kulula embarks on new business strategy

September 2, 2008 - Having just turned seven-years-young, kulula today re-launched itself as part of a strategy to broaden the company's brand appeal, online presence and product portfolio. Respected as a simple, refreshing and consumer-friendly brand, kulula's new look is in conjunction with the company's revenue diversification strategy, including three distinct sub-brands to support the company's growth within, and beyond, South Africa's travel sector.

SA's largest online retailer

With more than R2 billion in revenue each year and over 650 000 unique browsers monthly, kulula is the largest online retailer in South Africa. Utilising its trusted online platform and strong IT skills, kulula will diversify its revenue stream with three distinct and complementary sub-brands on kulula.com

"In the last seven years our fabulous team has touched more than eight million lives and earned fantastic respect and a loyal following of kulula fans," said Gidon Novick. "Aware that South Africans want to simplify their lives and deal with a truly South African brand, we plan to offer – together with our carefully chosen strategic partners – more cost-effective products and services that are refreshingly easy to browse and purchase online."

Three sub-brands, greater flexibility

Centred primarily around its Web presence and initially focusing on online travel – a sector worth over $65BN in the United States – the new areas of focus on kulula.com will include the following sub-brands:

  • kulula.com – domestic, regional (and soon to be international) flight bookings, as well as 'add-on's such as cars, hotels and cabs;
  • kulula travel - all-inclusive package holidays and the widest range of hotels on offer in South Africa; and
  • kulula connect – refreshingly simple and cost-effective Internet and cell phone service packages.

Many of the products and services will offer kulula customers the opportunity to earn kulula moolah to put towards free kulula flights, tying into kulula's jetsetter loyalty club which now has 52 000 members.

kulula's push into the broader online travel category is driven by the fact that domestic air travel in South Africa is worth around R13 billion per annum, while the broader travel sector is Southern Africa is estimated to be worth more than R50 billion. When kulula launched in 2001, only four percent of South Africans travelled by air each year. Today, more than 10 percent do.
"Taking some learning from our collaboration with SA Tourism to convince more South Africans to explore their own country, we see a similar opportunity in travel overall with less than three percent of South Africans having enjoyed a package vacation last year," added Novick.

Beyond successes with its kulula credit card – used by over 20 000 South Africans – kulula's new target markets are complementary to its travel business, and offer the opportunity for kulula to secure recurring revenue streams. For example, for business people requiring Web-access when travelling, mobile Internet access – available through kulula connect starting R80 per month – will generate annuity revenues for kulula, while offering customers loyalty rewards in the form of kulula moolah.

The new brand platform for kulula was created in collaboration with the Johannesburg office of Brand Union, a global brand consultancy founded in 1976. According to Anthony Swart, CEO of Brand Union: "As an iconic South African brand, kulula represents youthfulness and independence. In repositioning their brand, the Brand Union eagerly accepted the challenge of conveying kulula's distinctive values, personality and somewhat irreverent culture in a refreshing manner to a number of new markets and sectors." A new advertising campaign, conceived by King James advertising in Cape Town, will launch in September to support the new kulula travel brand.