The Efficient Group’s Dawie Roodt has recruited Springbok rugby player Victor Matfield as a Brand Ambassador, to help educate people about investment products, and to help boost the group’s image and business. To find out how this works, and how things have gone in the first year, ZA Confidential caught up with Dawie and Victor.
ZAC: Why a Brand Ambassador, and why Victor?
Dawie: The obvious reason to approach Victor was because of his profile as the most recognizable SA sportsman, at the prime of his career. We want to be a bit different. As a sportsman of his calibre, he is a great representative of what South Africa has become. He is a new South African. I think the majority of South Africans cannot retire financially independent, as a lot of people are not that well versed and do not plan for retirement. We have approached Victor to see how he manages his own affairs, and he is not too different to other South Africans. We aim to make him financially more literate – to get advice, have a proper budget, and choose the right products. He is a guinea pig who has achieved something amazing in his own field.
ZAC: You seem to suggest he was the obvious choice?
Dawie: We discussed who we wanted and we all agreed Victor was the best choice. It was easier to put the deal together than I had expected.
ZAC: What are the challenges facing rugby players, whose careers tend to be shorter than the normal working lifetime?\
Victor. As we get older in rugby, we talk about more than just girls and rugby. The biggest problem is how we manage the money we earn. We earn well at an early stage, and spend money on anything. But in the later stage of our careers, a lot of people come to us with ventures – and a lot of players lose their money. If young players can come to a company like the Efficient Group, a lot more rugby players will be able to retire and look after themselves and their families. If you can get players to have a house and two cars and no debt when they retire, they are in a good space. A lot of players get used to a certain type of lifestyle, and at 32 or 34 that kind of income is difficult to match. Eighty percent of rugby players are not where they should be when they retire.
ZAC: Dawie, how do you and Victor work together in promoting the Efficient Group and its products?
Dawie: To be a successful financial service company you need far more than an economist. You need a professional team behind you. Victor is a very strong leader and when we do presentations I talk about the economy and he talks about a team. I was surprised to see how these two concepts fit together in a good way. He has taught us a lot about leadership and team play. Initially it was an agreement which was to run for two years and we are now talking about extending it.
ZAC: Victor, do you expect this to be more than just a limited relationship? And how do you find the time for this?
Victor: When we started I said I don’t just want to do this for two years but want to learn more from the company. Hopefully after the first two years there can be a longer relationship. It takes some of my time, but it is all about time management. So far we have been able to manage it.
ZAC: What are you teaching Victor about the world of finance?
Dawie: He has had a few classes in economics and he will end up in asset management.
ZAC: And how much of a draw card is Victor?
Dawie: We have been to a couple of places. If you walk with Victor anywhere, you don’t stop because a queue forms. He is always so nice with everybody. Everybody know him, and clearly we made the right decision. I have done presentations with him and he is an excellent speaker and a great motivational speaker.
ZAC: You are a well-known Afrikaner and so is Victor. Is there a danger you might squeeze out other sections of South African society?
Dawie: If I look at how many journalist call me for comment, I get far more calls from English speakers. I get invited to address all sorts of fora. It is simply not the case we at the Efficient Group just have Afrikaans clients. But it is not easy to get qualified individuals from all parts of society. Victor does not represent Afrikaans or rugby; he represents South Africa.
ZAC: Do you agree, Victor?
Victor: Yes. I am Afrikaans speaking, but I take more photos and am approached by more black people than white people. Some people don’t understand the pull rugby has in the black and coloured community, especially the Springboks. I am not here as an Afrikaner, but here as a South African.
ZAC: Finally, Victor, how has this relationship made a difference to you?
Victor: A lot of our presentations suggest a dream or goal on how you want to end up financially. You have to have discipline, and then you can achieve your goals. Some people have different goals. Some people want to drive a Ferrari at 35. Other want to retire at 50. I am very impressed with the Efficient Group. I have moved all my things (investments) here.
This appears to be a win-win situation for both parties, and Victor and Dawie clearly get on well together and work well together. We see so much awful advertising and marketing in South Africa that it is a pleasure when you see two smart and talented people who seem to have have found the right formula.
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