Cellphones to collect/spread market information

A South African-origin marketing-related service which largely uses cellphones (although it also uses other electronic media) is Cape Town-based Instant Grass. However, Instant Grass'semphasis – unlike that of the hypertag technology (see page 1) – is primarily on eliciting market-knowledge information from the youth (though it is also now increasingly being used to do "seed" marketing in which grasses are used to disseminate information after they have ''been given exposure to the brand'').
Ian Calvert, CEO of Instant Grass, says Instant Grass offers segmentation into target-market "tribes".
As those tribes change – which they do quickly – Instant Grass tracks them and reports to clients. It does this via "grasses" – informants – mainly in urban areas.
Grasses enlisted by Instant Grass conduct on-going conversations about what people think about the big issues like politics or AIDS; how they choose to lead their lives; what brands they choose and why; how they respond to marketing and communications; and how and why they develop trends and change fashions.
The grasses transmit the information and images gained in real time to Instant Grass, mainly by cellphone.
Instant Grass has networks in six African countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Angola. It recently set up in Russia, and is setting up in India.
Instant Grass has also developed the TribeTracker, which "tracks 'tribes' and identifies which tribes are the most prevalent and relevant to the client's business". It monitors what the local impact of marketing will be on that tribe.
This does not refer to Maasai, Ibo or Zulu, but to (in South Africa, for instance) "Destiny's Children" ("young South African township girls who want their fifteen minutes of fame); Ibhoza (young upwardly mobile black economic empowerment people); Lost Boys (living one day at a time, often white), etc.
Instant Grass:  Tel 021-425-7355; ian@instantgrass.com