HIP2B² is a truly unique brand. In an unconventional way it is inspirational, aspirational and cool. Striving to spark a curiosity in school children in subjects that will help them succeed in life is a wonderful opportunity to have fun, make a difference and achieve great results. The unique position that the company occupies and the challenges that lie ahead to grow it, were further major attractions. It is not a non-governmental organisation, yet it is founded on a cause-related ethos; it is not a profit-driven corporate, yet the challenge is to make it commercially sustainable. I hope to collectively inspire future business partners to share the same responsibility of educating the next generation of South Africans.
The brand was launched to inspire young learners to focus on science, technology, entrepreneurship and maths. What has it achieved to date?
We have 400,000 to 500,000 readers per magazine issue; 650,000 to 1-million TV viewers per week and 19,000 website impressions per month. I am going to initiate qualitative research to find out if any learners have based their career choices on their interaction with HIP2B².
Where do you plan to take the brand?
During the first five years, HIP2B² succeeded in establishing our core communication channels and achieved recognition and engagement with our target market. The next level is to grow the core strengths of the brand into a self-sustainable commercial entity. I aim to establish business partnerships with aligned brands and organisations that share similar values. The youth seek brands that they can experience in all aspects of their lifestyle – there are many synergies I aim to explore.
What do you know about the youth market?
I know that it is a very desirable market for brands vying to establish loyalty at a young age. Brands are working harder than ever before to catch their attention as the communication choices and channels available to them have exploded: They choose who to listen to, who they want to talk to and interact with. You have to be relevant, desirable and inspirational if you want their attention – they have enough information at their disposal to make their own choices.
The youth market is sceptical of efforts to market to them, so I am going to spend time in classrooms and lessons; talk to the learners, talk to teachers, talk to education authorities. It’s all very well preaching what the brand is doing and is going to do, but if I don’t have true insight into what it is like for school learners and what challenges they face, we will not inspire any change or focus.
What has been your toughest career lesson to date?
Always remember what is important to you and what you stand for. Don’t be affected by someone around you who makes you feel less than who you know you are and what you can achieve. Many of us have had at least one boss or colleague who makes us doubt our self-worth and our ability to succeed. Never allow someone, who does not value integrity as much as you do, to get you down, when all you want to do is achieve the best that you can in your career.
Treasure’s plans for the HIP2B²…
To grow advertising revenue from the site; promote more crosschannel interaction; and ensure that content is always new, cutting-edge, useful and accessible to audiences. Also, to encourage learners to create more of their own content or even invite them to manage a section of the site.
I will look at ways to increase the numbers of learners who get to see it, through assessing time slots, channels, taking the show to different platforms, distributing the show recordings via DVD or material that all learners have a way of interacting with.
I want it to reach more learners at more schools, so I will look at ways to increase the print run and distribution, but not increase its share of our budget.
I want to make it more interactive, encourage learners to create the content and have a say in what we do. There are some brilliant candidates for our brand ambassador programme and one way of involving applicants outside of the programme is to invite them to help with our other channels.
- This Q&A first appeared in The Media magazine (March 2009)