Creating brand awareness and keeping costs low

In 2017, I helped launch two FMCG brands, taking their products from concept to shelf. The challenge was to find innovative ways to get the product in front of the target market, whilst keeping costs low. As marketers, we’ve all experienced navigating a marketing budget that squeezes your Rolls-Royce dreams, into a Volkswagen reality. Perhaps you’re a marketing manager, or perhaps you’re launching your own brand?, Either way, you’ve probably experienced the pressure to deliver impact, whilst keeping your costs low.

Bringing two brands to the South African market in 2017 offered up the following insights.

GET INTO Subscription Boxes

This proved a quick and surprisingly effective way to reach the target audience. Why? Well, the subscription box, lets call it The Brand Box, has already built up a customer base and an online following, and it’s thrilled that you’re offering them free product. Make sure their audience fits your target customer and make contact. Negotiate online coverage on their social media channels, as well as placement in their mailer and blog post. Coverage and engagement with your target audience, in exchange for free product? Done!

A few South African Subscription Boxes

Fond of Jane – a quarterly box full of new fashion, food and lifestyle products

The Gin Box – a monthly box for the ultimate gin lover

Beebee Box – a monthly box of kid-friendly products



be at Smaller, more frequent events

While the bigger sports events pull massive crowds, the smaller and more frequent events, seem to have a more engaged audience. There is also more room to negotiate and tailor a deal that offers better exposure for the brand. Not only do large sporting events demand free product, but also charge a price to pack them. Smaller, more frequent events provide a great platform to connect with your target audience on a regular basis. Negotiate that your logo go onto event marketing material, is present at the actual event and if you can get a speaking slot, even better!

Some events to get you started

Girl Geek Dinner – a monthly dinner for fabulous female entrepreneurs and businesswomen

Heavy Chef – a monthly event (in JHB and CT) where inspiring entrepreneurs share stories


use Micro-Influencers

If you’re new to the game, power-influencers come with hefty fees, exclusivity deals and in some cases, full-time managers. Wait for it; a campaign that involves 1 post on Instagram, from 10 different individuals, could set you back R75 000. Great, you’ve just blown all of your marketing budget on 10 Instagram stories … which disappear after 24 hours. Fantastic. Not only this, but their feed is a stream of sponsored posts and you’ll find your brand competing with a lot of other brands. Your drop quickly becomes lost in a 15 second insta-story on the latest pile of press drops.

Reach out to blogger networks and find out if anyone is interested in offering coverage, for product. Be clear that there’s no budget and you’ll be grateful for any coverage they can offer. Seek out new influencers, who are keen to build relationships with brands. They tend to go the extra mile and while their audiences are smaller, there’s an argument that they’re more engaged. Review them and identify ones that will be a good fit and start building those relationships.

Where to start? 

South African Blogger Network

South African Youtubers

SPREAD THE Marketing Budget

Don’t plough all your marketing budget into one big event, or worse, a static billboard somewhere. Rather select a wider spread of smaller channels, that offer targeted and more meaningful exposure. In fact, all marketers should take this approach, don’t aim for reach, aim for value.

Hope these ideas help you do more, with less.


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