Why did you choose Uganda?
I was Africa sales manager for Clear Channel in Johannesburg, spending time travelling to Uganda. The opportunity arose to take on the challenge of becoming general manager for Uganda, selling airport, billboard and six-sheet sites.
What's the media environment like?
Uganda is competitive, with most sales being done directly with clients. You have to be aware not only of other out-of-home contractors' offerings, but also radio, print and so on. Radio and OOH are regarded as the perfect partners when running campaigns in Africa, as there are restrictions on other media due to the lack of electricity and poor literacy rates.
And the outdoor market?
One word - unregulated. Local councils and officials are not well off and any opportunity to make money is grabbed. However, we had some media types that would fit in nicely on any high street. One was the Citilite product (Clear Channel regional president Barry Sayer's brainchild) - a stunning brushed aluminium back-lit 48-sheet, using the rigiflex system, on which we could change creative bi-weekly, taking the technical team 20 minutes per site. Not bad for the Third World. Clients loved the concept and Citilite is a major part of the Uganda success story.
What's the culture and social scene like?
Uganda is a great country to live in - fantastic weather, friendly people and a vibrant expatriate community.
What are the main differences?
The biggest difference is the amount of contact I would personally have with my client. From an outdoor perspective, long-term contracts are the norm. Only recently have short-term tactical campaigns on two to four-weekly cycles been introduced.
One thing the UK can learn from Uganda
The sales process needs to be more relationship-based as opposed to formula-driven. It's easy to press buttons and a spreadsheet gives you the requirements for a campaign. Interaction with a client can allow you to offer a more focused approach, save the client money and build a relationship that extends beyond the next campaign.
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