Din Shero, is the proprietor McCall Brands, a marketing and events company based in Uganda he spoke to PML Daily’s ABRAHAM MUTALYEBWA on doing his kind of business in Uganda.
Qn1.Share with us the Journey of McCall brands.
McCall brands was incorporated in 2012. I have a cousin, Lufti Katushabe, living in Pretoria, South Africa. We had the same passion and vision so we had a small chat and we decided to register the brand in the two countries where each lived. The one in South Africa focuses on branding but ours deals in marketing, sales, branding and events promotion.
Qn2.What services do you offer?
We do marketing, events management, public relations, promotions, experimental and club marketing among others. For events, we worked on grand opening, end of year party for Pearl of Africa Hotel twice with Fenon events, education run at Kololo, ice cream and cake festival , signature in Mbarara, Diner lounge, club play,space lounge among others.
Qn3.What is the secret behind your success?
I think it is not that much simple but I will call it easy. I have a very focused team with hands on experience that is ever ready and we attack the guerilla-war style everything that we see in regards to our line of business.
All the marketing basics are the same but the only difference is in the execution. Everyone uses online, email, influential marketing among others but putting it out creates that cutting edge
Qn4.Which events have you been apart of that have turned around your brand?
Definitely working closely with Fenon events at the grand opening and new year parties twice in a row at Pearl of Africa Hotel in Nakasero, the Ice cream and Cake festival, Education run. There is a way they put us out there to the corporate brands and we were able to hit the deals too since they viewed us from another perspective.
Qn5. Some of the events managers don’t see the value of using external professionals and they want to do it all.What is your say on this?
No one knows it all, at least that one I know. It is the reason we have a team of thirteen people and if I did so, I would have done everything by myself which is not the case.
My advice is to bring on various skills to head different departments. The in-house marketing person cannot have all the capabilities, influence and skills for all other people.
Qn6. As a professional events manager, most artists, disco-jockeys among others don’t consider time as critical factor in the industry. How have you addressed this?
I think time is the biggest factor in any event. If an artiste or DJ does not arrive on time, people will get rowdy when they do not see the person at the venue. For the DJs the crowd is always anxiously waiting for them. Apparently it is taking over the artistes since some of them get more than five gigs a week which translates to money.
We are have been dealing with the right brands and professional DJs plus artistes and of whose brands are already established in public. There is usually a contract clause before they perform that stipulates the event’s duration capturing specifics like commencement and conclusion time. Whenever they show up late, there are consequences for example you are supposed to start at 2:00am and you come at 3:00am. The payment is deducted. Fortunately, some of the artistes we have dealt with such as Bebe Cool, Maurice Kirya, and Cindy among have duly respected it.
Therefore there is no artiste who is bigger than a brand or marketing agency since they are the ones giving you business at that particular time and they are the bosses and if they are bigger they would not have worked. Some artistes rise and fall but brands such as Balaam, Fenon, Silk Events, Legacy and Events Warehouse have stood the test of time.
Qn7. Besides events, what other services do you offer?
Putting that aside, we offer marketing both influential and experiential, operations, public relations and branding.
Qn8. What are the current trends in events that business owners should take on?
The marketing and events industry had really evolved, back then, we used to have invitations and complimentary back in the day 2006-2007.
Of late it is all about influencers, nice looking ladies at events, customer care skills, a lot of social media for the brand since it is slowly taking over.
If you are doing a theme event factors such as music and discounts come in handy. Others ways of beautifying a hang-out include; the aesthetic set up of the place like decoration, concept building and many others.
Qn9.Revelers in Uganda keep on shifting from one new place to another, what is your say on this as a guru in this field?
People tend to move from one hang-out to another in pursuit of new experiences such as new services crowd among others but the one thing I know is that as long as go with what they want they will stick along. They can move to other places not a for a long time but the loyal clients will come back within no time.
When you see one re-branding, they are looking at getting what they had and move a step farther leading to other new clients and rejuvenating themselves.
It is normally good since some places may look better than yours and this drives new people. In fact about 90% of the re-branded venues work out and only a few do not make it because the owners never knew.
Qn10. What advice do you give to aspiring proprietors who dream of establishing venues?
The key factor is that you have to conduct a thorough research. Things do not happen overnight, it takes some time and for example if you invest UGX 500M getting the returns, it will require ample time depending on your strategies.
Most of them are closing because they did not know what they were bargaining for in the first place but when you know you will be able to sustain your business.
In the events business, one has to carry out a profit analysis to help you assess how much you stand to gain from it and you must have a contingency plan just in case things don’t turn out right.
Qn11.Is the growing number of events managers an indication of the industry’s boom?
Definitely! there is money in the industry but the issue is that everyone is trying to chip in since it is free entry and exist and they having nothing to do.