“Why the “Kardashianification” of the Bonang brand can’t work in SA” written by Lungelo Shezi offers convincing insight into why “a reality show, an emoji app, a new intimate wear line and a book (which had to be pulled off a major bookstore’s shelves because it’s so poorly written and edited)” might strategically lead to some failures for Bonang’s brand and consequently a loss in $$. I get that considering the some 1000 viewers that tuned in to watch the most recent of her episodes. Shezi put it very bluntly that “Matheba’s brand is doing pretty well for itself without having to try milk its fan base” and with that we have to question her business development team. In his bite, what Shezi forgot to do is to point out what direction Bonang could be going in order to get those $$ and stay relevant as a brand.
Now, a more interesting question for me then becomes, in what instances would a Kardashianification of the Bonang Brand work? This is my watered down response.
Bonang is a fashion icon on some legendary tip and so are the Kardashians… But the difference is she retails through Woolworths, bo Kim created other clothing brands around the Kardashian Brand independently meaning greater autonomy. We, the general public do not know the details of Bonang's Woolworths contract but what is clear is how restrictive such contracts can be in terms of distribution. Remember when she announced that her lingerie line would be available in Australia and had to put down that post because Woolworths claimed it was misleading or whatever? Check link.
ANYWAY, Bonang is celebrated for her style, her clothing and I’m not too sure if this has anything to do with her lingerie. As a strategist, ready to wear makes sense. The floral suit is clear evidence that this is what the people want instead of providing a product that is a luxury for most South African women.
As Shezi pointed out, a reality TV show when most people are glued up on social media doesn't really make a lot of sense but what he forgot to mention is that this doesn't completely rule out the option for television. There's the option to film a beautifully curated documentary or short film which in my opinion would have developed the Bonang Story so much that if she were to later independently go into the TV Show space, it would be on the premise and the success of the content she has provided in a documentary other than assuming that the show will be a hit just because it is Bonang. Another issue that people pointed out with reality TV is like Dineo Ranaka, you must be willing to be vulnerable and genuine which some attribute to why Being Bonang wasn’t as much of a success as had been anticipated.
b. Cell-C App
An app can serve many purposes other than just reading up on the life of a celebrity who also happens to be super active on social media in a country where celebrity status is not as “exclusive” as the US for example and where there exists a vacuum for service and product oriented apps. Bonang could sell her lingerie through her app, or makeup, or clothing or something that intrinsically gives the consumer the impression that purchasing adds some kind of value, not association. This approach would also enable her to become an employer in a country with such a high unemployment rate at a scale that the Cell-C app can never reach. And again it is with Cell C, and what we do know is that brand affiliation is not always the way to go especially if you can afford app developers and a team that can create something more relevant for the targeted market.
c. An Emoji App.
Well this is one of those complicated ones that I cannot really speak to.
d. The Book.
Mistake number one was a PR issue. How do you refer to your fan base as “These People” and infer that “they” say there are grammatical errors as if it is not true? It really sounded like a very white thing to say, you know “These People” us “Blacks” which is why I asked who her development team is? As a brand, you’re pretty much digging your own grave if you can be dismissive about clear quality issues that consumers are pointing out instead of first genuinely apologizing and then rectifying whatever had gone wrong because it was a disaster.
Moving forward, the brand has developed itself enough to successfully exist independently without fully relying on the endorsements of corporates because they can be very limiting especially for a young black successful woman. Remember Woolworths? Which is why the Metro FM exit made a lot of sense. Anyway, that’s my 2cents in case B fans come at me about my bank balance. Any more than that I would have to get paid for. See what I did there?