Nestle hiring 1 000 robots as clerks

3389274228The first batch of the robots – a chatty humanoid called Pepper – will report to work by the end of this year at outlets that sell coffee capsules and home espresso machines.

“From December, they will start selling coffee machines for us at big retail stores,” said Nestle Japan spokeswoman Miki Kano.

“We are sure that our customers will enjoy shopping and being entertained by robots.”

Pepper – which has already been at work, chatting with customers at wireless giant SoftBank’s outlets – has proved an effective marketing tool for the Japanese mobile carrier, delighting managers who put it to work collecting customer opinions.

The 120-centimetre (four-foot) tall robot, which moves on rollers and has what looks like a tablet computer strapped to its chest, was unveiled in June by SoftBank president Masayoshi Son.

He billed it as an “emotional” robot that understands “70 to 80 percent of spontaneous conversations”.

Pepper is set to go on the market from February for about $2 000 (R21 700) apiece. – Sapa-AFP

What is Branding?

Your brand enables you to control how information is perceived and what impression it makes on your customers.

As the old saying goes, ‘First impressions always last’.
We believe that “You don’t get a second chance to make the first impression”, we believe you need to put your best foot forward.

Our brand solutions clearly stand out in the clutter of brands. Our team creates brands that break the rules and catch the audience’s attention by their unique creativity and skill.

First True Religion store opens in Sandton City

IMG_0108Johannesburg, South Africa. – No more shopping online and paying hundreds of rands to ship those sought after True Religion jeans from America to your home.

The True Religion store is finally opening in Sandton City saving local fashionista’s lots of money. That’s right. Whether it’s the jeans, the fabulous accessories like the handbag, hat, belt or the yummy TR fragrance, it’s all coming to South Africa.

Thanks to the Surtee Group – one of the most highly recognised retailors in high-end fashion in South Africa, a True Religion store will be opening in Sandton on Friday 16 May 2014.

The store will be located on the upper level of the mall at shop no. U47A.

True Religion refer to their jeans as ‘premium denim’ which is handmade in America. And while the flagship store is located on Manhattan Beach, California, opening in 2005, today they have over 900 branded boutiques in 50 countries.

The Surtee Group is well known for their exclusive brands. In their Grays stores they offer Ermenegildo Zegna, Brioni, Canali, Etienne Aigner, Façonnable, Stefano Ricci, Surtee Collection, GrosVenor and Raffaele Caruso. They also offer Hugo Boss and Mamas & Papas with much more exciting international brands to come.

The Surtee Group focuses on world-class luxury fashion brands and connects it to ordinary South Africans that enables them to enjoy an affluent and inspirational lifestyle. “We conduct our business with integrity, stability, and professionalism and nurture the relationships with every customer who walks into our stores,” says Suliman Surtee of the group.

Small business gets own ministry

Opening Media Lunch 'World Cup 2010 - before the kick-off':Cape Town – A new ministry to take care of small business development, to be headed by Lindiwe Zulu, was announced by President Jacob Zuma on Sunday.

“You will recall that we stated in the inaugural address that the economy will take centre stage,” he said.

“The development of the small business sector is critical to economic development and transformation.”


Better than free

free-photos_3389_1.jpgHow do you compete with free? How does a wedding photographer or a travel agent—someone who used to make a good living performing a task that was hard to do without them—compete against ubiquitous free alternatives?

There’s only one way: Sell something better than free.

Make a product or provide a service that’s worth paying for.

You don’t need a better way to talk about what you do, or a better gimmick, or a better social media strategy. In fact, you need to reinvent and rebuild what you make for a new reality, a reality where paying for something is an intentional act of buying something way better than the free alternative.

I’m sorry if this seems obvious. It’s apparently not obvious to all the frustrated people I encounter who are still trying to sell the old thing in a new market.

Yaseen Theba

DA admits to e-toll billboards

Johannesburg –

399250736The DA has finally owned up and admitted that the party is responsible for the e-toll billboards that have sprung up next to the gantries on Gauteng’s highways.

The party also defended its decision to put up the billboards, saying they were an expression of “collective action” by the residents of Gauteng.

“We are confirming that they are our billboards. It is part of the message to the people of this province and not just the DA,” DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

The billboards, which beam the message “E-tolls. Proudly brought to you by the ANC”, have caused a stir from the time they were erected on Joburg’s N3 and N1 highways last week.

They were erected after President Jacob Zuma signed the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill. The law effectively paved the way for the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to roll out the e-tolls on Gauteng’s highways.

The erection of the billboards came a few weeks after the DA apologised in Parliament for printing and distributing election pamphlets misrepresenting the ANC during the recent by-election in Tlokwe, North West. The posters carried disparaging messages that denounced ANC mayoral candidate Maphetle Maphetle.

The ANC has since called on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to investigate and punish the DA for what it described as the “lowest and dirtiest” campaigning by the official opposition.

As questions continued to be raised about the billboards’ architects, neither the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance nor the DA had accepted responsibility for the billboards. The ANC viewed the billboards as a cowardly act.

ANC spokesperson Khuselwa Sangoni-Khawe was quoted as saying the party would investigate whoever was behind the billboards, which she said painted the organisation in a negative light ahead of next year’s elections.

“We will report it to the IEC as well as the Advertising Standards Authority. In South Africa, such advertising is not allowed,” he said.

On Sunday, Maimane, who is also the DA’s premier candidate in Gauteng, said it was difficult to see why the ANC was so upset.

“This message is 100 percent accurate. E-tolls were conceived under the watch of an ANC minister, supported by an ANC executive in Gauteng, passed into law by an ANC majority parliament, and signed, sealed and delivered by an ANC president. So what’s the ANC’s problem with the billboard? Is the ANC ashamed of e-tolls all of a sudden?” he asked.

Quizzed why the DA had not admitted to erecting the billboards earlier, Maimane said: “We never tried to hide. That was our position as part of the collective action.”

He added the DA would defend its decision to erect the billboards in any forum the ANC chose.

Why you need a website

628bdcd03e7847c9a5ff7c53dbca6d24WEBSITES ARE one of those funny pieces of marketing collateral – most businesses understand they need one, yet for many it’s still seen as a grudge purchase.

Learning to code and compile a website if you’re that way inclined is pretty easy to do.

Unfortunately, understanding what content you should use and how you should display it is knowledge gained only from experience – and this is where many websites fall short.

Credibility and trust

If you’ve ever seen the custom where the brides and grooms stand at the altar updating their Facebook statuses, then you’ll understand the following statement: It’s not real until it’s on the internet.

This is the first thing you need to understand about having a well designed website – it makes you look more credible and trustworthy.

There are a number of reasons for this, not least of which is that it takes time, money and effort to create good-looking marketing collateral.

So by simply having a decent website that is easily findable, you help to prove that your company is established and it’s safe to do business with you.

Likewise, a large and impressive website can actually make you look significantly more established than you are, encouraging larger companies to do business with you as well.

Why this really matters, though, is that the majority of people in business today will do their research for new local and international suppliers online.

So if the deal that could boost your business is out there searching for you now, are you confident that your website could close the deal for you – or at least generate the enquiry so that you can close it yourself?

Silent salesperson

A good website, like a good salesperson, knows everything there is to know about your products and services and how to present them in an appealing and easy-to-understand way that generates confidence and closes sales.

As an effective digital sales tool your website should be built around the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) you’ve created, so that you first capture the kind of traffic that is relevant for you.

Once the potential client has landed on the relevant page, does your website invite them to stay and explore and are they prompted and guided to visit other related pages exposing them to your full product and service range? Or will they simply bounce and leave the website from the page they landed on?

And if the client is excited about your offering, have you made it easy for them to contact you?

Do you have telephone numbers and email addresses that they can see clearly on any page and do you have easy-to-find forms they can use to submit an inquiry?

Do your forms contain auto responder emails that will automatically send a response to the client so that they feel confident that their inquiry has been received? And will you receive a notification of that inquiry immediately too?

Going mobile 

Mobile and tablet devices have exploded into our lives in a big way over the past five years. If you’re involved in the analytics on any website, you’ll know that, in some cases, up to 100% of a site’s engagement happens on a cellphone or tablet.

Newer website designs, when coded properly, will be fully responsive and render almost perfectly across any device, including cellphones and tablets.

What’s more, you should not have any information or data loss on the mobile version of your website and it is really not necessary for there be a cost to develop a separate mobi-site if your main site has been coded properly.

Low-hanging fruit

The last important thing your website should be doing for you is building a marketing database. Do you have the elements you need in place to encourage visitors to give you their contact information?

It’s always a lot easier to sell to people who are already convinced of the value around your products and services. So does your website capture the contact details of already-interested parties when their curiosity has been sparked?

Have you given them something they can sign up and download for free or do you have a clear spot where they can easily and quickly sign up to your mailing list or newsletters?

Keeping in contact with existing clients and people who have already expressed interest is always going to be your fastest way to generate ongoing, sustainable business with the least amount of effort.

A good designed website will help you capture and make the most of this kind of low-hanging fruit.


Famous Brands buys stake in Nigeria fast food business

Kevin+Hedderwick+Famous+Brands+high+res+XXXJohannesburg – South African fast-food restaurant operator Famous Brands said on Monday it would buy 49 percent of the restaurant arm of UAC of Nigeria Plc to bolster its presence in Africa’s most populous country.

Famous Brands said the cash deal for an undisclosed amount gives it a wider footprint in Nigeria, where it has operated for the past 11 years through licence and franchise agreements, and is part of its strategy to expand further into Africa.

Stuck with slower growth at home, South African companies are increasingly looking to fast-growing Sub-Saharan markets.

UAC Restaurants has 165 franchised restaurants in Nigeria, with 57 of those in Lagos.

That includes the popular Mr Bigg’s brand, Famous Brands said.

Famous Brands operates the Steers and Wimpy fast-food restaurants in South Africa. – Reuters