After the show

After the Show…

Well it has be a while after the show but a review of the 2013 Harare Agricultural Show would be good for misconceptions. I have always been enthusiastic about the show because of my interests and my past participation. The show is more than cows and dust, companies launch new products and services, civil society engages the public and it is a chance to make your brand a household name. For the public it is a chance to know what’s on the market and where you can get a better deal. I could go on and on about the benefits but this is a drives of this years show.

This year the Harare Agricultural Show (HAS) kicked off a few days earlier than usual, I suppose to give exhibitors more opportunity. AFTER THE JUMP decided to go to HAS on the Sunday to see how these extra days were utilised by exhibitors and the public. More space was created too for exhibitors to participate.

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Unfortunately they did not seize the days, so to speak.

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Most exhibitors were ill-prepared and some did not even have pamphlets and promotional materials… I believe I can safetly say, WHO DOES THAT?! Makomo Energy did that. I am sure you are wondering how dismal the stand looked, it looked worse. Being a coal company it sprinkled some coal on the sides and placed decorative cloths on their table.

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Hwange Coke was a few stalls away and they did an asimulation of an underground mine and cooked lunch on coal energy… I’m just saying.

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Nestle, now After The Jump does applaud this exhibitor for the best use of space on their stand. Maggie dominated the space because there were demonstrating their new product.

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Civil Society
A good stand in civil society was a campaign called “Sugar Daddies, Sugar Mammas Kwete!” Which ran competitions with a worthwhile message.

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There were many other great stands in the ‘NGO Wall’s with special mention to the MSF stand who took time to raise awareness about neglected diseases.

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What is the point?
Sad to say promotions and freebies were lacking this year which ripped the proverbial guts of HAS 2013. Let’s face it, people who go to exhibitions look forward to freebies and frankly this year exhibitors were more focussed on making sales as opposed to gaining customers. Dairyboard I am talking to you. Fine we can make a compromise and consider a 2 for 1 offer or even a 10% off deal… but nothing! I am emotional about this point because companies in Zimbabwe do not appreciate their consumers enough. Appreciation aside, let us talk marketing and engagement opportunites. I wave this finger at the marketing teams. What was the point of exhibiting? Dendairy?

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Battle of the Mobile Service Providers
One word… DISAPPOINTED
Wasted time, wasted opportunity… you can stick plenty of billboards about great services and promotions but if a consumer visits your stand personally and gets nothing else but pamphlets for old services and rude staff… ON TO THE NEXT ONE. it is disconcerting how these Mobile service providers do not feel the need to fully engage their subscribers as if they will not migrate. That is for another blogpost. At HAS 2013 the most disappointing mobile service provider’s stand would have to be Telecel. Looked good outside but lackluster service made them lose this challenge.

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Netone follows with great staff who welcomed visitors as they entered but did not do much else.

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Econet Wireless did what they do best, high visibility showcasing their varied services. They got points for providing free internet on site, which was a form of public engagement. They still can do more.

The best stand as far as good stand use, engagement and driving most traffic at a given time was Colcom.

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On one stand there was a pig on the spit, a DJ, a face painting clown, social media competition and most importantly a cooking class armed with cookbooks.

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This excludes retail efforts. The chef who ran the classes was not that good, evidenced by the lack of people clammering for seconds of the dish prepared.

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Mavis, the assistant seemed to know more about what she was doing.

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All in all, Colcom did a good job and deserve top spot in our books.

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Surprisingly, the military and airforce stands grabbed my attention because they allowed children to handle real guns…

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Oh and this enthusiastic airforce pilot explained in detail what it like to join the airforce… amazed.

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All in all, I hope this review encourages more people to HAS and also encourages exhibitors to make more effort next year and give more freebies.

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