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BUSINESS LOUNGE by Tracey-Ann Wisdom




to better be able to be that solution base that they have known NOA for,” he said. Indeed, NOA is known for its wide variety of outdoor advertising media, including billboards, bus shelters, light poles, road safety signs and light boxes. The company is also the exclusive advertising partner of the Jamaica Urban Transit Corporation (JUTC), providing ads on JUTC’s fleet of buses which traverse Kingston, Portmore and Spanish Town. Popular brands like Jamaica Broilers Best Dressed Chicken and Ocean Spray flavoured Wata are already on board, along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with its anti-corruption campaign.

utdoor advertising has long been misunderstood by members of the business community. Often considered by many as the ‘poor cousin’ of traditional media advertising locally, it has also been deemed expensive or only suitable for large, high-profile companies. But with the economic upheaval wrought by the global recession, many advertising budgets have been slashed and businesses are now looking around for the most cost-effective ways to get the word out about their products and services. Many are now discovering or rediscovering outdoor advertising, which is undergoing a bit of a renaissance locally. Currently it accounts for about 10 per cent of Jamaica’s $5-billion-a-year advertising business.

“All businesses, as long as they have an interest in communicating a message – either it is the brand, or for sales or just regular customer awareness, can advertise outdoors.”

into the job, Girvan brings significant experience to the table, including a one-year stint as Operation Manager at Intelligent Multimedia Limited (IML), which immersed him into the world of outdoor advertising.

Responding to the wind of change, National Outdoor Advertising (NOA) Limited has strategically repositioned itself to build on its already impressive track record as market leaders. Leading this drive is Sales and Marketing Director, Rasheed Girvan. Although he is just three months

One of the first things on Girvan’s agenda was to fine-tune his sales team’s operations, which has seen them using a cloudbased sales and database management software. “This assists us in properly tracking clients’ interaction… and that has helped us to zero in on the different requirements of our clients, which allows us

Rahseed Girvan, Sales and Marketing Manager, National Outdoor Advertising

Girvan’s key strategy has been to offer bundled packages, which has been reaping success. “We’ve gone to market with a combination of buses and billboards, or buses and road safety signs or bus shelters, which gives the advertiser a unique opportunity to get their message out on different outdoor media at a reduced rate,” Girvan stated. NOA is also aggressively pursuing businesses in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector, which generally don’t factor outdoor media into their ad campaigns. “All businesses, as long as they have an interest in communicating a message – either it is the brand, or for sales or just regular customer awareness, can advertise outdoors. It is ranging from telecommunications to the fast-moving goods to the medical industry - everybody. We’re not focused on one particular segment,” he added. <285MONEY eZINE

BUSINESS LOUNGE by Tracey-Ann Wisdom Outdoor advertising offers two primary advantages over its traditional media relative: constant visibility and lower cost per thousand impressions (CPI) than other forms of advertising, which are extremely valuable in today’s tight, competitive market. Traditional media have seen their dominance slowly eroded by the internet as more and more people now turn to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to get information. Similarly, television viewers can now completely sidestep ads thanks to TiVo and digital video recorders (DVRs) and radio audiences can do the same because of satellite stations. Outdoor advertising, on the other hand, cannot be turned off or blocked out. “Viewing it is involuntary. As you’re driving down the road in your car or in the bus on your day-to-day commute, that billboard is there and you will see it,” Girvan stated. It would most certainly take some doing to completely avoid the various NOA platforms across the island. In addition to the JUTC partnership, the company has over 1000 faces (billboards), plus other media both large and small to engage thousands of potential customers on a daily basis. NOA also has the exclusive rights to advertise at the Norman Manley International Airport as well as the island’s cruise shipping terminals in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Falmouth. This high visibility has attracted a number of highprofile clients, including Digicel, Claro and LIME, Ocean Spray Wata, Red Stripe and Jamaica Broilers. The company has also been the first local outdoor advertiser to conduct research into the effectiveness of the medium. The “He’s on His way” ads were displayed on 21 billboards over a five-week period in late 2010 to test how many people remembered seeing the ads. Market Surveys Limited (MSL) determined that 23 per cent of Jamaicans recalled the ads and an overall 82 per cent awareness of the presence of the

From Left: Mark Ho Tai, Creative Director; Dawn McNaughton, Business Development Manager; Rasheed Girvan, Sales and Marketing Manager; Karen Allie-James, Director and General Manager; Devon Bennett, Financial Controller; Sharon Vieira, Operations Controller; Paul Reid, Sales Manager.

ads. These figures were said to be on par with or even greater than the awareness tracked in other media. This has spurred NOA to continue to up the ante with new initiatives. “We are in advanced stages of different negotiations for developing new sites [and] introducing innovative outdoor advertising billboards to Jamaica. We’ve done that before and we want to continue to introduce fresh, creative structures,” Girvan said. He admitted that some of these structures are more costly, but NOA considers them long term investments. Girvan is also proud of ARAWAK, a web tool which uses Google Maps and unique software to plot the location of every structure (billboard, bus shelter, etc.) on its exact geographical location, which allows for greater accountability to the company’s advertisers. “The customers love that, by the way… They associate that kind of customer service, that kind of forwardthinking to the brand NOA,” he added.

General Manager, Karen Allie-James. “We have a wealth of knowledge that we bring to the table and that, I think, is something that sets us apart,” Girvan said. “We’re looking towards developing the outdoor industry in Jamaica. We’re a financially stable company and we’re looking to continue to push the envelope with respect to innovation.” advertisment

NOA, which was merged with large format printing company City Graphics a few years ago, is run by a highly trained and experienced team of local managers, under the guidance of newly-appointed <285MONEY eZINE

INSIGHTS by Tracey-Ann Wisdom




f you are one of the over 750 million people on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed the series of tweaks and changes that are constantly being made to the user interface, especially over the past three months. For instance, your news feed has now been split in two, showing the ‘top stories’ in your main feed and a mini-feed (a la Twitter) on the upper right of the screen showing the most recent updates. These are just a preview of what is to come as the company will launch a redesigned site and new features on September 22. Changes are nothing new for Facebook as the technical team has tweaked the interface on several previous occasions. The difference with these latest alterations, however, is that they seem to be in direct response to Google + (Plus), the new-kid-on-the-block social network, which opened up to the general public on September 20. Google + was rolled out a mere three months ago in Google’s bid to command a share of the booming social network market currently dominated by Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Twitter. Since launching in July, Google + has amassed over 25 million users, which is not at all significant in light of Facebook’s numbers. However, Google + did come with a number of features that were similar to Facebook, which naturally made it a contender. It also had its own unique features, some of which have garnered consistently positive user reviews, so much so that Facebook has rushed to add similar features to its interface. For example, Google + offers ‘Circles’, which lets users group their friends according to association, such as ‘school friends’ and ‘work colleagues’. Facebook has added ‘Lists’, which allows the same grouping function, so you can now choose which list of friends to share posts with.

it is a ‘private network’, there are also no business pages, therefore no chance for users to interact with their favourite brands, which both Facebook and Twitter offer.

But really, why has Facebook, the undeniable market leader, decided to ape its still unproven rival? Is Google + really a threat to the social network’s dominance?

It’s early days yet, so no one can say whether Google + will be able to sufficiently erode Facebook’s market share. What’s clear is that there is room for improvement in both network’s offerings. Additionally, the success of Twitter (although not a direct rival to Facebook in terms of interface and interaction capabilities) has proven that there is space in cyberspace for more than one operator. It is good that Facebook doesn’t want to seem to be falling behind the curve, but its operators should always bear in mind the fact that the quickest path to destruction is the try to be everything to everyone.


Naturally, these changes have been met with significant backlash as users accuse Facebook of morphing into ‘Facebook +’. By and large, these changes were unsolicited, which is what has ticked off the majority of irate users. It has also neglected certain aspects that users have been known to complain about, like the obtrusive Chat feature. But really, why has Facebook, the undeniable market leader, decided to ape its still unproven rival? Is Google + really a threat to the social network’s dominance? After all, Google + is not without its share of criticism, such as for its insistence on users registering with their real names, no nicknames or pseudonyms. Since <285MONEY eZINE




arron Thomas has studied business all his life, so he is very familiar with the various processes involved in establishing and operating a company. However, it wasn’t until he entered the business world himself that he realized that what he has learned in theory doesn’t quite synch up with what is practiced. Thomas was in the process of setting up his formal consultancy in New York City when he hit the roadblock, which ironically turned out to be an opportunity in disguise. “At the time, I worked specifically as an economic consultant, but realized that the [processes] of opening, registering and operating a business were not well understood. Out of this experience, I started Pristine Business Solutions Limited (PBS) in the USA. Through the PBS offices, I continued economic consulting but broadened the scope of operations by including Business Start-up, Business Development, and Business Survival Strategies,” he explained. Thomas would take his expertise back home to Jamaica in 2008, where he collaborated with a group of colleagues to form Pristine Enterprises Limited (PELT Consulting), which was opened in early 2009. The consultancy offers a range of services targeted to business enterprises, academia, multilateral agencies, oversight authorities, government and non-government organizations (NGOs). PELT Consulting specializes in Business Start-up, Development, Survival and

signs and development; loan brokerage services and accounting and tax services. PELT Consulting is run by Thomas, who is the CEO, and a four-member steering and oversight team, which consists of highly trained professionals in the areas of Economics, Finance and Computing. Similarly, the consultants engaged by the company also have at least a minimum Masters degree in their fields. Thomas holds a PhD in Economics from Virginia Tech. He is also a lecturer in the subject at the University of Technology. Darron Thomas President and CEO of Pristine Enterprises Limited (PELT Consulting)

“At the time, I worked specifically as an economic consultant, but realized that the [processes] of opening, registering and operating a business were not well understood. Out of this experience, I started Pristine Business Solutions Limited (PBS) in the USA.” Growth Services; Financial and Wealth Management and Advise; Financial Planning and Analysis; Accounting, Auditing and Government Compliance; Risk Management; Methods and Mechanics of Financial Markets; Project Management and Process Restructuring. All these services are supported by Research and Data Analysis. PELT also offers ICT consultation, including web de-

Based on his experience, both with PELT Consulting and as a practicing entrepreneur, Thomas has some practical advice for small companies and those considering going into business, including having a well defined business model and business plan, knowing your products and your space within the market, and also to get registered, which will help with risk management and allows you to access relevant government incentives. “Furthermore, be very careful of starting a business for which there are significant hindrances to your being the “captain” of day to day operations. However, ensure that your operating a business is not simply a swap of your own time for money; that can be accomplished on a job,” he said. “What needs to be done as an entrepreneur is to bring complementary skills together and extract the synergies from that set of skills to generate value in the marketplace.”


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Your Money eZine  

September 21, 2011

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