People that Wowed Us
1. Herculano Rodrigues
Rodrigues is the Associate Director of Javelin Group – an Accenture Strategy company that helps brands (particularly in retail) formulate and drive their digital transformation strategies. In his talk, he sketched a picture of retail in the year 2027 with a focus on creating customer centric, “living” businesses. What might have been just another speculation session turned out to be one of the most informative talks of the entire congress.
Amongst the technologies that will impact retail and commercial spaces are virtual reality, drones, autonomous vehicles, digital traceability and of course, artificial intelligence. But Rodrigues also called for retailers to consider a mind shift – to think more in terms of retail environments like our homes, bodies, families and work than specific online and brick-and-mortar spaces.
He cited that it was no longer enough for brands to create likeable experiences – they have to create experiences people love. In their extensive research, Accenture developed the sensationally titled Love Index, a formula for measuring customers’ feelings towards a brand. Following the mnemonic, F-R-E-S-H for fun, relevant, engaging, social and helpful, Rodrigues ranked 10 US companies – including Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Samsung and Amazon – as being the freshest of the lot.
He went on to suggest that to succeed in the future, it was vital for organisations to develop new business models to stay relevant by creating new assets in which services essentially replace products, and new revenue streams, like automated retail.
Rodrigues ended off his session with a vision of the future – one in which companies forged personal relationships with their customers and created living spaces rather than mere retail spaces, like hybrid grocery-restaurants, and spaces in which customers could access social services.
1. Sbu Ngwenya
The dominant trend at the SACSC conference this year seemed to be that brands aimed at target markets at the lower end of the economic spectrum would enjoy the lion’s share of the market in the near future. But then Sbu Ngwenya walked onto the stage – a lean 25-year-old cool dude with outlandish socks and a rags-to-riches story second to none. In just 5 years, he has built a luxury sock empire to rival Sweden’s Happy Socks and he’s only just getting started.
At 1.9 metres tall, he has always struggled to find trousers that went all the way down to his shoes. His solution: awesome socks! Ngwenya started out sourcing socks from various retailers and reselling them in his community at a profit. A natural networker, it wasn’t long until he had celebrities hashtagging his product and soon, Top Billing presenter Tumiso Masha offered to help him grow his business. By great good fortune, Ngwenya crossed paths with Richard Branson and the rest, as they say, is history.
But apart from his superb taste, innate ability to read his market and working his socks off – his heart’s in the right place. His brand is about community. One of the most satisfying things about his business, he says, is that it currently feeds 60 families.
Where he once charged R50 a pair for repackaged socks, today he designs and manufactures socks that fetch R300 a pair – and soon, you’ll find them at Markham stores nationwide.
So, as Sbu Ngwenya dreams of one day owning the biggest cotton plantation in the world, who’s to stop him?
If you’d like to know more about how your business can benefit from the latest retail design trends – or would like to explore how you can successfully navigate the retail landscape in the current economic climate – why not contact Tanya at TDC&Co on 0711341146