Tractor Outdoor, one of South Africa’s largest independent out of home and digital media owners, is offering small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) their share of a collective R8M in media exposure, as part of its #20in21 SME Initiative.
The initiative, which sees the media owner leverage its extensive network of nationwide outdoor media inventory to promote local businesses for free, is open to all SMEs in South Africa. The idea, explains Remi Du Preez, Commercial Director at Tractor Outdoor, is to “give these businesses a much-needed marketing boost, helping them to increase sales and secure top of mind awareness.”
This year also marks Tractor’s 20th birthday, and so the media owner intends to select 20 deserving SMEs from the total pool of entries. Each of these businesses will receive a package that includes advertising across Tractor’s OOH and digital OOH networks, as well as social media and online exposure. Of the 20, five selected ‘SME Heroes’ will each get an additional boost in the form of a branded video, PR and digital promotion.
“The qualifying criteria is simple. We’re looking for interesting companies and passionate people; businesses that demonstrate the potential – and desire – for growth, but that could do with a helping hand to get them there.”
Tractor Outdoor’s SME Initiative, which was first launched last year, was initially a response to the nationwide lockdown. He explains, “Businesses all around the globe bore the brunt of the worldwide lockdowns intended to slow the spread of coronavirus, but – without the buffer of significant cash reserves – SMEs took the hardest hit of all.”
The intention, explains Du Preez, was to support local businesses that were struggling. “We decided that we would use the resources at our disposal to provide qualifying SMEs with free advertising. And so we put out the word and our inboxes began to fill almost immediately.”
Through this initiative, Tractor Outdoor granted billboard space to a significant number of businesses, while five were featured as part of the media owner’s #SMEHeroes campaign, which shone a spotlight on their respective stories through a video series.
The campaign also became a pivotal moment for Tractor, which led to a shift in its entire approach to business. “As an OOH media owner – which is reliant on outdoor audiences – we took a huge knock when lockdown was first announced in 2020.
“However, this period of difficulty gave us a moment to pause, and reflect on our purpose. We realised that we couldn’t think only of ourselves – we needed to help those around us, if we were going to get through this as a country.” Tractor Outdoor has since applied for its B-Corp certification, which is granted to companies that meet the most stringent criteria of balancing profit with purpose. “Our responsibility to shareholders will remain, but there’s now a greater emphasis on the role we play within our community.”
The idea behind #20in21, explains Du Preez, is to build on what was achieved last year.“As we celebrate two decades in business this year, we’ve decided not to spend money on a lavish party, and rather redirect our resources to helping another 20 companies in the hope that they too will someday celebrate twenty years in business.”