A Hive Member Spotlight.

As one of the platforms that managed to stay active throughout lockdown, we have an idea of how agonizing it would be to read another ‘Business during COVID’ article. That being said, our latest member spotlight focuses on a business that managed to survive and even grow while entire industries were sinking.

“ We help our clients create a solid online presence and an identity their clients can resonate with. ” – Sne Vilakazi, Founder


Despite the marketing and media industry’s mainstream appeal, one of its major issues has always been accessibility. First, “big” agencies are notorious for the hefty fees that come with their network, expertise and exorbitant overheads. Second, the advent of digital marketing has made an already-exclusive industry even more competitive and ruthless for the small players.

Vukawanele began as a cost-effective digital marketing solution for startups who, despite understanding the significance of a strong online presence, couldn’t afford agency prices. 

By pulling together her experience and clout within the industry, Sne Vilakazi began offering competitive “marketing” at entry-level prices for established businesses & startups alike.

“ When your online presence is on point, some people don’t even know that you’re a small business. “

The Right Time: A lesson in Brand Positioning

While it’s weird to suggest that a pandemic was the right time for anything, you have to appreciate how an independent digital agency managed to thrive during a lockdown. 

For the most part, Vukawanele’s (pre-COVID) efforts focused on startups, NPOs and the occasional Government entity. When big companies were forced to downsize, they were also forced to look for cheaper marketing solutions. At this stage many of these companies would have considered outsourcing their marketing jobs or partnering with freelancers to make things happen, placing them right in Ms.Vilakazi’s playing field.

Vuka’s network, competitive prices and proven track record (in doing the most with less) made them a strong contender against major agencies, who were struggling to adapt to the shifting tide.

Sharing the Win

In more detail, Vilakazi recounts some of the steps it took to cement her business’ position and the lessons they learned during the pandemic. She mentions how Vukawanele is organized in a way that is flexible & cheap to operate, and how she learnt to capture clients’ interest in a heavily-competitive market. 

Securing new business also meant expanding Vukawanele’s offerings beyond online and social media. In efforts to help clients adapt, the agency now offers specialist services like the USSD* platform they created for SANRAL.

*Similar to the one you use to buy data or load emergency airtime on your mobile network.

” It’s never about what your company does, it’s about what the client needs. “

Luckily, we recorded that chat and put together the Plateau Session below so you could hear it straight from the CEO’s mouth. Don’t forget to follow us @hivejoburg on all socials.

Written by: Lungelo Hlela (I am Multeemedia) // Images supplied by Vukawanele Integrated Marketing Solutions

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Lungelo Samkelo Hlela has won (Loerie, Bookmark & Creative Circle) awards for his work as a digital copywriter. With “nothing to share”; he has been a contributing writer on our blog since 2018

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