A visit to Bralirwa’s new Commercial Offices in Kigali. At the Sonatube round-about in Kicukiro, rising above the commotion of one of Kigali’s busiest areas is a new building that now houses BRALIRWA’s Commercial department.
The Commercial office lies right in the heart of this vibrant part of the City. From its windows you can see and feel the buzz as people from all walks of life engage in the bustle of their daily business. “We wanted our sales and marketing teams to be as close to the market and their consumers as possible” said Jonathan Hall, Bralirwa’s Managing Director, “so that they can draw inspiration from what surrounds them. Our Commercial mantra is “Get Close” to customer and to consumer. And being located here in such a stimulating location absolutely supports and drives that aspiration.”
With the new office combining sales and marketing under one roof the Commercial department can work ever more closely together to build appealing marketing campaigns while ensuring that the consumer is placed at the centre of all that they do. “Being here we continuously get a sense of our market. It is an excellent way to keep us focused on developing relevant and responsive campaigns and events in order to build our brands, generate excitement and establish close connection with our consumers. ,” Jan van Velzen, BRALIRWA’s Marketing Director noted. “With our investment in a state of the art soft drinks bottling plant at the Limonaderie in Kicukiro, the site was becoming rather full.
The decision to move the commercial teams a few hundred metres down the road to Sonatubes was a big one as for years Bralirwa has been located on the one site at the Limonaderie,” explained the MD. “But with the dynamism in Rwanda’s beverage market, an ever better informed and savvy consumer and customer we agreed that this was exactly the right time to make this move and change. Not only does it drive closeness but by having all Commercial people together in one place it will build strong alignment between sales and marketing, stimulate creativity and facilitate improved co-ordination and management.” This view was echoed also by Martine Gatabazi, BRALIRWA’s Marketing Manager, “Having the Commercial teams together in one big office each in the closest reach of the other is a great way to improve efficiency in service delivery,” Bralirwa has invested over $ 40 million in the last two years in the brewery at Gisenyi and the soft drinks plant in Kicukiro. In addition the Commercial department was re-organized in 2013 creating a number of new positions in both sales and marketing. Such investment and growth inevitably led to the need for additional space. So in a very real sense, the new Commercial Office is a clear statement of the Company’s strong belief in the direction and growth of the Rwandan beverage market.
“We are a modern, forward-looking company operating in an exciting, open and competitive market. We wanted the location and look of our Commercial offices to reflect this and thanks to the great work the Village Design team this has been wonderfully achieved,” commented Bralirwa’s Sales Director Daaf van Tillburg.
The many fine photographs taken by Rwandan photographer “Illume” displayed on the interior walls of the new office tell the story clearly. They show case Bralirwa’s brands, consumers and marketing programmes and events: Copa Coca Cola, Heineken and the European Champion’s League, Primus Guma Guma Super Stars, classy Mutzig ads, Turbo King posters and great close ups of consumers reaching for refreshment or immersed in branded entertainment events.
They bring to life the claim of the consumer being at the heart of Bralirwa’s business. “These wonderful photos are an additional stimulus to us all constantly reminding us of who we really work for and the entertainment and great moments that our sales and marketing teams create for the consumer and the great business opportunity we create for our customers and trade partners,” observed Jan.
The lay out of the Commercial office combines open plan with a number of offices whose glass partitions promote interaction and connection. Large windows give out onto the surrounding areas with great 360 degree views of Kigali. Each desk has its own tilting lamp to promote a sense of work intimacy while the office as a whole is filled with light and buzz.
“The open plan design is somehow new for us,” commented Regional Sales Manager, Laurent Bahinzi, “but we have quickly grown accustomed to it and we enjoy the working benefits and atmosphere that it brings. It is great that we in Sales are together with our Marketing colleagues. This makes access and communication with them so easy.”
Six meeting rooms are complemented by a number of soft seating areas where the teams meet together or with agencies and customers in a more casual setting. According to Jan, having such space to provide for a more relaxing ambience will enhance creativity. “We are delighted with these new offices. And salute Village Design for the great job that they have done.
The result is a very modern, optimistic working environment which will provide the right inspiration to us as we develop our programmes to connect with our consumers and create business opportunity for all our trade partners,”commented Jan