Yellow was the order of the day, with yellow drinks, yellow flowers, yellow décor, and yellow fingers at the official ‘relaunch’ of the Yellow Pages.
Held at The Living Room in the Maboneng Precinct, Trudon (the company behind Yellow Pages) says the ‘relaunch’ was motivated by the evolving way in which people search for information. They wanted to ensure that the Yellow Pages is no longer that book used to prop up shaky tables.
“Nowadays, with internet, it’s a lot harder as a business to be found. Navigating the complexities of choosing the right platform on the internet. We want to help businesses transverse the digital media space,” explains Trudon acting CEO, Bradley Swanepoel.
“Small business is the future of South Africa. More businesses are retrenching and more SMMEs are starting up every day. The challenge for them is promoting themselves in our current world,” he adds.
A rich history, but adapting to change
With Yellow Pages having started 68 years ago, it certainly has a rich history. But it needed to move with the times, something Trudon realised was essential for its survival. They created a single platform, an application that businesses can list on so that customers can find them. But not only do the businesses get an in-depth profile that potential customers can review (including an explanation of what they do, photos of previous work and references), the app allows the customer to rate the business as well as live chat with it.
The process and thinking behind the ‘relaunch’
At the event, Itumeleng Matlaila, chief marketing officer for Trudon, described the process and thinking behind the revamp, which started with tons of research among employees, clients and consumers. This was designed to find out where the brand was at and where it needed to be taken next.
“People search for information in different ways now than they did 50 years ago… People stopped using Yellow Pages, not because they didn’t like our brand, but because our product was no longer relevant,” explains Matlaila. Young people say they trust brands that are listed in the Yellow Pages, but since they are more tech-savvy they would rather use an app than a physical printed book to connect with them.
Based on the findings, it was decided that the Yellow Pages name would remain, but the logo would change along with the brand manifesto and personality, evolving from ‘searching’ to ‘finding’.
“Finding is better than searching. Our positioning now is ‘don’t search, find’. Find is a clear statement of intent that differentiates Yellow Pages from all the other platforms,” says Matlaila.
She used a brilliant analogy to describe the new Yellow Pages, comparing it to two movie characters. “Yellow Pages is not James Bond, solving all the world’s problems and hiding in the shadows. Yellow Pages is Spiderman, he is a regular guy who goes to the same restaurants, lives in the same neighbourhood, goes to university. When there are problems though, he will solve them with his superpowers. We are the regular brand you grew up with, but with superpowers,” she explains.
Live tested, but under a different name
The app was developed in three months and was sneakily live tested for a year under a different name. During that time it was downloaded over 10 000 times and received 50 five star reviews.
At present there are 5 000 businesses listed on the app, with a further 40 000 to be added in the next four to five weeks. It is free to list on the app and is open to any business, from large ones to freelancers. Something to note, businesses that reply to chat queries timeously and constantly engage with consumers are prioritised in searches.
Print is not dead
While Yellow Pages is moving into the digital age, Swanepoel says there’s still quite a big demand from consumers and businesses for the print edition, and it will continue to be printed as long as it’s in demand and is sustainable. “60% of our revenue still comes from the print books. There is still a big user base for the print product, though we are seeing a decline there. We are helping businesses transition from print to digital,” he reveals.
The app is available in the Apple Store and Google Play store for download.
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8