The clutter-cutting concept was developed and expedited by Ingwe Communications, a Durban-based FCB South Africa Group agency specialising in research, brand health monitoring, new product development and promotions in the emerging market.
Ingwe Communications Account Manager Michelle Skea says the Rajah activation programme was designed to dovetail with the brand's above-the-line communication and thereby deliver a consistent message through different channels. "Our proposal was basically that Rajah should gain 'ownership' of the route which Soweto residents followed on their way home from work. After an often tiring, stressful day, everyone looks forward to the joy and comfort of homecoming and a delicious home-cooked meal. By harnessing these positive emotions with the brand, we believed consumers would associate Rajah with distinctive and delicious meals, and thus activate the notion that Rajah is the real reason for coming home. This is linked strongly to Rajah's above-the-line communication and its positioning."
Key aspects of the 'Rajah Brings You Home' campaign were to increase brand awareness and establish a major brand presence in and around the target area, Skea continues. "The idea of identifying and rebranding popular and successful eateries in the Soweto area was innovative and powerful, as this would create a strong and direct connection with the consumer, bolster consumer involvement as well as heighten the relevance and local feel of the campaign as a whole.
"It was important to supplement the endorsement attained through eatery rebranding with street sign advertisements, to give a local feel, and street pole ads to raise visibility and invite patrons to visit the restaurants," Skea says.
Twenty suitable eateries were identified for rebranding. In each case, food is prepared in a home-type environment, so diners have the sense that they are sharing a meal with loved ones.
Exterior Rajah branding applied by the Ingwe team included personalised signage above the premises (usually located within the restaurateur's home, garage or ancillary building), and custom illuminated signage on the pavement.
Interior branding ranged from Rajah-themed menuboards to giant pots, napkins, take-away polystyrene containers, aprons and oven gloves. All items bear the Rajah logo.
(The intention is for the signage to be permanent and the branded consumables replenished annually.)
According to Skea, complementary shades of red and brown were used to create warm and welcoming environments, which helped whet consumers' appetite and desire for a soul-food type experience.
"Because each restaurant is unique and forms part of a home within a residential area, we had to be careful and considerate about where we placed the branded signage, while obviously ensuring it was as effective as it could be," Skea remarks. "I believe we succeeded in balancing the needs of the restaurant (and the Rajah brand) and the residential portion of each venue."
The entire campaign took one month from printing of branded material to erection of signage.
One of the most rewarding aspects is the fact that the Rajah brand and the eatery owners experience mutual benefits. The restaurateurs say awareness of their establishment has soared, thereby positively increasing sales. They feel that this is because of the professional appearance created by the branding, which is attractive and inviting to consumers.
"During a recent visit to all the eateries it was wonderful to see the goodwill that had been instilled among the community, as well as the overwhelming gratitude expressed by the eatery owners to Rajah. This can only benefit the brand going forward by entrenching consumer loyalty," concludes Brand Manager, Lebogang Manyaka.