The Marketing Kraal is an out of home advertising company founded in 2007 by Lebona Moleli. The company’s major media platforms include wall murals, containers, billboards, building wraps, towers and office branding.
A qualified biochemist turned entrepreneur Moleli holds a BSc from National University of Lesotho, MSc from Atlanta University in the US and an MBA from Wits Business School.
Q1: Why did you decide to branch out with your own business, rather than work for corporates
A: I started in the corporate and spend 15 years in manufacturing, operations and marketing at SA Breweries, Coca-Cola, SAA and Uthingo Management before venturing into entrepreneurship. My passion and love for advertising was inspired by a beautiful Lux billboard featuring the late businesswoman, Marina Maponya, which I saw growing up as a young boy.
When my last employer Uthingo, the first operator of the SA National Lottery, closed in 2007 my entrepreneurship calling was ignited.
Q2: Give us a brief history of your media venture? what gave you the idea and how the journey has unfolded?
A: I started the business with only a laptop and a database of a few friends I made in my other life in the corporate world. I noticed that many blue-chip companies were moving their advertising to the township market and looking for a cost effective media to promote their brands. Using shipping containers and boundary walls that exist in townships as a medium of advertising was a cost-effective choice.
My first client in my first year of operation was Cell C and in the second year e.tv came on board and as they say the rest is history. It has been an exciting and challenging business journey with twists and turns, but I have no regrets I chose the journey.
Q3: What impact did Covid-19 have on your business? how are you managing now?
A: Like all other businesses, Covid-19 and several lockdowns had a negative impact on our business. We unfortunately lost many clients as marketing budgets were cut. We had to downsize our business and outsource some of our non-core operations. However, we never stopped promoting the business in our digital platforms. We also run a digital campaign on our Facebook page encouraging South Africans to practice Covid-19 protocols and vaccinate. We also donated a wall mural in Tembisa for a vaccination drive campaign.
At the beginning of 2021 things started to improve and we believe our agility has sustained us and we are wiser going forward.
Q4: What challenges did you face as a media entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
A: Getting that first client and convincing them that our media works was a challenge. I equate it to attending your first job interview without experience. Other challenges included dealing with clients that don’t pay on time and vandalism of our sites. I believe hard work, networking and collaboration helped us.
Q5: Has there been a moment of success that has really stood out and that is your favorite and to what do you contribute to your success?