williamson. ‘By reducing time spent cooking for family and collecting wood means they have more time to do other things such as empowering themselves by starting a small business and selling the food they cook.’

Part of the brief was to assist Williamson in her long-term goal of creating a community of ‘Amashesha People’, especially in the rural areas. These people who use the Mashesha Stove will not only be able to make a living from it by using it for cooking food and selling on the roadside, by they will also be valuable brand ambassadors.

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