The awards recognise and honour individuals and teams who have made significant contributions to the marketing industry, according to IMM. 

Marketer of the year: Chantal Sombonos — Van Tonder

Sombonos is the CEO of Chicken Licken, under whose tenure the brand has garnered numerous accolades including 133 Loeries and seven consecutive Brand of the Year awards. This is alongside eight D&AD Pencils and a Bronze Cannes Lion, says IMM

In 2020, Sombonos won the Loeries Marketing Leadership and Innovation Award.

Emerging Marketer of the Year: Pat Mahlangu

Mahlangu is a marketing media entrepreneur with over 12 years of experience. In 2020, he launched Lerato Agency, serving both local and international brands, IMM says.

IMM adds that Mahlangu's commitment to inspiring young people led to the creation of the Top 16 Youth-Owned Brands Awards, celebrating youth excellence in brand building. In 2023, he was also recognised as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by Mail and Guardian and became a Play Your Part Ambassador for Brand South Africa.

Marketing Student of the Year: Dhashika Ramgolam

Ramgolam is a digital marketing manager with 15 years of experience; she is an academic achiever who consistently excels, currently pursuing her honours degree while managing a full-time role as a digital marketing manager, according to IMM. 

Corporate Marketing Team of the Year: Tiger Brands' Albany Brand Team

The Albany Brand Team is the driving force behind one of Tiger Brands' most cherished brands, says IMM. Albany is a bread brand woven into the fabric of South African culture. The team is passionate about preserving this legacy while meeting the evolving needs and preferences of South African consumers.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Brand Pretorius

Toyota South Africa's Pretorius has been selected as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding and unparalleled contributions to the field of marketing.

IMM says that with a career that spans decades, Pretorius played a pivotal role in making Toyota a market leader in both sales and customer satisfaction. His impressive track record continued as he took the helm at McCarthy Motor Holdings, skillfully rescuing the company from financial distress and saving thousands of jobs.

His journey has been characterised by unwavering integrity and a commitment to literacy through initiatives like the Rally to Read, adds IMM. 

Angela Bruwer, academic head of IMM Graduate School and a judge, congratulated each of the deserved winners, noting the decisions had been tough choices. Bruwer observed that classic marketing strategies are no longer enough to move businesses forward, which was the theme of the conference.

The 2023 IMM Marketing Conference, held at the IMM Graduate School in Parktown Johannesburg on Wednesday, 8 November and Thursday, 9 November, ventured into the realm of AI, exploring its potential in marketing. It also delved into the evolving landscape of influencer marketing, redefining its impact, says the conference. 

Delegates were given hands-on tips on how to navigate the intricacies of user-generated content — striking a balance between its vibrant energy and potential risks, the conference adds. 

Attendees enjoyed an array of practical case studies, panel sessions and insights from international and local industry giants as they shared what it means to be a marketer in 2023.

IMM says that a highlight of the conference was a Brand SA session looking at ways to position the South African brand. It commenced with the keynote presentation 'Creating a Compelling Brand Story for South Africa: Unleashing its Global Appeal', followed by a review of global trends and innovations in destination marketing and a panel discussion.

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