Louise Marsland (@Louise_Marsland)’s weekly pick of recent product, packaging, design and food launches:

  • Brand Alive gets that loving feeling
  • Heriz Gallery keeps wolf from the door
  • Distell up for top global award, and
  • McDonald’s shares its staff

Love is in the air

Enable - a BrandAlive Group initiative - logoLove Trust logoBrand development and expression consultancy, Brand Alive, has launched Enable, a new social investment division to create sustainable value for South African NGOs by applying its branding services free of charge. The first NGO to benefit is the Love Trust, an educational charity for poor and marginalised children.

Brand Alive group CEO, Giles Shepherd, said at the launch last week that this was a new way of looking at corporate social investment to enable all companies of all sizes and nature to play a part in empowerment in South Africa: “While every community and social organisation needs money, simply giving money can be far from enough, and very often what companies can afford to give in pure financial terms is not enough to create real value.”

Shepherd elaborates: “Enable is there to enable a deserving charitable organisation to be a success in ways it otherwise can’t. We give them the power to develop themselves as a professional brand.

“The Love Trust [has] a compelling story; we [feel] we could do exceptional things with the brand. The initial process we are going through is to apply our usual brand-development practice: the discovery process; finding out what stakeholders and the community at large feels it needs to achieve; unearthing perceptions, desires, attitudes and issues among its broader stakeholder market.

He continues, “The next step will be to present a formal brand diagnosis to the management team, agreeing [upon] a way forward. Then we build a professional brand strategy, encompassing everything — value principles, value statements, then all of the aspects as to how the brand should go to market to raise funding.”

The Love Trust chief executive, Martin Morrison, explains that, despite the organisation’s success to date, in order to meet its mandate and create real impact on SA education in a quality manner, it needed to accelerate its fund-raising income substantially.

“We recognised that the way to achieve this is to have a strong, well-thought-out and architected brand, with a powerful strategy, image, presentation to market and break-through expression tactics. These are not our areas of expertise, and to take critical funding out of the schools to acquire this would simply be impossible,” he says.

The application of professional services is at no charge and, where there are outcosts, Brand Alive Enable will seek donated media space, harness corporate donors or direct a crowdfunding initiative to assist with these projects.

Carpet retailer adds magic

Big Bad Wolf burning down the three little kids' homeBig Bad Wolf knocked out by an old carpet that was donated by a Heriz customer to give to the thee little kids We’re always banging on about brands making a difference, and it doesn’t have to be on a huge scale with huge budget either. A desire by a carpet retailer in Fourways, Johannesburg, to help victims of devastating shack fires at nearby Kya Sands, involves the surrounding community in a visible and novel way.

Heriz Gallery is asking its customer base and the surrounding community to bring in their old carpets which Heriz will repair and clean before donating these to families who were affected by the fires in Kya Sands, Johannesburg.

The store has also started a Heriz Hero fundraising campaign where, for every purchase of R2 500 or more is made, it will donate R500 towards building materials needed by the families in Kya Sands. An auction event will be held in the first quarter of this year to add to the Heriz Hero fund.

The first phase of the campaign is based on a pyromaniac wolf and a magic carpet.

Heriz Gallery owner Javad Shokoubhin explained: “Community involvement is part of our family culture and business ethos, which is why mutual patronage is part of how we work. We also embrace our responsibility as a local business to give back to our community and to engage with our customers to join us in making a difference where it’s needed most.”

Distiller of the Year

Three Ships Distillery - DistellDistell has won the title of Distiller of the Year (Rest of World category) in the international ‘2015 Icons of Whisky’ run by Whisky magazine. The category was for all producers from outside of Scotland and the US.

Distell, which produces Bain’s Mountain Whisky and the Three Ships range of whiskies (both internationally awarded brands) will now be pitted against the top-ranked Scottish and American distillers of the year to decide upon this year’s global Icons of Whisky winner, to be announced in March in London.

The SA company is competing for the final honour against the BenRiach Distillery Company of Speyside, Scotland, and the Four Roses Distillery of Kentucky in the US.

Whisky Magazine, targeted at members of the spirits trade and whisky enthusiasts all over the world, also publishes editions in Japanese, Chinese and French, and has hosted the Whisky Live events held in SA in the past.

Burgers with heart

McDonald's iStories - Monica SitholeMcDonald's iStories - Phumeza Qhwesha
McDonald’s South Africa has introduced its 2014 iStories #ShareMyJourney to celebrate and share inspiring stories of employees who have made strides in their careers. McDonald’s overall objective is to acknowledge the staff members who are doing extraordinary things within the brand, from restaurant to head-office level.

The core message the brand wants to get across is that it believes in its employees and their dreams, and that the business does not hold employees within a framework, but rather encourages them to work around the framework to excel.

“Entrenching the values of McDonald’s at every level of the organisation is of great significance to our growth. Our employees are a reflection of our values and without them it would be impossible for McDonald’s to enjoy the employer brand image it now has,” says Shaba Motsieloa, corporate affairs director at McDonald’s SA.

“These stories showcase our core priority as a business — our people.”

By way of example, in her story, Monica Sithole, McDonald’s SA brand manager, talks about how she pushed the boundaries to achieve success; and Phumeza Qhwesha, a McDonald’s SA hostess, shares how to be successful despite physical challenges.


Shelf Life is a weekly column by Louise Marsland. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland Louise Marslandor email her at louise.marsland at Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Louise has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for over 20 years as a former editor of magazines AdVantage, Marketing Mix and Progressive Retailing, as well as websites and FMCGFiles. She also edited the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper. She is currently the publishing editor of industry trendwatching portal, TRENDAFRiCA, for consumer insight, research and trends in Africa; a regular industry columnist and speaker; a consultant on content strategy; and contributing editor to Fast Company South Africa magazine, which has just launched in South Africa.

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