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Provantage Media Group boosts township economies and promotes multinational brands with Spaza Media™

Through BBEEE initiatives, South African corporations are tasked with building more sustainable businesses and playing a greater role in economic transformation. This often presents a challenge: how can a business comply in a way that protects or enhances their competitiveness, while also realising value for their shareholders, customers, value chain partners and the communities in which they operate?

Proactive has identified an opportunity for an enterprise development program that moves beyond value chain strategies, and instead takes a strategic approach that both creates positive social impact and drives business value from other expenditure. The result: Spaza Media™.

Rethinking Spaza branding

Township economies promote and foster job creation and entrepreneurship, especially in rural, peri-urban and urban residential townships – in other words, where most South Africans live. Informal spaza shops form an integral and vital part of these economies. They are critical contributors of local food security, self-employment and community cohesion.

However, spaza shops often fail to reach their full potential due to a lack of business skills, access to funding, exploitation, and limited regulatory support.

Through Spaza Media™, Proactive seeks to transform the township and rural retail market by helping small enterprises like spaza shops flourish into bigger and more sustainable businesses, and by increasing the participation of black-owned SMMEs within the spaza branding supply chain.

‘Spazas are really at the heart of the community: people see them every day, and shop there every day,’ says Makhetsi Phakoa, Head of Client Service and Sales for PMG’s Proactive division. ‘We want to transform media opportunities within these communities, while also bringing them value.’

Rethinking spaza branding

Typically, spaza branding is cluttered, with multiple brands competing for space and little opportunity for brand dominance. Media owners have little or no relationship with store owners, who receive at best inconsistent remuneration. There is typically only limited maintenance of the branding (if any), and it can easily be removed or vandalised.

PMG’s vision is to transform this, drawing on their media expertise and local spaza network. Instead of a storefront cluttered with multiple brands, Spaza Media™ enters into agreements with owners to create a powerful media space, featuring a single brand, and offering price and promotion opportunities.

In developing this offering, Spaza Media™ recruits SMMEs to oversee the creation of branding and manage the media rentals paid to the spaza owner. These businesses are also tasked with carrying out bi-monthly or monthly visits to ensure that branding remains fresh throughout a campaign.

The spaza owner therefore benefits from sustained income and an improved shopfront, which Phakoa argues should drive incremental sales. At the same time, enterprise development is fostered within the spaza value chain.

And, in keeping with their commitment to sustainable enterprise development, Proactive will help to develop spaza owners’ business skills by providing access to training, as well as branded workshops and conferences, through the PMG Academy.

Brand benefits

Spaza Media™ offers brands several benefits. It takes them deep into the township economy, where they gain access to an impactful media space. This offers high visibility of product along the consumer’s route to point of purchase, (usually a high traffic zone), along with well-maintained branding and total dominance of the storefront.

Spaza Media™ also offers monthly reporting on the implementation of campaigns via an end-to-end business app. This allows for data collection, and brands have the opportunity to conduct instore research. These offerings can further be combined with point-of-sale elements, and/or activations through Proactive.

Proactive has already secured over 1000 spaza stores in eight provinces, and Spaza Media™ has successfully rolled out multinational brand campaigns across a significant number of these stores.

Perhaps most important, however, is that this offering means that media spend ultimately works to empower sustainable business development and contributes towards Economic Development points in the company’s score card. This is a way to meet the challenge originally stated: to play a role in creating more sustainable businesses and further economic transformation, while providing an effective media solution for reaching township consumers.

‘It’s an opportunity to be where the people are, support sustainable businesses and to make an impact in the lives of the community,’ says Phakoa.

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