Strategy consulting: Strong consumer-directed communication for total turnaround and revitalisation of the Rand Show
Companies would deploy a turnaround strategy to change direction and their way of doing things significantly, or to counteract negative issues, such as declined popularity or profitability. Communication is perhaps the single most important contributing factor to successful turnaround.
The Rand Show, often also referred to as the Rand Easter Show, is an annual consumer-directed show or exhibition held in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is regarded as the largest in the world, outside of America, and it attracts more than half a million visitors annually. It is also more than a century old.
The challenge at hand
The Rand Show’s popularity waned from once being a notable, favourite national regional calendar institution, to being poorly attended due to a number of negative perceptions of exhibitors, as well as the general public. Dogan Trading bought the Show from its former owners and appointed Stone in 2010 to develop a turnaround communication strategy with engagement activities that spanned over three years, towards 2012. The objective was to popularise the Show again and to restore it to its former status of a family-favourite and national calendar institution.
Stone’s approach to meeting the need
Drawing on solid international experience, Stone applied its Pebble Ring Thinking© methodology to develop a fully-integrated turnaround communication strategy that was predominantly consumer-directed and used communication as a strategic tool to drive and support the latest business goals. During this process, Stone took all the negative perceptions that existed in the market place into full consideration and carefully planned how to overcome them. Once the strategic development process was completed and approved by Rand Show’s management, Stone assisted with implementation of the turnaround activities recommended for the first year. Among others, this meant getting involved with the actual essence of the Show, deciding what should be exhibited, what the custom offering was, how to position it, determining the longevity, and communicating and marketing it. In addition, Willem Eksteen, Stone CEO, acted as the media spokesperson and conducted media interviews on behalf of the Rand Show. In fact, Stone’s involvement reached above and beyond the mandate to help build the right image and perception of the Rand Show.
Results achieved and value added for Rand Show
The widely published 2010 Easter event that Stone coordinated, was the first milestone in a longer and sustainable strategic route to reposition the event as Africa’s leading consumer showcase. It also reinstated its status as the wholesome family-calendar event of choice in the region. Stone managed to make the brand sexy again and enabled it to deliver on the consumer platform promise, providing an exciting Gauteng event that will continue to not only entertain people from the province, but will also increase national interest in Gauteng as a consumer tourist destination for the Easter holidays. It once again became the ideal platform for these partners to engage with consumers, do brand activations, launch new products, showcase innovative ideas and do direct consumer sales to drive revenue.