The prevailing sentiment as we forge ahead into 2017 is the relief at seeing the back of 2016. Nowhere else were the history-making (and, at times, absurd) moments of 2016 more amplified than in the digital space. News platforms were cluttered with stories, Twitter ablaze with debate, Facebook continued to break news. And Instagram was the emotional reflection of it all. As cut-backs continue to dominate, how should digital marketers assign precious marketing budgets this year? Here’s what should be on your radar. Get rich Information delivered in rich media formats increased in popularity in 2016. This trend will boom in 2017 and the digital space will be inundated with video content, infographics and interactive storytelling. The caveat is that users are no longer charmed or shocked by a change in medium – the subject matter has to be more provocative, insightful, humorous and thrilling than ever before. Numbers game It’s no secret budgets are being cut across the globe – from cosmetics to cars – which makes it crucial to be able to prove ROI. Marketing automation is a smart solution. Astute marketers and brands want to know who they’re speaking to and how to strike while the keyboard is hot – marketing automation gives them this power. Still new to the marketing automation revolution? Read more here. Big talk Consumers are demanding one-on-one, conversational experiences online which has led to the birth of chatbots. Conversations are taking over because users want – and expect – to have someone to talk to any time of day to solve their unique problem. It speaks to instant gratification and the never-ending knowledge abyss. The rise of real Content marketing continues to dominate digital marketing techniques, however, it’s not without its evolutions. Users want authentic digital content. That doesn’t mean it has to be heart-wrenching, it just means it has to be real. It has to reflect the target audience, speak their language and share real . . .
“After 22 April, South Africa will be a changed country,” says Angus Buchan. He is referring to the “It’s time” gathering that will take place on a farm 4 km outside Bloemfontein and is expected to draw a crowd of over a million South Africans. All indications are that this will be the largest day of prayer in the history of South Africa. “The day of prayer is intended for all South Africans of all genders, races and denominations who are concerned about the malice, hatred, violence, murder and corruption in the country,” says Buchan. He says it is time to stop pointing fingers, disparaging and insulting, and to acknowledge that we are all to blame in some or other way and should embrace one another in Christ. “It’s time to suit the action to the word. We declare war on the disregard for human life and unkindness. On 22 April, we will be drawing a line in the sand.” The seed for the gathering was planted when a Whatsapp video did the rounds with a desperate outcry for Buchan or any other spiritual leader in South Africa to intervene and arrange such an event. When Buchan replied by posting a video on social media, he received 1,8 million responses within hours. Meanwhile, preparations on the farm Wilde Als outside Bloemfontein to accommodate a million people are under way. It will be a day event from 10:00 to16:00 on Saturday 22 April. Only toilet facilities will be provided. All those attending must be self-sufficient with their own food and water. Tent and caravan stands will however be provided on neighbouring farms for people who wish to arrive the previous day. Thousands are expected to be accommodated in the guesthouses and on the guest farms in the Bloemfontein area. Buchan appeals: “22 April will be a day much talked about by generations to come. Be part of the future and come and join us in prayer.” For any further information, visit www.angusbuchan.co.za CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
A story of cruelty and passion and two young friends who had no idea what the value and history was behind what they were exploring. The historical story of a slave ship carrying 400 slaves that sank behind the waves of Clifton beach in 1794. Sao Jose the slave ship was owned by a Portuguese family who owned and operated an international slave trade, selling slaves from Mozambique to Northeast Brazil. Treasure hunters discovered the shipwreck in the 1980’s and mistakenly identified it as the wreck of an early Dutch vessel. Michael Smorenburg and his friend Jaques who lived on the hills of Clifton beach heard many stories from his father that had been passed down through his family generations about the shipwreck. Michael and his friend were both in the navy and after their duties they enjoyed diving and exploring the waters of Clifton. The exploring was not all innocent, when it comes to the boys catching crayfish to sell for weekend money, the planning and even almost getting caught a few time does bring in a touch of humor. Jaques and Michael explored the slave ship, even managing to loosen cannons and finding other items that they thought were worth nothing, being young men they were having fun. Michael was obsessed with something he found stuck in the rocks and with every dive he worked on getting it out, he was convinced it was a large tooth of some sort. After many dives Michael eventually got the object out, it seemed meaningless, not knowing the love story, religious beliefs and history it's understandable that the young man was not happy with his findings. The married slave couple who were among the other 400 slaves on the Sao Jose were religious and very much in love. The Captain of the ship whose breath always smelt of rum named the slave Christian because of his religious beliefs even though his real name was Chikana. He was a very brave and faithful man who was not scared of speaking his beliefs. The Captain was only interested in rescuing . . .
Any typical contender has to deal with intimidation when faced by a significant and strong opponent. Power is persuasive, and we often believe that the big boys are inevitably set to take the victories. However, knowledge – converted into smart strategies – can trump power. And that is why the underdog is very much in the game – also with regards to business. Here are some suggestions on how to outsmart your business opponents by relying more on acumen than assets: BE INFORMED The first step in competing cleverly is to be in the know – constantly. Be aware of the competition’s tactics. This might come as a surprise to you, but if you are in business, you are also a detective! Yes, now is your chance to put on that alias you have always secretly dreamed of being (we are thinking eccentric, pipe-smoking, Victorian gentleman, although you might be more into sexy, feisty and feminine – which is also fine) and let the investigation begin! Your research first of all needs to entail finding out who the existing and upcoming competition actually is. Google searches, business directories and trade fairs – amongst other sources – might help you in this endeavour. Next, try to figure out as much as you can about your rivals: What products or services are they selling? • What do their branding, marketing and media activities look like? • Who is their target market and how good is their customer service? • How do they price? How about their distribution and delivery policy? • What are their strengths, unique selling points and weaknesses according to clients and staff? • What is their business strategy and where are they heading in the future? These are only a couple of an endless list of questions with potentially insightful answers. If you are new to the whole spying game, here a few pointers on how to get the story on your suspects… or rather, opponents: Read articles or reviews about them, look at their marketing literature, study their . . .
You may have spent a fortune on logo design, put endless thought into colour schemes, paid considerable attention to product quality, but have given your staff (who seemed really cheerful at the beginning) a mere gloss-over of customer relationship management, if any at all. The bottom line is that the biggest interaction your customers will have with your brand will be that moment when they pick up the phone, make an appointment and hopefully close a deal with your sales team. If one egg in the basket has so much as a whiff of dissention, resentment, boredom or general disagreeability, all your other efforts vanish instantly. BRAND IMAGE AND ATTITUDE The impact of attitude on the behaviour of others is fundamental to your brand image, so here’s a list of things to keep in mind: • Attitude rubs off on others – and in business that’s everyone from management to staff, to both existing and potential customers, as well as suppliers and investors. • A positive attitude is infectious (just as a negative one is) and exuding positive energy will make people feel good and want to do business with your company. • Make your staff feel that their contribution is valuable and that all decisions are teamwork. If your staff know and feel part of the vision and goals of your business, they will feel more invested. ARE YOU WITH ME? • It’s important that your staff understand the value of attitude with regard to their jobs – and the fact that happy customers are the keys to their salaries. Any business dies (along with the jobs) if customers are not walking in through the door. • Emphasize the five steps to good attitude: respect, pride in work, commitment, innovation and helpfulness. • Always keep the lines of communication open with regular meetings, training sessions and appraisals. TEAM SPIRIT IS THE KEY TO BRAND MAGIC • At GAWK we understand that branding is a passion both on the part of our client and the service we provide them. Part and parcel . . .
Customer Intimacy Photo: Gawk Display Marketing is powered by the need to connect, inform and persuade. Much of it is about what we want to tell people and what we‘d like them to do once we’ve told them. But sometimes results fall short of what we desire; clever ads have flopped, brilliant campaigns have failed. At times we are left shaking their heads, wondering where we went wrong. THERE COULD BE SEVERAL REASONS: • Telling our customer what they should want • Designing our ads and campaigns from our point of view • Producing something that is downright confusing • Assuming it’s what people might be looking for right now SO WHAT’S EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE? According to a recent study only one in three brands truly understands what their customers want. Emotional Intelligence refers to our ability to understand our customers’ moods, behaviors and impulses. It helps us to get to know our customers on a deeper more intimate level, so we can be real, authentic and intuitive. Assuming what our customers need is one thing – but putting it across to them in a way that they will respond to, is another. The way your recipient receives your message is vital. Statistics and demographics and segmentation are not necessarily going to give us that subtle information. How do we make someone see our message so that they react instantly, with recognition and appreciative awe? THINKING LATERALLY • That frilly pink dress that gran wants to buy for her granddaughter – it’s pretty and expensive. But granny’s really buying it because she wants her grandchild to look the best at the party. It’s about attention and pride. • That new toilet cleaner that offers superior cleanliness and germfree surfaces. But the home owner is really buying it because she wants her house to gleam in the area most likely to be visited by guests, namely the bathroom. It’s about appearances and a need to impress. • A perfume may be advertised as a certainty to attract the opposite sex. But a woman . . .
Lauren Timmer-Somer is now also head of marketing and brand communications at Ricoh SA in addition to being head of communication and interconnectivity technology services. Timmer-Somer increases her portfolio at the local operation of the 81 year-old global business bringing nine years of experience from her previous role with the company in Netherlands. “Lauren brings a clear understanding of the new methods of marketing that reach customers directly to her role,” says Jacques van Wyk, COO of Ricoh SA. “She developed a great deal of experience in her roles in Europe in identifying customers and engaging them directly about the range of solutions that meet their specific needs.” “Innovation links the two roles I perform at Ricoh SA,” says Timmer-Somer. “Marketing is in the grips of a digital revolution that is also at the core of a general business change. Ricoh has embraced that change since the business long ago moved beyond printers to bringing customers end-to-end solutions and a new way of working that meets their current and future needs as they engage increasingly digitalised customers of their own.” “My approach at Ricoh SA will be marketing automation,” she says. “Today, marketing is all about time management. It boils down to who gets the first mover’s advantage, who engages with customers more often, and who converts leads faster.” Timmer-Somer has an international marketing background and was previously personally responsible for establishing Ricoh as a dominant player in the IT Services market in Netherlands. Her intimate experience of these operational responsibilities prepare her for her role in South Africa where many companies are keenly adopting digitalised mobility and challenged by the new ICT reality. She has also previously worked closely with sales management and other stakeholders to develop lead scoring criteria in the CRM system to drive new business across numerous sales channels, in creative development, and . . .
I Love Fourways was started in 2014 by local resident Jenna Dawes in the hope she could get residents to engage through social media. “I wanted Fourways to feel like a neighborhood again” says Jenna, who grew up in Fourways. “I wanted people to start chatting about how they feel about community issues that directly affect us. I wanted people to share their stories, warn fellow residents of news they felt was important and not what the media decided we should know, and refer good service providers in the area.” I felt it was the perfect platform for people to sell second hand goods, put their properties up for rent and get some exposure for their businesses.” The group has given over 26 000 residents a platform to speak out and come together. “the group has become a movement.” says Jenna “Residents are getting involved, giving back, supporting each other and local businesses. Residents seek advice on good plumbers, electricians, beauty services and more, and this has allowed us to work towards increasing service levels in our area.” “The I Love Fourways Group is currently one of South Africas most powerful community driven suburban groups and is growing quickly” “We have seen members helping each other find pets, offering comfort to someone they have never met, showing kindness to someone who just needed to hear they are not alone. They have stood together on issues like child abuse and animal abuse.” In late 2016 a video posted on the group of a special needs child being abused by his mother at a local restaurant that went viral. Distraught residents united against the abuser and ensured action was taken. The group has a team of administrators and moderators who facilitate the group voluntarily to screen members and posts for offensive content, only 60% of member requests are approved due to a strict screening process. As the group grew I realized that I could not manage it alone, I appealed to the community for members to get involved and help me . . .
Techpreneur Boitumelo Menyatswe is taking the worry of finding a trusted house or pet-sitter with a new app Minderz, receiving support from Telkom’s InnoTech programme to take her platform to market. Even just a cursory online search for pet sitters reveals a slew of services and organisations, suggesting that, even in South Africa, that minding and walking pets is a boom market. As a matter of fact, such is South Africans’ love for their pets – little wonder that pets now go by the colloquialism fur-kids – that the country’s pet-care market is estimated by some to be worth some R4.6 billion right now, and expected to grow to R5.5 billion by 2021. “People spend a lot of money on their pets,” says Boitumelo ‘Tumi’ Menyatswe, the young and energised young tech entrepreneur with some smart plans to break into that market. Her strategy is built around Minderz (minderz.co.za), an online platform that allows pet-owners to sift through the vetted home & pet-minders featured on the app to find one they would trust with their beloved fur children. On Minderz, they will find an array of services. There are house-slash-pet sitters. There are minders who will take pets into their own homes for overnight stays. There are drop-in visits, and a dog walking service. Owners are also encouraged to meet with the minders – although if the transactions are taken offline, Minderz takes no responsibility if anything goes wrong – and can also make payments on the platform itself. To make sure minders are credible and reliable, Tumi has struck up a collaboration with an online identity verification service that runs a series of checks on those applying, on the platform, to be minders. Not a developer herself, Tumi has recruited other developers to design the system that serves as the backbone for minderz. “I’m a dreamer,” she says. “The kind of person who likes to think that anything is possible, and wants to make that dream come to life.” Those dreams may drive her, but . . .
Tired of the relentlessly negative portrayal of areas like Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha in the media, sisters Michelle and Natasha Talliard have – for starters – launched an online platform through which they want to start rebranding and promoting the positive side of these communities. In the popular media and imagination, communities and townships on the Cape Flats are often portrayed in a mostly negative light, earning renown only as places of deprivation and crime. That inspired sisters Michelle and Natasha Talliard, originally from Mitchell’s Plain. The negative impression, “grossly exaggerated at times by the media”, overlooked the “extraordinary” rich legacies of these communities, they say. And so was born Made in Everywhere, a marketing and brand agency that builds on the sisters’ experience, and on the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of residents. Starting off with an e-commerce platform, the aim of the venture is to highlight and celebrate these “forgotten places”, explains Natasha. “We want to showcase the positive and poignant stories of these previously disadvantaged communities, homing in on the successful entrepreneurs who have risen above their dismal living conditions to achieve and realise their dreams,” she says. “The aim of this idea is to build a platform for these communities to give them an opportunity to showcase their ideas, allowing locals to connect; to create an open space and build interest in developing new places and investing in forgotten ones.” There is much to showcase. Entrepreneurship was commonplace in these communities as residents were forced to earn livelihoods under deprived and difficult conditions. So the e-commerce platform will promote and market local craft producers. In time, the sisters’ plan, this will be followed by Living Legend tours to interact with these crafters, as well as cultural and heritage tours. To live up to its name, the aim is to expand the initiative beyond local communities to . . .