Earlier this year, Wunderman Thompson SA announced the appointment of Tshego Tshukutswane to its executive team as group chief strategy officer. Tshukutswane joined this month succeeding Moagi Bodibe, who has taken up independent consulting.ByJessica Tennant
While StatsSA's latest figures show retail trade falling 3.5% year-on-year from 2019 to 2020, continuing a 10-month downward spiral, South Africa's retailers are starting to show signs of adapting to the needs of the changing market.
To meet a demand in the brand activation and client service industry for highly skilled brand ambassadors, Michelle Combrinck, CEO and founder of Zinto Marketing Group (Zinto), recently launched Zenzele Educational Doorway (Zenzele), a brand ambassador training and incubation centre for future brand ambassadors and client service professionals.
Zenzele means ‘Do it for yourself’ in isiXhosa, and is indicative of the need for youth to become active jobseekers and opportunity creators as youth unemployment remains a crisis. By launching Zenzele, Zinto is addressing the need for education and youth self-employment and this is achieved by instilling self-confidence, promoting self-esteem and self-discipline to help them adapt and meet the expectations of the working world as entrepreneurs or as employees.
“The youth can no longer sit back and wait for government to create much-needed work, but instead with some self-confidence and the support to identify their own skills and creative ability, they can go out and make opportunities work for themselves in a variety of industry sectors where good client services and sales are always a valued skill (and in short supply),” Combrinck comments.
In South Africa, there are no advertising and marketing institutions offering certified and dedicated courses with a specialisation in brand activation and experiential marketing and there is limited access to industry-specific training and workbooks relevant to the local market.
For this reason, Zinto identified an opportunity to compile a comprehensive brand activation textbook that covers all aspects of the practical applications of client services in the branded entertainment space.
Combrinck has great passion for creating youth employment, especially those with a talent in the performing arts, and has made a commitment to develop talented performers and give them the necessary platforms to kick-start their careers.
She has taken the next step to develop a formal training course that is SETA-accredited completing the first module which includes various topics, inter alia: Marketing, Research, Brand Activation and Sales, Word of Mouth Marketing, Experiential Campaigns, Public Relations, Social Media Marketing, Economic Development, Human Resources, Branded Entertainment, The benefits of a Personal Marketing Culture, The Agency: What is an ad agency and its structure? What does an account executive do? What are their roles and responsibilities? What are the key characteristics of a great account manager?
Zenzele educators and students
“By launching Zenzele, we are addressing the need for education and youth employment head-on. Over the years we have identified a gap in the market for professional marketers and recruit in ekasi (townships). These ‘new suburbs’ are a hotbed of talent hoping for a ‘golden ticket’ and the chance to earn an income. Many of these individuals possess the latent physical and practical skills needed to execute campaigns and sell products to consumers via the performing arts. What they lack – the theoretical and practical applications of sales and marketing – can be taught coupled with computer skills, business etiquette, building self-esteem, and the confidence to take a leap of faith between their ordinary life and the working world,” says Combrinck.
Combrinck has appointed Thembeka Xipu, as the project manager of the training and incubation centre assisted by Thobile Lephondo, Peter Rolland, Eddie Matladi and Duke Maseko.
Xipu, who has won two Provincial Teachers Awards and has 15 years’ experience in education comments, “Many matriculants enter colleges or universities after school to study various courses but many cannot find their way into these institutions, so where do they acquire life and business skills, and what becomes of them? Although Zenzele is not a university or college, it acts as a springboard – towards a formal qualification or business prospects and the possibility to earn an income and become economically active citizens.”
In 2017, Zenzele will open its doors to 1,000 learners and the SETA-accredited course and text book will be available free of charge to students accepted for the 2017 programme.
For more information contact Michelle Combrinck of Zinto on 011 553 1000 or visit www.zinto.co.za
Zinto is a one-stop activation shop that creates tailor-made campaigns from strategy and development to full execution and campaign feedback.
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