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The Eye Level Experience: Enver Buys

Innovative company uses experiential marketing to get face-to-face with consumers

Juliet Pitman

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Enver Buys of The Eye Level

Smart people are aware that there is business to be done in the second economy, but few people know how to effectively access this highly specific market. Enver Buys, founder and CEO of The Eye Level Experience, is one of the few who does and he’s made it his business to get corporates and their products in touch with people on the ground in this informal economy.

Buys started his working life in education but found his niche in business consulting. The idea for The Eye Level Experience, a division of Chaza Strategic Management, came about when Buys was consulting on BEE deals.
“I saw first hand how contracts could fail simply because one group didn’t understand the other. Watching people talking past each other made me realise that there is a huge need in the country to bring corporates and the second economy together,” he explains.
Buys adds that while a great deal is assumed about the second economy, much of the “information” out there is not backed by any concrete research.
“Companies are trying to market their products to the second economy without really understanding it,” he says. “Traditional marketing is less effective within second economy markets and brand owners need to engage with their consumers in a more direct, personal and immediate fashion that is true to the cultural expressions of these communities.
To a large extent, this move towards embracing below-the-line marketing in general, and face-to-face communications in particular, has been driven by the increasing growth of disposable cash in the second economy and a complexity of products and services.” This new marketing climate means companies need to build a more tangible and interactive experience between their consumers and their brand.
The Eye Level Experience offers corporates the chance to get face-to-face with the second economy market they are trying to break into. An excellent example of how effective it can be is a recent contract to sell medical aid products to this market.
“Using focused, on-the-ground marketing we target a specific audience and, in this case, have used informal traders to promote the product. They speak the language, understand who has money to spend and have access to the market in a way that a corporate just doesn’t,” explains Buys.
What Buys’s company aims to achieve is true experiential marketing, something far more powerful than traditional avenues of customer contact. “It allows marketers to step into consumers’ lives and is effective because consumers can usually choose whether or not to take part,” says Buys.
“That gives it an advantage over traditional advertising like television commercials, which many consumers consider intrusive or interruptive. It creates a powerful platform for physical engagement that makes a greater, deeper and more memorable impact.
The effect is more immediate and measurable in terms of brand connection, propensity to purchase, word of mouth and brand personal advocacy.” These are things every brand manager wants to achieve. But while it’s true that the amount of disposable income in the second economy is growing rapidly, if you want a piece of it Buys believes you need to get up close and personal with your customer.

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.

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Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect

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It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.

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“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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