David Jenkin was in attendance to find out what lessons they had to impart.
The first day of the Marketing Indaba, a Cadek Media event, saw eight speakers present on a broad range of topics. The programme began with Ed Hatton, owner and founder of The Marketing Director.
Hatton covered the topic of change and how best to meet it, with a presentation titled ‘The future is not where you think it will be’. The lifecycles of companies are being compressed as the pace of change accelerates, he explained, and in order to survive in such a world it is necessary to break out of comfort zones and build flexibility into an organisation.
Foresight is vital, but he warned about the dangers of seeing the future one wishes for rather than the most likely to occur. “We fool ourselves easily,” he remarked, and concluded by referencing Charles Darwin, stating that it is not the strongest or most intelligent that survive, but the most adaptable to change.
Noeleen Bruton, director of marketing at Tsogo Sun, followed. Her focus was on how to effectively integrate digital into a traditional marketing mix. She spoke about the pressures of digital, social media in particular, and the kind of culture a company needs to have in order to meet the challenges.
It is firstly important to determine where in the organisation various responsibilities for digital reside, then allocation of resources, strategising (with digital objectives in tune with the corporation’s broader marketing objectives), measurement, and the importance of good content.
She emphasised points about the need to understand and utilise analytics, SEO, as well as the various platforms available.
Trust in crisis
Next up was Jordan Rittenberry, group account director at Edelman South Africa. He unpacked findings from Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer, a survey on South Africans’ perceptions of the trustworthiness of government, media, and business. The results showed that South Africa is largely in line with a global trend of deteriorating levels of trust across all three sectors, stating that 2017 has, in fact, seen a global crisis of trust.
The biggest drop was seen in media, especially traditional and owned media. Social media, however, was the least trusted of all, with the once celebrated ‘citizen journalist’ now struggling for credibility in an age of fake news. Even official sources, however, are now regarded with suspicion and leaks are considered more trustworthy than press releases.
In order to build trust, he stressed the need for ‘radical transparency’, with communication that is honest and credible.
Aligning brand identity and image
After a tea break, Simon Grainger, founder of BrandBright Consultancy, gave a presentation titled ‘Are you projecting the brand you think you are?’ He emphasised that brand is not what the company says it is, rather it’s what the public say it is. Therefore, it’s important to live a brand’s identity.
He encouraged marketers to consider their brand identity, encompassing their values and purpose (something which provides ‘guard-rails’ for how a company projects itself). A brand audit, he said, is necessary to map out key touch-points to ensure brand identity is lived through the customer journey.
Boxing digital’s potential
Mike Saunders, CEO of DigitLab, followed with a presentation titled ‘The Marketing Hack’. He began by saying that digital is not just anything put on Facebook. It is not simply another channel, he said, and to think about it as such impedes its potential. The successful companies he highlighted had created connected ecosystems rather than taking a linear approach to devices and platforms.
He criticised the jargon used by many as indicative of the wrong approach to digital. Going viral does not equate to success, he said, innovation is not the same as creativity, impressions don’t mean people were impressed, and views do not equal focus.
“We boxed digital’s potential,” he said, “It scared us, it confused us, and we put it in its place.” He compared it to a child with natural musical talent forced to become an auditor.
Sol Mukasa, CMO at Shift One Marketing Agency, spoke about ways of marketing on a limited budget in a cluttered advertising environment, stretching resources as far as possible.
He outlined four key areas: guerrilla marketing, below the line, digital, and personal branding. BTL needs to be disruptive and requires out-of-the-box thinking, and, similarly, guerrilla marketing needs to push boundaries. With digital, he strongly advised learning how to put the two pillars of social and search to effective use.
He made a point about not becoming too thinly spread, and rather “fish where the fish are” – it’s not necessary to have a presence on every social media platform.
Matthew Weiss, managing director of Brand Union Africa, spoke on the advantages of building a compelling, differentiated brand through hallmark experiences. He explained that consumers are as demanding of experiences today as they are of purchases, and millennials tend to opt for experiences over products.
It is, therefore, valuable for a brand to offer a signature experience created through differentiation, planned strategically.
Crayg Hitzeroth, managing director of Ad Dynamo, concluded the day with the topic of ‘Content in a fragmented world’. He spoke about how patterns of media consumption have changed, and how audiences have developed shorter attention spans as a result. Breaking through the clutter on social media, therefore, requires innovative and valuable content. It is important to use research to inform strategy, identify and leverage influencers, and find the best way to utilise individual platforms.
Offering tips on video, he said it’s important to have the logo appear within the first three seconds, to use text overlays since many users will have their sound muted, and to feature people within the first ten seconds, which will increase the likelihood viewers will watch to the end.
For more information, visit www.marketingindaba.com