Connect with us


HDI Youth Marketeers: Liesl Loubser

Marketing mavericks corner the youth sector with a combination of research, youthful energy and innovative platforms.

Juliet Pitman



Liesl Loubser

There are two things you notice when entering the offices of HDI Youth Marketeers – the energy of the place and how young all the staff are. Which is appropriate when you think about it – who better to provide insight into what makes the youth market tick, than the very people who form part of that market.

Filling her business with young people has been part of Liesl Loubser’s philosophy from day one. “Apart from me, all people in the business are under 32 years old, and we have a junior board of directors made up of 60 young people, from kids right through to teenagers,” she says.

Specialising to fill a gap

When Loubser started the business (originally Hot Dogz Inc.) in 1996, youth marketing was a wide open sector. “No one was focusing purely on marketing to the youth and I saw a gap,” she says.

A short stint as a high school teacher confirmed her love of young people and her experience as a marketing consultant provided the ideal skills set. “It was the era of specialisation and I knew, from consulting projects I’d done using the education channel as a marketing medium, that the youth are a primary market for many brands. In South Africa alone, young people are responsible for R80 billion worth of spend a year,” she says.

Thought leaders

She should know. Although there are many more players in the youth space than when Loubser started, few of them manage to really get a handle on what is a notoriously difficult and capricious market. HDI Youth Marketeers has established itself not only as a provider of innovative youth marketing solutions, but as a thought leader and IP owner in the space.

The company conducts the annual Generation Next Youth Brand survey in partnership with The Sunday Times, canvassing 5 000 youngsters between the ages of 8 and 23. “It provides brands with key insights, trends and themes regarding the youth and brands,” Loubser explains. HDI also runs the Khuza Awards, a research-based awards programme that recognises youth advertising and communication that works for young people.

Research gathered from both these initiatives informs the youth marketing solutions that the company delivers, and puts it at the forefront of the latest trends and information.

Forever curious

But, as Loubser is quick to point out, it’s an exceptionally challenging market to be in and no one can ever claim to know it all. “It’s a market that’s continually shifting and changing. Young people change dramatically as they move from being kids to tweens to teens and young adults. That’s why our payoff line is Forever Curious – we continually need to be learning and investigating and open to the next thing,” she says. “At the moment social and green issues are very relevant, so we’ve incorporated a division to respond accordingly,” Loubser explains.

The acid test of whether the company’s strategy is effective comes down to one question: how effective are its interventions at striking a chord with the youth market? Loubser points to some examples of how the company fares in this regard.

Resonating with the market

When a major cereal brand wanted to reach mothers by engaging with

children, most companies would have gone for an on-box promotion, but HDI drew on its research. “Recognition is vital to children’s self-esteem, but teachers, parents and society reward only the top performing children. Many kids lack confidence as a result, so we knew that they would respond to being recognised,” she explains.

The Star in You programme was launched, providing teachers and parents an opportunity to attend workshops with emotional intelligence experts and talk about how to recognise and reward children for different strengths. “We uncovered five attributes of successful people – things like confidence and respect – and launched them as new criteria that teachers could use to reward kids,” Loubser explains. The programme changed the way teachers viewed children and the way children viewed themselves.

Drawing on further research that indicated that children need to view other people in a positive light, HDI included the Star in You Kids Award, which today attracts over a million participants a year and is South Africa’s largest youth self-esteem and celebrity choice award.

Leveraging platforms, looking to the future

While projects like these were initially developed for a particular brand, they have become platforms that any of HDI’s clients can use. “Existing programmes are tried, tested and more cost-effective but we also do bespoke projects if clients require them,” Loubser says of the business model.

The most recent was a live event for an international broadcaster for the Ben 10 animated character, which attracted 20 000 parents and children on the first day and highlighted the future potential of live eventing. 2010 will see HDI Youth Marketeers consolidate their recently-opened Nigerian office as the company turns its eyes to Africa. As Loubser says, “There is so much potential and we can’t wait to learn more about the youth of Africa.”

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.


27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton



Prev1 of 28


Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
Prev1 of 28

Continue Reading


Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton



Prev1 of 51


Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

Prev1 of 51

Continue Reading


Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton



Prev1 of 51


Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
Prev1 of 51

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.