To complement its other offerings, SA Taxi has created a media division that fits perfectly into its operations. The brand is now ramping up offerings from this side of the business.
From moving billboards to ranks and beyond
Having broadened its inventory of ‘moving billboards’ (taxi branding), SA Taxi is now eyeing expansion of its advertising opportunities into the most popular taxi ranks.
“As opposed to just sticking to transit, which is still our key focus, we are now looking at which ranks are the best ones for us to go and advertise within, and what types of medium are going to be the best for us to advertise on,” confirms Maroba Maduma, communications executive and direct at SA Taxi.
But rather than just sticking up a billboard or two, SA Taxi is looking to innovate and find ways to integrate advertising opportunities into the taxi rank ecosystem that exists, and at the same time enhance it. Matching brands with relevant businesses in the rank is a key part of this.
The company is also exploring places on busy taxi routes which could also offer valuable advertising space.
“We want to see how we can influence the purchasing decision of travellers, pre-trip and post-trip, the two key phases of when you’re making a purchasing decision,” adds head of media, Jarrod Rohland.
The business journey
SA Taxi started out as a credit provider in the taxi sector. “Because of our IP and the understanding of our industry, and the fact we are able to understand the profitability of each route, we were able to get into the business and start offering taxi owners finance,” explains Maduma.
This led to an accompanying insurance division, in partnership with Guardrisk (with cheaper premiums), as well as a panel beater, salvage yard taxi part wholesaler, and vehicle dealership.
SA Taxi is a one-stop shop for anyone in the taxi industry. As Maduma says, “We are a completely, vertically-integrated business, in that we offer not just the finance, we offer vehicles through our dealership, insurance on those vehicles, and a panel beater for those insured vehicles … You will also have telematics data on your vehicle so we can help you understand driver behaviour and such. We offer full-on business support to a taxi owner, all the way to a salvage yard, where we sell parts to help maintain their vehicles as well.”
Originally, in 2013, SA Taxi’s media business was framed as a customer value proposition product. To provide a secondary income for the taxi owners and to help them pay off their vehicle loans quicker, they received a percentage of revenue generated from the advertising opportunities on their taxis, which was then invested back into paying off the vehicles.
This system is still in place, but the available inventory has been substantially broadened, and the owners can choose whether it goes back into their vehicle loan account or if they’d prefer to receive it as cash in their bank account.
Feedback is also shared by SA Taxi with its taxi owner clients about their driver’s behaviour, which if bad could jeopardise the business partnership between the two.
Quality inventory and guaranteed audience measurement
SA Taxi has three major advantages in regards to its media business.
Firstly, as part of the deal, all taxis financed through SA Taxi are fitted with a tracking device. Hence, “we are able to track all of our vehicles. With this tracking, we are able to give actual reach and penetration for a brand,” explains Rohland. He adds, “Traditionally, the transit medium wasn’t always a trusted medium. We are now bringing that to the brands and actually saying ‘here’s auditable tracking and reports showing penetration, and a guarantee that we will de-flight and make sure that your brand is not carried longer than your usual campaign period’.”
The tracking has allowed SA Taxi to build up a huge amount of data around their taxis and taxi drivers, including where they go, how fast the vehicle is driving, and where and for how long it stops. This information is then offered to clients. It also allows for proper geofencing of campaigns, bringing the right message to the right locations at the right time.
Secondly, “because we know that the vehicles are financed, insured and tracked, we offer premium quality branded vehicles to brands. We know that they are not accident prone, or behaving in a very poor manner. We can actually offer some level of assurity that when a brand trusts us with their messaging, we’re putting it on quality vehicles that are performing correctly,” comments Rohland.
Thirdly, the business has intimate relationships within the taxi industry, including with the associations, taxi rank officials, taxi owners and the drivers. This grants not only deeper insights, but also a vested interest from the industry. So much so, that the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has a 25% ownership stake in the business.
“We have cultivated our relationships with taxi associations, owners and drivers over many years. This then allows us to have better access to those spaces, drivers and the information that they can give,” adds Maduma.
Currently, SA Taxi has around 60 000 taxi owner clients across its finance and insurance divisions. The business made the move from only insuring taxi owners financed through them to insuring others who are not financed through the business (open market insurance), broadening its customer base.
In terms of media division clients, they have come from the FMCG, financial, banking, governmental, and technology sectors.
Here’s a video and some pictures from a tour of the SA Taxi offices in Midrand:
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