Flow Communications

Clifford Regenbaum and Richard Frank pose with the six Smarties Awards
Carspa owner and Flow Communications partner Clifford Regenbaum (left) and Flow chief technology officer Richard Frank pose with the six Smarties Awards for the TriggerMessage campaign.

It’s a huge thing to win awards in every category you’ve been nominated, but scooping even more than that takes some doing – and that is exactly what Flow Communications did at the South African edition of the prestigious global Smarties Awards for mobile marketing.

Not only did Flow win a Smarties Award – three of them gold – in each of the five categories it entered, it was also honoured with the award for the best campaign overall. In the process it held its own among such high-profile brands as FNB, Checkers Sixty60, MTN, South African Breweries and PEP.

The awards, recognising excellence in digital marketing, were presented to Flow for its TriggerMessage app, which harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to identify customers and build their loyalty. TriggerMessage was developed in partnership with Johannesburg businessman Clifford Regenbaum, and trialled very successfully at his Carspa car wash in Illovo.

At Carspa, TriggerMessage automatically detects a vehicle’s number plate using number plate recognition algorithms and triggers messages to people who have signed up for a loyalty programme, offering them rewards for repeat visits.

In the first four months following the launch of TriggerMessage, which is available on mobile, tablet and desktop, more than 250 customers registered for the loyalty programme and received more than 600 loyalty messages via WhatsApp. The top Carspa loyalty programme member visited the car wash 39 times, and 32% of the business’s customers were repeat visitors.

“We knew from the start that TriggerMessage, which is capable of giving any business a significant boost, was innovative and special,” says Flow’s chief technology officer, Richard Frank.

“This latest recognition, and the five gold Assegai Awards and four New Generation Awards it has already won, validates our faith in our product, which we’re already rolling out to a variety of new customers. We foresee a bright future for TriggerMessage.”

Carspa owner and Flow Communications partner Clifford Regenbaum
Carspa owner and Flow Communications partner Clifford Regenbaum celebrates the first of three gold Smarties Awards for TriggerMessage, in the Real-time Marketing category.

At a black-tie function at Johannesburg’s Inanda Club held on 11 April 2024, Flow won awards in the following categories:

  • Real-Time Marketing (gold)

  • Contextual Targeting (gold)

  • Social Messaging/Chat Apps/Text Messaging (gold)

  • Small Budget/Big Impact (silver)

  • Personalisation (bronze)

  • Best in Show (judges’ award)

The six Smarties Awards
The six Smarties Awards garnered for TriggerMessage, including the judges’ Best in Class accolade for the top overall marketing campaign.

Regenbaum lauds this “amazing, amazing achievement from Flow Communications, making the fantastic – and simple – concept of TriggerMessage available, and for making it work the way it does.

“TriggerMessage has made AI available for any business, harnessing a simple CCTV system and WhatsApp. That’s the real achievement out of more than a year and a half of hard work to develop the app,” says Regenbaum.

For Flow Communications CEO Tara Turkington, TriggerMessage is a clear indicator that big budgets and household brand names are not always prerequisites for developing world-class work for clients.

“Big or small, all our clients receive the same dedication, care and out-of-the-box creativity,” she says. “For businesspeople such as Clifford, AI offers unparalleled opportunities, as it allows the Davids to compete against the Goliaths.

“This is being recognised more and more by awards such as the Smarties. It’s an enormous thrill for us to go up against the likes of brands such as KFC and Sixty60 and win – that’s just an amazing challenge, and we did it.”

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