Soweto-based PR Agency Founder Shares how Township-based Businesses Should be Selling Themselves

This article forms part of SME South Africa’s Township Entrepreneurship series. In the month of October we will explore the complexities, challenges and success stories of the township entrepreneurship ecosystem.

 

Proudly sell what you know, says Jabulile Mqoqi, adding that failure to recognise their Unique Selling Point (USP) is one of the biggest mistakes she sees township-based businesses make in terms of marketing themselves or their brands.

Mqoqi is the founder of J Communications, a creative PR and marketing agency specialising in corporate PR, entertainment PR, brand strategy and artist management, with a particular focus on township-based businesses.

Her clients include The Box Shop, the business incubator promoting up-and-coming Soweto-based clothing and design brands, based on Vilakazi Street in Soweto. NikNaks and the Spar Women’s Race have also made use of her services. She also represents the hip hop artist, Kay-E.

“We always strive to be authentic, creative and put together winning strategies for our clients.”

The agency is also filling a real gap, she says: they are targeting brands that previously would not have benefited from any kind of professional marketing and communication services.

“[We want] to help our South African artists and brands grow. Most brands don’t have marketing- or PR budgets or have little understanding about public relations, that’s where J Communications steps in to educate, grow and build brands.”

Mqoqi took the leap into entrepreneurship in 2017 after working previously as an account executive for three radio stations, including YFM.

“After five years working as a radio account executive – I was inspired to help young brands and our South African artists take their business to the next level,” she shares.

The Box Shop on Vilakazi Street, Soweto. Image: Supplied

Mqoqi shares her advice for how township entrepreneurs should market themselves. 

Sell what you know

Firstly Soweto to be specific is the market I understand – so it’s easy to sell to a market you understand.

So, working from the township is gold because I get to experience the lifestyle every day. I know my market I know how to sell this market to brands that want to tap in to this lucrative market.

Change the narrative

It’s difficult running a PR & Marketing agency in the township but I want to change the narrative, and by changing that narrative we need to prove that we can deliver great work with professionalism and on time – there’s a old saying: the customer is KING. It’s so true – our clients are kings, without them we tell a different story.

Sell the story

The Box Shop is a brand that speaks volumes on its own, it’s a creative and authentic brand.  I always pitch the stories behind The Box Shop – people buy stories, relationships and magic – storytelling is king.

Why township-based businesses need to make use of PR/Communications services

The benefits are:

  • Public Relations builds up credibility for organizations.
  • Establishes a good reputation in the market.
  • Generates qualified leads in times of a crisis in an organization – PR specialists create a positive public image and minimize the damage.
  • Good for brand building and for the brand to remain top of mind.

The top 3 marketing/branding mistakes most township-based businesses make

  • Township–based businesses still think their brands speak to everyone – find your target market.
  • Not investing in marketing and branding – brand building is important especially for SMEs.
  • Understanding target market – it is important to have an understanding of our demographics and how to convey the message to that specific market.

I am inspired by

I’m inspired by Cheri Yase Kasi, SJN Agency and African Star Communications. The gents from ‘I See a Different You’ are doing great work, plus they are from Pimville which is really cool.

 

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Lebohang Thulo
Lebohang Thulo
Lebohang Thulo is the editor of SME South Africa. She enjoys keeping up with the country’s exciting and fast developing entrepreneurship ecosystem. You can find her at @lelele3