Since 1941 the PPS brand has evolved into a major force in the financial services industry, catering exclusively for the unique needs of graduate professionals. The PPS model is unrivalled in South Africa as all profits are shared with our qualifying members, and only select graduate professionals qualify to join PPS. PPS Marketing has focused on creating better awareness of these unique benefits to grow our membership base and product take-up across the PPS Group.
Our major competitors are also targeting the professional market, with far larger marketing spend, and we have to be clever, tactical and innovative to reach our target market. Over the past five years we have acquired unique insights into media consumption of professionals and have used it to our advantage. Public relations (PR) were also used cleverly to ensure that we get editorial coverage and that our brand is seen as a thought-leader.
From an advertising campaign perspective, the two highlights of 2015 were:
From a PR perspective, we have enhanced the PPS Professional Confidence Index (PCI), the quarterly survey issued to members since 2011. The PCI is now well established in the public domain and serves as a barometer for graduate professionals’ opinions and views. It positions PPS as a thought-leader on issues that affect our members, and joined with the major professional trade associations to issue various press releases. From early 2015, we also included the WITS inflation perception survey questions in the PCI, and issued three PPS/WITS media releases in conjunction with Professor Jannie Rossouw.
PPS Marketing launched the Student Confidence Index (SCI), with the key issue the transition from university life to the professional workplace. We have consequently engaged with PPS members to allocate ‘’pro bono’’ sessions with the future students to mentor and coach them and in turn equip the students with the right skill set.
A key part of our brand building initiatives is to measure the effectiveness of our efforts, and implementing changes if required. In addition to considering factors such as the number of qualifying online applications for membership and product take-up (which were at an all-time high in the history of PPS in 2015), Consulta Research currently conducts two different research projects on behalf of PPS.
The PPS brand has reached a level of consistency over the last year, with all scores on the measure remaining very high. The sharing of profits continues to be the strongest attribute associated with the PPS brand, along with the exclusivity of the company. Members also feel that PPS is in a strong financial position and is a well-respected brand in the market that they are proud to be associated with.
The single most important metric of marketing effectiveness internationally is the likelihood of existing members promoting the brand to friends, family and colleagues, referred to as the Net Promoter Score (NPS).
The PPS NPS has remained very high over the last 12 months. PPS has maintained a NPS score in excess of 40, which is seen as exceptional in the Life Insurance industry.
With members as brand advocates, the levels of awareness among qualifying non-members improved significantly since 2013, with numbers doubling since the middle of 2014. This clearly indicates that PPS is at the forefront of innovative advertising messaging and we are reaching our potential market successfully.
From a business sustainability point of view, a healthy, growing member pipeline in South Africa is critical and it requires effective marketing of our brand to the professional market, also at their place of study. Our CSI initiatives therefore focus on education: bursaries, financial assistance at universities and universities of technology and various sponsorships.
PPS bursaries are awarded on financial need and academic record to full time university students to assist students financially to cover tuition and/or text book costs for one academic year. To be eligible for the PPS bursary, the student must be registered at a participating South African university or university of technology registering for a fourth academic year of study or post-graduate degree and must be studying towards a profession, which on qualification, would be eligible for PPS membership.
Our total budget for bursaries in 2015 increased to R2 million. Applications opened in September 2014 through the PPS website, social media and the Youth Division. In consultation with the PPS Youth Division we received 800 bursary applications, and 75 students were awarded with a bursary.
From left to right: Anton Louw, PPS Branch Manager (Cape Town North), Sandi Goodwin, PPS Graduate Marketing Specialist, Sikhumbuzo Sibali, PPS Bursary Recipient (Final Year Dentistry student) and Prof Yusuf I. Osman, Dean of the Dentistry faculty (University of the Western Cape)
(Below) From left to right: Anton Louw, Branch manager, Cape Town North, Sandi Goodwin, PPS Graduate Marketing Specialist, Martha Bronkhorst, PPS Dean bursary recipient, Prof Jimmy Volmink, Dean of Health Sciences and Eben Mouton, Finance Director at Stellenbosch Medical campus
The PPS Financial Assistance Programme is an annual project where PPS assists supporting universities and universities of technology with the enhancements or, in some cases, the establishment of projects that benefit our future graduate professionals. These projects vary according to the needs of the university and the students.
In 2015, PPS contributed R2 million to various universities. We received 17 applications for 2015.
Approved projects were:
|University of Cape Town||Engineering and Built Environment|
|University of Johannesburg||Postgraduate Centre, Research and Innovation|
|Durban University of Technology||Chemical Engineering|
|University of the Western Cape||Economics and Management Sciences|
|University of Fort Hare||Faculty of Science and Agriculture|
|Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University||Centre for Community Technologies|
|University of Pretoria||Veterinary Sciences|
|Cape Peninsula University of Technology||Health and Wellness Sciences|
|University of Free State||Medical|
|SAICE - Walter Sisulu University|
|Tirisano-Mmogo Primary School|
From left to right: Rebecca Seabela, PPS Graduate Marketing Specialist, Judy Bennett, Postgraduate Funding Support (University of Johannesburg) and Dudu Mbatha, Postgraduate Funding Support (University of Johannesburg).
From left to right: Professor Kobus Visser, Dean of Economic and Management Sciences and Sandi Goodwin, PPS Graduate Marketing Specialist
A strategic objective of PPS is to be a thought-leader to the niche market we serve and meaningful engagement with the PPS member base is of paramount importance to understand and address pertinent issues affecting our member’s daily concerns and opinions. Much of these engagements take place by way of interactions with the professional trade associations where we often share membership – or attempt to increase PPS membership.
To communicate and demonstrate the value of membership to professionals, we engaged with professional associations to capitalise on our unique, relevant and sustainable business model in a way that would be good for retention, acquisition and conversion of new members.
PPS placed print advertisements in 19 professional trade publications; we achieved a total readership of 557 400 in the publications with a total circulation of 90 205. In 2015 PPS participated in over 57 association events where we generated 1 758 new membership leads.
PPS advertises on the websites of 11 professional associations and gathered 310 visitors to the PPS website as referral traffic. Of the 310 visitors, 193 of them were new visitors to the PPS website.
A major part of our professional association initiatives were about student engagement. PPS Marketing arranged that PPS partnered with a number of professional associations on their various campus roadshows, thereby giving our graduate specialists an opportunity for presentations to the students and to generate leads. The joint student events gave both PPS and the associations an opportunity to secure younger members.
With each activity that we engage with we monitor the impact and determine drivers for improvement based on:
This event followed on similar events in 2013 and 2014. For 2015 the objectives for the campaign were:
We received 35 nominations for 2015, significantly higher than previous years and a new record.
The prize-giving and Women’s Day event was held on 7 August 2015, with the theme “Inspirational You”.
Cindy Ross from the Jala Peo Foundation, which empowers underprivileged youth from the Diepsloot community through cycling, enterprise development and life skills programme, received the main prize of R75 000.
The runner up, who received R25 000, was Alta-Mari Grebe from the Role Models Foundation, the organisation which built the first Imfundo Educare facility in the country and provides foundation education to children (between three and six years old) from disadvantaged communities.
From left to right: Kim Austen, Manager National Training and Development at PPS, Cindy Ross, winner of the Professional Woman of the Year award, and Macy Seperepere, Professional Associations Manager at PPS
From left to right: Kim Austen, Manager National Training and Development at PPS, Alta-Mari Grebe, runner up in the Professional Woman of the Year award, and Macy Seperepere, Professional Associations Manager at PPS