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Creating a balance in the digital era

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Creating a balance in the digital era

There’s still room for print!

Head of Strategy and Public Relations at the Dialogue Group, Thabo Modise fears there are certain setbacks in the digital industry.

“Ever since the introduction of the theory or the myth of digitalization, we found a lot of our corporate identities claiming to go digital in their marketing campaigns. This has really affected the print industry,” Modise told Voice Money this week.

He feels the world needs to be careful when considering going digital, lest the larger part of the population is left behind.

“The analogy and the facts are that the larger part of our population is people who are middle to low income earners and these people find it easily accessible to use print platforms,” he emphasized, adding that with the digital world there is lot that needs to be considered and understood, including the demographical model.

“For example, if you are talking about construction of a road, that is going to affect the people within a certain area. Likewise, if you are going to do a full digital campaign, that is not answering the call to action.”

He is quick to stress that the most appropriate channels are likely to be print in order to reach the target audience.

According to Modise, there should be a common marketing understanding on when to use digital and when to use print.

“This is to say, corporate leaders should not hide behind the fact that the world is going digital, but understand what the audience consume is not the same and what kind of language appeals to them.”

Modise says everyone seem to be excited by the notion that the world is going digital, while it is not explained in detail ‘why digital’.

“That is why I am saying you need to have a target segment when you think of any campaign or using any mode of communication,” explained Modise.

He says direct messaging channeled through demographical models that are done through digital is effective on digital platforms.

“But generalized messaging where you need a spread message to people at home, then you have to use print channels.”

Modise says currently print is taking a beating because of the digitalization craze that has come into play, but says they do not understand what really informed the world to go full digital.

He says this disadvantages other segments of society, particularly in the rural areas where they are unlikely to receive the message sent through digital due to lack of access to such platforms.

“Segmented messaging is very important and it does not mean you do not have to use the core pillar of communication being print. Print media is capable of reaching places that are beyond digital stretch!”

He says it important to communicate in such a way that the message is not impacted by the fact that there is an ideology of digitalization.

“We are saying all the mediums need to be used in sync, they should work together, not against each other,” says Modise, adding attention should be paid on how the two mediums are used.

Moreover, he says a myth of reshaping versus shaping should be broken.

“We are not reshaping, we are shaping, that is why I am saying when people said there is digitalization, everyone thought they are reshaping, but you are not reshaping and not being impactful. But what you need to do is to shape.

“So, when we shape let’s also factor in the fact that all we need to do is make a fine tweak to allow for even distribution of using our networks and not compromise what could be the job of another person,” concluded Modise.

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Battling for booze

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Battling for booze

Liquor industry wants alcohol sale ban lifted

Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) is lobbying for government to follow the example of neighbouring countries and lift the ban on alcohol sales.

Their main reasoning being that citizens who live close to the border may be tempted to sneak out of the country in their desperation to buy liquor. They note this would be detrimental to the economy as well posing a serious health hazard.

The Association Chairman, Mothusi Molokomme told Voice Money they believe the ban – in place since 27 March – should be lifted to allow the public to purchase alcohol and consume it at home.

As much as the main focus is for bottle stores and wholesalers to open for trade, Molokomme revealed they also want bars to be opened, noting they are the only centres of distribution in some of the country’s remoter areas.

He stressed that bars should be allowed to operate on a ‘takeaway’ basis but only after they satisfy Covid-19 prevention protocols.

“The main worry is that there will be loitering around the bars. But it is our belief that operators will strictly adhere to the regulations and allow for takeaways only,” stated Molokomme.

The Chairman pointed to the recent surge in homebrews as indication that the ban should be lifted.

During the period of lockdown, the police have recorded escalating cases of homebrews, which in some instances have even led to the loss of drinkers’ lives.

“There is also a regional factor because South Africa has announced it will be opening next week. Namibia is opening as well and Zambia has always remained opened and because of our porous borders, we may see the illegal coming in of liquor,” continued Molokomme.

He said areas located along the borders of these countries pose a threat to liquor contraband.

While the association advocates for the ban to be lifted, he says as the industry, they will also intensify their message for safer consumption and promote good behaviour among consumers to exercise precautionary measures.

“We are hoping that we will reach an agreement. It will be difficult to convince government when it comes to opening of bars, but we cannot sideline the bars because, in some areas they are the only available points of sale,” reiterated Molokomme, who doubles as the Managing Director of Distell Botswana.

The association was scheduled to meet with the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Peggy Serame this week to map a way forward regarding the sale of alcohol.

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Business

Crafting a new life

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Crafting a new life

The Enterprising Welder Me and My Business

Absorbed and happy in his work as a car mechanic, an unlikely request from a client three years ago changed the course of 35-year-old Bokamoso Selthabi’s life forever.

The self-taught welder now designs and makes various products from metal, including troughs, trailers, cages, kraal fences and other farm implements.

Having initially set-up shop in the North West of South Africa, his home of three years, the Morwa native retraced his steps back to Botswana to continue Bucha Rest Welding.

Recalling the meeting that altered his existence, Setlhabi told Voice Money he was working as a mechanic when a customer asked him to build a trailer for him.

“I made the product for him. After that he brought two more guys wanting my services. From there it grew into a fully-fledged business,” he explained.

“The business has now been running for two years based in South Africa. It is only at the beginning of this year that we relocated to Botswana,” continued the multi-talented craftsman, adding he briefly explored the Namibian market as well.

While he is still new to the local market, with much of that time blanketed by Covid-19 restrictions, Selthabi admits he is yet to reach a point where he can say business is as good as it was in South Africa.

“So far it has been a bit difficult locally. Some of the products that we do like metal kraals are still not highly rated here but we are working hard to market such products as a good alternative to wooden kraals,” he noted, a steely determination evident in his tone.

Setlhabi explained that one of the perceived disadvantages of products like metal kraals is because the metal conducts heat.

However, he points out that this can be overcome by simply applying paint.

“The good thing about it is that it is durable and lasts longer than other materials used to construct kraals,” he highlighted.

Despite the current low uptake of his products, the enterprising welder is optimistic his fortunes will soon turn around.

“It is promising because, when you work with customers who are not used to what you are doing, you have to carry out extensive marketing of your products. We hope when life goes back to normal after the pandemic there will be some improvement,” he said, adding that items such as feeding containers have proved popular and are in demand.

“We also have customers waiting across the country,” he added.

Other challenges – and the one Setlhabi describes as his biggest – is copycats who attempt to duplicate his work ‘but often fail to match my skills’.

“We have social media pages where we post our products. People would want to do exactly the same but often do not succeed because our designs are unique and the quality is top-notch,” said the National Craft Certificate (NCC) holder proudly.

As the business is still at infancy stage, he has engaged one person to assist but hopes as the enterprise grows he will be able to employ more.

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