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Ackermans centenary is all about the customer

The Ackermans centenary celebration has taken the form of celebrating its customers’ stories instead of its own. In a move to show why it has achieved a centenary of success, Ackermans shared real-life stories of the brand’s place in the lives of its customers.

‘When Gus Ackerman opened the first Ackermans store in Wynberg, Cape Town in 1916,’ said Raynard Potgieter, Buying Director at Ackermans South Africa, ‘he focused his effort on bringing real value to the lives of their customers at a price that they could afford. To this day, nothing has changed; we have only extended our value offering into new technologies and services like cellular, bill payments and even funeral cover.’

In order to collect these heart-felt customer stories, a marketing effort was rolled out via social media for Ackermans customers to share their memories… and the country responded.

‘We were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stories we received. In fact, the biggest challenge was narrowing down the pool to just three,’ said Janine van Deventer, Marketing Manager at Ackermans South Africa. “Working closely with our agency, 99c, we selected the stories we believed they could do justice to.’

The filmed versions all feature actors, but the customers had the right of approval. They also highlight the fact that Ackermans has carved a niche for itself in the lives of mothers and caretakers of children.

‘We have opened over 500 stores since that first Wynberg store,’ said Louise Hamman, Marketing Director, ‘but we have never lost sight of the truth that ‘you are nothing without your customer’. In terms of business models, we have refined our logistics from management all the way through to how many staff are on the store floor, in order to keep prices low.’ Hamman concluded, ‘In a world where recession is a looming reality, we are proud to say that we’re ready for the next 100 years.’

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