Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology -

MAK­ING A POINT IN­CREAS­INGLY IN THE mod­ern world, con­sumers ex­pect the brands they sup­port to be good cit­i­zens. Their prod­ucts mustn’t be man­u­fac­tured by ex­ploit­ing Third World child labour. They mustn’t de­stroy the en­vi­ron­ment or, even bet­ter, they must make a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to re­build­ing it, or restor­ing en­dan­gered wildlife. They must be good cit­i­zens.

Suc­cess­ful brands are less likely than they were in the past to use ad­ver­tis­ing. To­day, con­sumers like to see their brands play­ing a use­ful role in so­ci­ety, per­haps by spon­sor­ing a sport or some other gen­er­ally ap­proved ac­tiv­ity. Brands are ex­pected to do well by do­ing good. What they do be­comes their ad­ver­tise­ment.

One of the sim­plest, yet most ef­fec­tive, ways that’s been achieved is the OUT­surance pointsmen. Dozens of them are on duty at peak traf­fic hours, help­ing to keep the traf­fic flow­ing in and around Jo­han­nes­burg, each a mov­ing bill­board for the in­sur­ance com­pany. .

The great thing about this ini­tia­tive is that the pointsmen ful­fil a real need and it’s a ser­vice en­tirely rel­e­vant to the brand. OUT­surance doesn’t need to ad­ver­tise or brag about the ser­vice. All they have to do it wait while their brand name be­comes im­printed on pass­ing mo­torists, who can’t fail to no­tice the pointsmen. While do­ing good for mo­torists OUT­surance is also cre­at­ing jobs.

It’s dif­fi­cult not to pass them without a feel­ing of good­will to­wards the com­pany. It has to be one of the best mar­ket­ing ideas of the past five years.

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