The Gate Keeper: Chapter 16 (In which tactics are developed)
by Andrew Miller TBW Smith Jones Wallace Broadbent and Ndimande is an agency in crisis. Their ‘basket of boutique services’ strategy has bombed. Only a massive new project can keep the doors open – all eyes are now on the corporate tent at Mangaung. Far in the background, an emergency replacement executive PA with decades of experience makes important decisions. Interns rise, board members take unexpected steps and things begin to change…
The intern fakes some hip hop and rural development numbers, and the board members are generally impressed…
In which tactics are developed
Hip Hop and Oral Tradition as Drivers of Social Entrepreneurship – a micro financing proposal for South Africa’s rural areas.
The idea: bring the African oral tradition together with Hip Hop in our rural areas through a series of innovative events that draw on modern and past cultures.
The pay-off: Use the excitement and cross generational interaction to introduce the idea of micro financing to those who need it most: the gogo’s and the DJ’s.
The execution: Use EFT’s cell phone technology to create tangible connections with role players and stakeholders. Once connections have been made the channel can be used for basic product sales, general communication and outbound up selling.
The benefit: This is a modular event concept that can be rolled out in a repeatable fashion across target areas.
Tim Broadbent was surprised. He said as much to Isaac Ndimande. “It’s got a chance, Isaac. I would never have believed it, but there is a chance. They could go for it.”
Isaac Ndimande sipped his coffee and nodded. To his own surprise he found his mind straying to the young lady who had put the thing together. She was, undeniably, attractive. It had been a good while since he had had any such stirrings. Tim’s voice droned on, then stopped. A question hung in the air, waiting patiently.
“Uh, sorry to change tack like this,” Isaac ducked neatly, “but I must say that I also have positive feelings. I do worry about us getting lost in the crowd though. Is there a way we could seal this before Mangaung? I think we should explore what the options are.” He sipped once more on his filter coffee and imagined what it would be like to slowly undress a girl in her early twenties.
“Sure. I’ll get on it. Not sure we’d be able to get an audience with government – that is, after all, what the corporate tent at Mangaung is for – but we can try.”
Isaac nodded abstractedly.
“You ever feel twinges Isaac?” Tim rambled on, “I mean, sometimes I wonder. These guys are essentially just loan sharks. We’re sending the loan sharks out into the rurals. Sometimes I wonder if we’ll look back and question what we’ve done.”
Isaac nodded again, missing the question completely. “Exactly,” he said. “Exactly right.” With that he stood up, thanked Tim for the session, and headed back to his office. Tim Broadbent sat thinking, still surprisingly engaged by the morality of it all. He shook his head a few times and re-focused. Age, he tut tutted, did funny things sometimes.
“The real question,” Tau announced grandly to his audience of seven in the corporate section, “is how many of these gogo’s and DJs we can push through the till? We mustn’t get distracted by how good all of this sounds. The fat men will want numbers. Projections. Sales. Vatiswa?” He rounded on his new young colleague theatrically. “What’s your take? How do we project the numbers?”
The team waited for her response, sub text thick in the air. Would the young one even know what projections were?
Vatiswa calmly asked for a pen and faked it, drawing a series of sums down the page until she was sure none of her colleagues could follow her any more. “So…” she drew a fat number in capitals at the bottom of the piece of scrap paper, “On average, using a projected rate of subscriber returns across all areas, we can expect 23 new loans per event. How does that sound?”
Vati pulled her dress lower. She had abandoned skirts since making her way in the strat world and into Phil’s bed. What with the comments flying in all directions it seemed safer to just go tent style for a while. Still, her hips felt exposed as she waited outside His office. She pulled the dress down again, at which Mama E smiled. “Nervous?” she asked.
“Uh, no. I don’t think so. Well, not about work anyway.”
“Ah,” Mama E nodded knowingly. “Well, the rest is the stuff of life. It’s never going to go away, and then it does. Just keep a poker face and both hands on the laptop. You’ll be fine.”