Just Brands Africa was founded in 2013 by Francois van Louw, bringing his hands-on marketing and entrepreneurial experience to established brands and businesses seeking new ways to communicate with their audiences.
Francois van Louw, MD at Just Brands Africa.
Van Louw explains that other than just developing and executing creative marketing campaigns for organisations, Just Brands Africa saw gaps in the market in two different industries. The first being the blended learning industry, where using their skills in content creation and video production and combining it with their software development skills, they created an all-in-one service learning management system and blended learning solution called SOCO_ED
The second part of the business is GoBinge
. "This is based on a video-on-demand model, where we conceptualise, produce and distribute various web series’ geared towards the South African youth market. These shows are short, digitally consumed shows that have multiple seasons and are perfect for on-the-go consumption when commuting or even late evening series binging," he says.
Here, Van Louw elaborates on the company's four-phase approach and how they've grown their offering during lockdown, assisting students and delivering quality education to a large number of future leaders in South Africa.
Please elaborate and tell us about your business model and the four-phase approach you use.
The business is based on two things, experience over books and attitude over qualifications. No task is too big and no task is too small. In South Africa, we need to adapt our approach to ensure that we can service various sized businesses, whilst maintaining quality for all customers when doing so.
Through our experience, we tend to find that phases limit the agileness of the business and its employees. We, therefore, believe that phases need to be guidelines, instead of being a solid set of steps when it comes to internal business processes.
In a creative and digital space, governance tends to create a disconnect between on-the-go deliverables and timeframes. Today's world and market are all about instant gratification, and this is close to impossible to achieve when you try to add too many processes.
How has your business been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns?
Lockdown has actually impacted the business in a positive way. It has expedited projects that were in the pipeline and seen us grow our offering into the online education space, with great results.
It has also allowed the business to provide back to South Africa by helping to educate students who did not have access to high-quality educational content prior to our platform.
Further to this, our online content has seen a boom in its audience during the lockdown period that had many South Africans looking far and wide for new forms of online entertainment.
What is your message to other local businesses during these uncertain times?
It is important to keep your business as agile as possible so that your business can pivot when an opportunity arises. Over and above this, it is important to make sure that your current clients are supported in these times and therefore we need to make sure that we go above and beyond for them, it is partly our goal to keep them in business, so we can continue to service them once the dust has settled.
What makes your business proudly South African?
Focusing the largest part of our business towards education will allow us to deliver quality education to a large number of future leaders in South Africa.
Over and above this, we will continue to make a concerted effort to develop new talent in the entertainment space with our GoBinge online content platform.
What's next for you and the agency?
We aim to grow our business towards the online education space in Africa over the next couple of years, by assisting and partnering with leading education providers throughout the continent.
We are also in the process of developing a range of new online shows on GoBinge, and are looking to partner with brands that intend to reach their target audience in a unique but highly effective manner.For more information, visit the Just Brands Africa website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram and connect with Van Louw on LinkedIn.