To add "innovation" in the company's mission and vision statement and not in the mind of the consumer should be a criminal offence. It is indisputable that there is an influx of new brands entering the market probably daily and new ideas are transforming the consumers in just as many days. Although this gives the consumer a universal view of the world, it is this global outlook that gives flat-footed brands a headache and innovative brands an edge. (video)
With the year coming to a close, there has been a lot of activity geared towards winning over the consumer and some of it seems to have been driven by Darwin's Theory of Evolution while others went with on laissez faire la nature.
The following brands adapted very well for the year 2012, which is a decade in the mind of the consumer.
Fish Eagle Brandy (@FishEagleBrandy)
This South African brandy has successfully removed the ou-toppie-and-coke connotation to brandy. Throughout the year, urban youth culture events and timelines on social networks have been pleasantly inundated with branding from Fish Eagle Brandy.
The innovation: Pulling in Kasi Hip Hop icon Pro to be the face and ambassador of the brand. This resulted in a Hip Hop track specifically crafted on the perfect way to drink the brandy. It was then made available for free download. The brand went ahead to pull in young artists and personalities to either MC or perform in their glamorous, exclusive and strictly themed events. This has pulled a younger market to the product.
Capitec entered a room full of cigar smoke with three mafia families discussing vulgar ways of ripping off consumers. The Innovation: Although the bank introduced its innovative and, frankly, life-saving strategies before 2012. They introduced terminology such as "Zero transaction fees", "Cashback transactions" and "Fixed withdrawal fees regardless of the amount drawn or competitor ATM" in the general public's vocabulary. And the clincher was implementing these at a time when the aforementioned terms were blasphemous.
Castle Light's packaging innovation is good enough to replace that other new beer James Bond is drinking lately. It seems they release new "gadgetry" every two months.
The innovation: While most brands are still contemplating aesthetics, including SAB's other brands, the brand is making it ever easier to drink the beer. So far we have seen a perforated seal on bottles, a temperature indicator on both bottles and cans of every size and now a pull and twist tab on cans. When it was still sold under the name Silver Bullet, circa 3000BC, it failed miserably. It changed the name and without explanation it exploded. Today, it is a hit among drinkers.
Anglo American - Resources creating a better future
Mines have always had that air of antipathy around them in SA communities. Mines have brought food to the table but took away breadwinners with accidents or fathers leaving and never coming back. Recent incidents of strikes have exacerbated this negative perception.
The innovation: Anglo American came out with TVCs wielding emotional appeal to the nation. This happened way before the strikes and Marikana. They entered a public space, which most mines do not venture into as they stick to trade marketing activities. As to Anglo being aware ahead of time what was to come or pure coincidence, the campaign has been the only campaign running on national television for a mine for 2012.
The innovation: FNB had been named the most innovative bank in the world for 2012 by BAI - Financial Global Banking Innovation awards. If I say more I would be wasting your time really.
This brand occupies the list for being a listening brand. The "Can Do" campaign has picked up itself fast and now boasts a new easy-to-navigate website, a new talent competition to promote a "can do" attitude within the youth. Trade activities involving retailers, an increased volume in social media following and acquired association with ever-relevant Arthur Mafokate. This has resulted is a clearer presence within the target market, focused objectives and this is what other brands should be doing right now to be great next year, listen.
'Nomayini - The Mentality You Need Before You Start Any Business' is a business guide book based on township economy insights written for youth in the Townships. Banele Rewo - Entrepreneur, Author, Executive Producer and Founder of We Are Coming For Everything a social development company. CEO Raw Afrika Resources; a content producing agency and studio. Find entrepreneurial and substance abuse education on www.banelerewo.co.za . az.oc.gnihtyreverofgnimoceraew@elenab, Twitter @BaneleRewo