Where do brands and marketers look to understand middle-class consumers go to find actionable, realistic, useful data? That was the question the team at WhyFive Insights asked almost a decade ago when they launched a unique annual survey and data set called BrandMapp.

“We were working in media at the time”, says Lowe, “publishing magazines catering for people interested in travel, motoring, golf and wine and we quickly realized that the establishment surveys were really not able to get over the security fences and find large enough samples of relatively wealthy South Africans who were willing to take a survey. So the results we got from something like AMPS were at best, unreliable, at worst, completely useless. When we launched BrandMapp, using a 100% online methodology, it solved the problem and continues to be the go-to data set for anyone wanting to get to grips with this vital segment of the SA consumer market.

That segment is defined as the total adult population (18 years and older) living in households with a combined monthly income in excess of R10 000 per month. And according to director of storytelling Brandon de Kock, it’s ‘vital’ for good reason. “When you look at the total SA population of about 40 million adults, somewhere around 12 million live in R10K+ households”, he explains, “so just over 30%. We aren’t for a moment saying that the remaining 70% aren’t important. Of course they are. But the middle-class-and-up earn almost 80% of all income and essentially pays 100% of all personal taxes. If you’re selling new cars, or investment products, or expensive clothing, realistically that’s where the bulk of your market sits. And because we only focus our attention on them, we are able to do a much better job of it than big, broad surveys that dilute their research by trying to paint pictures of the entire SA population.

More than 30 000 respondents took part in BrandMapp 2021, answering over 200 questions about their lives, hopes, dreams, consumer behaviour, financial portfolio, tech and media habits and a lot more, and the resulting dataset offers an incredibly detailed view of their consumer lives. As de Kock says, “these days, brands have so much transactional data to deal with, they know exactly where, when and how much of everything they’re selling. But an enormous number of them have no real idea who is buying it. That’s where we come in.” Thus BrandMapp is best described as a ‘profiling tool’ that’s not only able to give brands and marketers a unique view of their customers, but also offer insights into their competitor’s customers and the relative consumer landscape.

Over the past nine years, BrandMapp has reached into the hallways and boardrooms of an enviable list of clients ranging from the country’s largest grocery retailers, banking and financial institutions to media owners and marketing agencies, clothing brands and alcohol distributors. “We pride ourselves on being able to assist just about any size business, from large multi-nationals to entrepreneurs and start-ups. As consultants with decades of experience in marketing, we bring a lot more than just Excel spreadsheets to the table,” says Lowe, “and we really believe that’s what’s needed in the current market. There’s a lot of data available, but real insight is a scarce commodity and that’s what BrandMapp is designed to deliver.”

For brands with internal insight teams who run their own data, BrandMapp is available on all the regular cross-tab tools (Telmar, SoftCopy, Eighty20, Clear Decisions etc.) but specific views, data extracts and reports are also very much on the menu. And should the need arise to augment the BrandMapp view of the world, the WhyFive team, together with partners Silverstone CIS are willing and able to deliver quick turnaround bespoke surveys on demand.

” We’ve always loved the idea of being small, agile and flexible” says de Kock, “so we do whatever we can to deliver on our BrandMapp promise of giving clients what everyone needs right now: an unfair advantage!”

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