I watched the MD of Foshizi, Lebo Motshegoa, being interviewed on TV the other day and did some digging into who they are (hey, I have the time watch TV these days Greg!!). I'm really fascinated by the niche he's leveraging - township cultural knowledge. This was an idea I discussed with another township boy in one of the advertising agencies a couple years ago; the idea was simply - launch a research company that surfaces and provides intelligence on local township culture and trends to the rest of the advertising/marketing ecosystem.
Check out the following interesting and insightful links;
* Township lingo for well known brands (I think the list could be so much longer!!)
* "Credit Crunch" in the townships
* Go to their homepage, click on "Latest Insights", and check out "Products Become Remedy" - I found this so funny because it is so true! (Yus, I hate flash enabled/driven websites - yuk!)
Why is this such a huge opportunity? Well, because the black emerging middle class is the fastest growing segment and the least understood by businesses and their advertising/brand agencies... Reaching out to this enormous emerging base/class is a challenge if you don't "get them" - Foshizi does...but I would say you need to segment the various "townships" into the apartheid-type categorizations because there are racial verticals with unique and beautiful "township cultures"...language to dress code to slang to humour to buying trends to social activities...etc.
Lebo said the following that really resonates - (paraphrasing);
There are 3 types of township/emerging class folk:
1. Those that live in the townships because they have no choice
2. Those that live in the townships although they have a choice to live in the more affluent suburbs
3. Those that live in the affluent suburbs but spend a great deal/the majority of their time in the townships
He outlined the cultural differences category 2 & 3 of people still retain although now being the "black diamonds". There is so much more to explore in this regard and if you have ever grown up in a township...I'm sure you're nodding vigorously in agreement ;-)
Would be great to segment the rural/township culture by geography and race - i.e. Eldo's is so autonomous to Diepkloof...as Cape Town coloured folks are to those in Durban...or Eesterust, Pretoria.
Foshizi is an interesting company and I think understanding these emerging LSM's are critical to any marketing/brand campaigning. Localizing based on this knowledge could really drive a brand's/company's reach throughout South Africa. (Besides the fact that the data captured would be so interesting)
Last word: Lebo, please my brother...STOP USING FLASH TO BUILD YOUR WEBSITES; The Soweto website you've launched could be so much more discoverable and usable otherwise ;-(