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The human face of mentorship, training and motivation in a pandemic

Claire Herman, Media Operations Lead at The MediaShop

It is customary to move into a new year with optimism and a heightened level of energy and excitement, but as we move more into 2021 we are reminded of the lesson that 2020 taught us so well – the only constant in life is change, and that we need to adapt and be flexible if we are going to thrive in this new world that we find ourselves in.

More and more companies are continuing to work remotely and I can’t imagine what it must be like to start a new job during these trying times, especially a first-time job… How do you feel welcome in such a distant and remote environment and how are you going to learn and grow to your fullest potential? For existing team members, how do we keep morale and optimism high so that we can continue to better ourselves and progress?

There is no doubt that technology has been the enabler in all of this, allowing us to carry on “business as usual” and giving us amazing platforms to engage, interact and learn in the process. But online fatigue is real, and especially in such a socially-driven industry as advertising, we need to acknowledge that we aren’t in this alone. There is something to be said about not forgetting the human side of things in all the madness, so when looking at mentorship, training and motivation there are three human layers that we can tap into – our leaders, our teams and ourselves. If we are going to achieve our best potential, we need to leverage off this human ecosystem.

The evolving role of leadership

We all know the common traits of good leaders – charisma, vision, influence, passion, confidence, accountability, honesty, the list goes on. But now more than ever we need our leaders to be agile, inspirational, empathetic and engaged. Agility speaks to speed and flexibility, knowing how to adapt and change to stay ahead of the curve – within days of Covid-19 hitting in March 2020 our teams were all set up and ready to work from home, and a new work reality was reimagined.

Along the way we have also had many team members having to deal with sickness and loss of family, friends and colleagues, as well as depression from being isolated and alone – being there to listen and to offer support, whether personally or in the form of providing access to councillors, has helped enormously and demonstrated sincere care for teams and employees. But most importantly, leaders need to regularly engage with all employees, from the very senior to the very junior, being accessible, communicating regularly, and providing forums to interact in a positive and motivating way.

The power of the team

A lot can be said for the power of the collective team – the sense of belonging it brings can be very powerful and that is why developing and nurturing team identity and togetherness is essential. Building on values such as support, connections and inspiration can only build the team up, and when the team does well, spirits are lifted and motivation increases.

It is also important to leverage off each other’s strengths and cultivate a team culture of sharing and learning. I often say that the most valuable training I ever received was on the job as opposed to formal courses and training programmes. Identifying “champions” that can mentor the more junior team members is invaluable – firstly, it gives the champions a sense of purpose and pride in being able to transfer their skills and knowledge, plus it helps to grow good leaders of the future. Secondly, it gives the junior team members priceless experience and helps them feel like valued members that make real contributions.

And yes, it is important to connect regularly. I’m not just talking about work, but also talk about what’s going on in our lives – bringing humanness back and creating a safe space to learn, grow and build each other up.

Self-motivation becoming an integral part of our DNA

The first step is ensuring that you are mentally in the right frame of mind, otherwise you won’t be able to function, let alone grow and thrive. The second step is to ensure you have good work-life balance, which is particularly difficult in the work from home environment, so a conscientious effort needs to be made.

Then you need to really and truly want to do better and be the best you can be. This takes proactivity and taking an active role in your development. It also requires a keen sense of curiosity and not being afraid to ask questions, work hard at finding the answers and getting your hands dirty by practicing while you learn new skills. Lastly, it takes optimism and courage – stay positive and be brave, and you will see the rewards.

So, as we contemplate what lies ahead we need to look to our leaders for clarity, guidance and inspiration, and hold them accountable for their role in our development. We need to integrate fully with our teams and play an active role in this world of give and take. And we need to hold ourselves accountable for our own career development and work satisfaction.

Wishing you all a productive, inspiring and happy 2021!

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Meta Media turns two!

Happy second birthday, Meta Media! This “curious” cultured, #SoWhat driven, full-service media agency opened their Johannesburg office doors in January 2019 and Cape Town in February 2019 and have flourished ever since.

“Over the past two years we have continuously proved that we are the “so what” agency, consistently looking for the insights behind the data and the story behind the story,” says Kagiso Musi, Group Managing Director at Meta Media. “The agency has gone through an incredible journey over the past two years, including that year that shall not be named.”

In the very first year of operation and quite remarkably beating out many other large agencies that have been in business for decades, Meta Media placed top three at the 2019 MOST Awards in not one but two categories, namely Full-Service Media Agency of the Year 2019 and Overall Media Agency of the Year 2019. In 2020, yet more awards when two Assegai Awards were received for integrated marketing campaigns that delivered exceptional results.

Quanita Salie, Cape Town Media Director says,” Happy birthday to us!  It’s been a great two years working with a fantastic team, clients and media partners.  I look forward to many more successful years with everyone.”

“I cannot believe that it’s been two years already,” says Richard Lord, Johannesburg Media & Operations Director. “Happy birthday to us! We look forward to many more years of giving our clients the edge and providing them with real solutions based on real insights.”

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our valuable clients, or as we prefer to think about them – partners, our incredibly talented Meta Media team, both in Cape Town and Johannesburg and every single media owner that we have worked side by side with, creating innovative and engaging media strategies and plans,” concludes Musi. “This is our village! They say it takes a village to raise a child and because of our ‘village’, Meta Media has grown up to be a media force to be reckoned with in South Africa!”

Meta Media DNA

Meta Media is South Africa’s newest full-service media agency and member of the IPG global network and Nahana Communications Group of specialist agencies, each with their own independent structures, cultures and management teams and a desire to work together where synergy exists. Borne in an era of data and technology, and built on the premise of creating the agency of the future, Meta Media provides solutions based on data and real insights to give its clients an advantage. They look beyond the numbers for the story behind the story. They stay curious!

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The BRC announces interim data for RAMS

Due to the impact of the international COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have been negatively affected and South Africa’s radio currency has been no exception. To alleviate the pressure of no radio data being available, and to get a comprehensive update on the industry the BRC has commissioned research experts, Ask Afrika, to implement an interim radio data study.

 As the pandemic hit and Level 5 lockdown ensued there was no doubt that radio stations in South Africa would see fluctuations in audience data. A huge disruptor being the changes to people’s daily routines and habits. Consumers were no longer commuting to and from work, working hours were altered by home schooling, family life, restrictions on movement, social interactions and the like.

“These shifts in routines and habits have led to massive changes in media consumption, mainly, increases in listening and viewing habits,” says Gary Whitaker, CEO at The Broadcast Research Council (BRC) of South Africa.

Another implication is that the radio research currency was negatively impacted. “As the makeup of the current underlying research methodology involves face-to-face interaction, namely, interviewing respondents for RAMS (Radio Audience Measurement), we were unable to provide data in Q2, Q3 and Q4 of 2020 to demonstrate these irregular times and differences in listenership audiences,” says Whitaker.

According to Sarina de Beer, Managing Director at Ask Afrika, Lockdown has changed consumer psyche and behaviour considerably, which naturally includes how we consume media. These changes did not find its onset during Lockdown however, but these restrictions have added its own layer of complexity to radio consumption.

“The focus of the interim measure will be to support the industry to gain a deeper understanding of just how radio consumption has changed over time. As an essential asset we need to leverage the opportunity as one of the most trusted media sources over time,” confirms de Beer. “I believe that a fresh and deep understanding will enable just that!”

The only RAMS data currently available to the industry is Q1 2020 data and the world has gone through immense changes since then. To supplement this data, two interim sets of radio data will be released at the end of March and May 2021. Surveying will take place through a combination of face to face and online interviews which will deliver insights at a Total Radio listenership level. The assessment of the approach was completed in collaboration with, among others, the AMF (The Advertising Media Forum), a collective of media agencies and individuals including media strategists, planners, buyers and consultants.

While these two radio data sets are exactly that – interim data – the Lockdown regulations have highlighted a clear need for the Listenership currency to be futureproofed. Face to face methods and manual seven-day diaries will soon be a thing of the past. “We are looking forward to revealing the way forward – how Listenership will be measured in South Africa following international best practices as soon as the second quarter of 2021,” concludes Whitaker.

Please visit the BRC’s website at:

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa DNA

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC), established in 2015, chief role is to commission and oversee the delivery of radio and television audience measurement research for broadcasters and the advertising and marketing industry.

Issued on behalf of:                            The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC)

Gary Whitaker, CEO

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The Fashion Hero offers local brands global exposure

This year when Spice Girl Mel B hits our shores to host and begin filming for the diversity inclusive reality TV show The Fashion Hero, four headline brands will have the opportunity for global exposure.

 Gail Hoffman Parrish of G2 Connection, the integrated marketing agency managing all brand immersion for the ten-episode 60-minute reality programme says that The Fashion Hero is a ground-breaking series with no age limit, incorporating contestants from all over the world – all ethnicities, genders, shapes and sizes.

The Fashion Hero will suit brands in the tourism, alcohol, fashion, mobile, beauty, telco, sports apparel, health, skin care, fragrance, beverages and finance categories,” says Gail. “Brands will get to work with all contestants from the beginning and secretly select their favourite before mentoring them as a future brand ambassador. Brands will also get to work with the contestants during the challenges, both on- and off-camera.”

In addition, participating brands will also be on The Fashion Hero’s judging panel.

“We have a team of 40 international influencers who reach millions of people and promote The Fashion Hero TV series and website on their platforms. If each influencer has even half their followers share our content, the reach is nearing 100 million people from all around the world,” says Gail. “The 32 contestants will be mentored by internationally recognised Social Media Influencers from all over the world (including South Africa), who are champions of diversity themselves.”

The first season of The Fashion Hero aired in over 160 territories worldwide, had over a million fans on Facebook and received 30 million visits to the website. “We’re expecting even bigger numbers for the second season,” she says. “That’s a lot of opportunity waiting to happen!”

Whatever your communication and media strategy is, there is a suitable fit within the show! If you would like to be a part of this extrodinary journey please contact Gail Hoffman Parrish at

 G2 Connection DNA

We connect brands to strategic, aligned communication opportunities to amplify and reinforce the creative brand message. G2 partners with leading production companies whose track record is well established in executing both quality international formats and local content for all broadcasters, including Africa. We complete our solutions offering through partnerships with highly respected PR agencies, specialist digital and mobile companies as well as all ATL media.

Issued on behalf of:                   G2 Connection

Virginia Hollis

Gail Parrish


Facebook: G2 Connection

LinkedIn: G2 Connection


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