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If I huff and I puff…will the big bad wolf blow your house down?

Dashni Vilakazi, Managing Director at The MediaShop Johannesburg encourages companies to take a hard look at their own accountability and corporate culture.

There are many factors that could be protecting your house from coming down and not achieving real business results. I would venture that accountability and corporate culture would be two of these. Whether you’re leading a small team or a full company, the power to deliver and exceed key results really does matter and accountability is key.

A business’s corporate culture and spirit are major factors leading the accountability movement, it makes results possible and sustainable. Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings and then these structures shape us” – this is indicative of the powerful resonance a good quality performance management process can deliver when seeking good results.

I believe that it should also be every employee’s ethical responsibility to take control of a certain amount of business ownership to really understand the issues at hand and the desired results.

As a media agency, clients hire us as the experts to achieve their objectives and it’s our responsibility to realise these and then weigh up the results accordingly. Once achieved, it’s time to stretch accountability in yourself and your team to adjust the end game and magnify those results even further.

How does this impact the culture when you communicate business objectives to the team? When both parties are in synergy and have a good understanding of the company’s objectives, behaviour and actions combine to steer demonstrable ownership, motivation and engagement.

The practice of partnering with employees to define key results timeously and positively also impacts a company’s ownership culture. When the process and result is congruent, there is a systemic response that compounds trust, aggregation of ownership and a clear sense of accountability. An ownership and response culture then begins.

Engagement with employees is often overlooked but your frontline team should never be excluded as they need to be aware of key objectives so that they can shape the customer brand experience, which will positively reflect on the bottom line.

Sometimes however, this can go awry. A disconnect materialises when the performance management process fails to link up the macro key objectives to an individual’s key performance indicators in an understandable and customised method.

Accountability must be tracked consistently through weekly and monthly tracking metrics that presents a triage in the dashboard of delivery. This enables the employee’s productivity to run in tandem to the macro business objectives. Every piece of work should be connected to the company’s organisational imperatives. Repetition is vital until the message reaches home.

When strength and tenacity is injected into a muscularly strong management process that is being tracked consistently, it allows for adjustments to be tailored more easily to address a changing business environment. This will positively and proficiently impact action.

When the key primacy for results change, so should the company’s tactics. The resultant effect of not modifying these dashboards and project plans immediately, drives experience dissonance from team to customer, allowing the big bad wolf passage into your structure.

Engagement across the whole value chain when leading this adjustment is so critical as it supports the value system of trust and partnering with your team. Ownership, greater engagement and leadership will drive better management control for resolving business achievements.

To maximise business efficacy, defend and protect your company’s vulnerability - create an authentic open-door culture that speeds up the ability to solve problems and deepen real engagements.

Protect your house from the big bad wolf and cement your brick force structure so solidly so that he cannot even get in through the chimney of discord.

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Park Advertising invests in community radio across the country

The riots and looting that took place earlier this month affected so many businesses and livelihoods, but it also showed South Africa’s true colours of empathy, unity and resilience.

Amongst the victims of destruction were four community radio stations brought to their knees. Alex FM in Alexandra, MAMS Radio in Mamelodi, West Side FM in Kagiso and Intokozo FM, in Durban all suffered catastrophic losses. But once again South African business has come to the rescue.

Park Advertising, which encompasses media agencies The MediaShop and Meta Media, Tirisano Consulting and most recently Lucid Media, has as a Group assisted three of these stations, namely Intokozo FM, MAMS FM, and Westside FM to purchase essential studio equipment and transmitters to enable these stations to get back on air.

Park Advertising’s Group MD Chris Botha says that community radio stations are one of the most essential media cogs in South Africa. “Communities have been torn apart and community radio has the opportunity and ability to bring people together and develop positive narratives. Without community radio, we start to lose the fabric of community.

While we’re pleased to be in a position to assist, we would like to challenge every business and individual in South Africa to support affected communities as a priority because we need to rebuild our faith in each other as much as we need to rebuild our country.”

Dashni Vilakazi, Managing Director at The MediaShop Johannesburg and Kagiso Musi, Managing Director at Meta Media agree. “South Africans have proved time and time again just how incredible we are in coming together when tragedy strikes,” says Kagsio. “But we’d like to see more businesses and private citizens get involved. The smallest gestures can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. Be kinder, donate your time where you can or even just clearing out unwanted clothing can change someone’s life for the better.”

Dashni adds: “South Africa has been through so much in the last 18 months, but the last few weeks have also shown how incredibly quickly we can bounce back, if we work together. Assisting these community radio stations to get back on air has been crucial for our democratic and editorial freedom, but there is still so much more to be done. Let’s show the world our collective mettle by coming together to rebuild South Africa stronger than before.”


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Brandswell awarded Tourism KwaZulu-Natal contract

Brandswell, a member of the Matrix Communications Group (Matrix Group), has been awarded a three-year contract to manage marketing services including media planning and buying for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN).

Brandswell has more than 15 years’ experience in conceptualising and implementing integrated marketing campaigns. They have worked with both global and local companies, including Unilever, Coca-Cola, SAB, 3M, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Government Employee Medical Aid Scheme (GEMS), Sun Bets (Sun International), City of Tshwane and other project work.

“We are excited that TKZN awarded us this opportunity. We look forward to working together with the team in showcasing this beautiful province to potential tourists. Tourism is one of the country’s biggest contributors to the GDP. Our partnership with TKZN will assist us to develop and implement a tourism recovery plan following the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and of course recently, the unrests, to attract tourists to the province for both leisure and business and maintain their status as a province that “has it all,” said chairperson of the Matrix Group and director of Brandswell, Kgaugelo Maphai.

Tourism and businesses in the hospitality, beverage and entertainment industry were the worst hit as a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Many establishments had to scale down, some were forced to shut their doors, and some simply remain in limbo as a result of reduced numbers of visitors due to lockdown restrictions.

Said Keith Matthews, acting general manager: marketing of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal: “We look forward to working with Brandswell as we continue to position KwaZulu-Natal as a leading domestic and international tourism destination and implement our Covid-19 recovery plan to assist the tourism sector to thrive again.”

Added Jon Chappé, executive creative director at Brandswell: “We are incredibly honoured that TKZN has chosen us to deliver on their marketing plans. It’s even more special for us as our roots run deep in KwaZulu-Natal, having launched Brandswell in Durban. I count myself very lucky to have had the chance to explore and surf most of KZN whilst studying and working in Durban.

“With our recent experience in assisting City of Tshwane’s Economic Development Agency (TEDA) with their destination marketing strategy and our extensive client track record in developing and managing integrated brand campaigns for corporate and state-owned entities (SOE’s), we knew we would be a good fit for TKZN.

“In saying that, we are acutely aware of the enormous responsibility we have been given to assist TKZN and we plan to create a forward-looking marketing blueprint which will incorporate new risks with insight-driven creative thinking and design.”

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Park Advertising introduces Lucid Media

Performance Media across Search, Social and Programmatic platforms is the single fastest growing area of digital media in South Africa. Combine that with the detailed analysis of campaign management, tagging and ad operations, and it becomes apparent that these highly specialist functions require a highly specialised unit.

This is according to the Group Managing Director of Park Advertising, Chris Botha. “Our new digital performance unit called Lucid Media is the response to an increasing client need for a more focused and competitive digital service across our Group.  Lucid media will service our businesses across the Nahana Group including The MediaShop, Meta Media, FCB, HelloFCB, HelloComputer, Weber Shandwick and McCann 1886.

Lucid Media is headed by Yvette Gengan who stresses that this new business unit will assist the current need in the market and is the future of not only the Nahana Group, but the entire industry. Yvette joins Lucid from The MediaShop where she managed the digital media and strategy for some of the agency’s global brands and headed up the Paid Social Division of a previous agency.

Yvette’s extensive experience in performance marketing across the financial, banking, retail and FMCG categories stands her in good stead for the position. “I’m extremely excited to share the news of our new performance media unit. Performance media is what I am passionate about and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to partner with our agencies to bring this vision to life.

The digital media industry is progressing in a very specific direction and as agencies it is our responsibility to offer the right solutions to our clients. Lucid Media will focus on driving growth and performance for our clients in a more deliberate way by building a strong team and working closely with our global networks on tech, data, and creative performance. Bringing together our media, ad ops and data specialists across the Nahana Group into one unit will be the driving force of Lucid Media.”

Chris adds: “We will be able to apply best practice technology and methodology to all our clients, giving them a step ahead in this area. We are really excited about the future of this unit. This move will align and deliver an enhanced quality offering to our clients.”

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The growth and decline of ad spend during the pandemic

By Muhle Hlabano, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop

We all know that 2020 was a disruptive year due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Varying Lockdown Levels resulted in a contracted SA economy, a significant drop in advertising spend and several sectors completely shut down, not unlike what we’re experiencing now during adjusted Level 4.

Last year, most sectors operated online, and many began the move to work from home. This shifted a lot of consumer behaviour habits and media consumption patterns as people lived, shopped, worked and entertained themselves differently. Behaviours that would have taken years to change literally happened overnight.

Advertisers had to adjust their marketing strategies constantly to adapt to this new norm, and according to AC Nielsen and IAB, the total ad spend for South Africa in 2020 was just over R41 billion, based on rate card values. This represents a 7% decline overall due to the pandemic and lockdowns interruptions.

Table 1. Spend Report 2018 -2020 Growth Rates

Sources AC Nielsen and IAB

The real decline is actually greater as these amounts reported do not account for the discounts on rate card rates negotiated. The fall was noted across all ATL (above the line) media channels with the exception of TV that flat lined and digital which posted a significant growth of 21%.

The growth in digital is an indicative shift in most strategies by advertisers aligning their marketing efforts with the shifts in consumer media habits. Where did most of the ad spend in digital go? From table 4 below you can see that paid search and social made up 75% of the digital spend.

Nielsen and IAB

Table 2. Digital View in South AfricaSources AC

Table 5. ATL Spend Report 2020 vs 2019 spend Variance

Sources AC Nielsen

Doing a deep dive going into 2020, ATL compared with 2019 month by month, we can see that in the first two months most media was on track to be better than 2019 but 2020 had other plans.

The first hard Lockdown had a significant impact across all media types, all reporting a negative growth in this period. Electronic media started recovering with TV becoming positive in the fourth quarter only when the country entered Level 1.

The top three categories in 2020 were FMCG with 26% share of spend, Retail (22%) and Financial Services with 18% share of spend.

And how did the top advertisers adjust?

Table 6. Top 15 ADVERTISERS

Sources AC Nielsen

The top advertiser changed with Unilever taking over from Shoprite who had been dominant in previous years although Unilever has been steadily increasing their spend over the past three years. This shows the resilience of the FMCG category during the lockdowns especially since we were all at home more and sanitizing everything in sight. This result is also not surprising considering the toilet paper shortages in the initial lockdowns…

The question becomes whether we will see this carry over to 2022 and onwards or if we’ll experience more dramatic shifts in advertising media spend patterns across media platforms?

We at The MediaShop are definitely keeping our eyes on all development.

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The state of social media in South Africa

The state of social media in South Africa

Richard Lord, Media & Operations Director at media agency Meta Media, says that 2020 proved to be a tumultuous year for advertising. Overnight, budgets were cut, strategies were changed, priorities re-looked, but some platforms fared better than others.

TV benefited from a captive, stay at home audience with more time on their hands. Newspapers and magazines suffered as traditional distribution channels were decimated. OOH fell off a cliff as there was nobody out and about. And the platform that arguably benefitted the most? Digital.

We saw increased numbers of people online seeking entertainment, looking for news on the pandemic, shifting their shopping patterns online, and trying to stay in touch with their friends and families. This is the reason why we have seen increased investment by advertisers into social media platforms, and other forms of digital advertising as well. In fact, digital ad spend grew by double digits year-on-year (almost 20%), while overall ad spend declined for the first time in decades.

According to the recently published 2021 Social Media Landscape report by Ornico and World Wide Worx, there are currently 38.2 million internet users in South Africa (about 64% of our total population). This number grew year on year by 1.7 million users (or 4.5%) while active social media users increased by 13.6% from 22 million users in January 2020 to 25 million users in January 2021. This means that almost 42% of all South Africans are using some form of social media!

Advertising is a numbers game and where the numbers are, the money goes. Digital is therefore well placed to continue seeing double digit ad spend growth over the next few years as we see more and more people being connected.

So where can we find these social media savvy South Africans? According to the Ornico and World Wide Worx report, the most popular social media networks amongst 16-64 year olds are:

The report further reveals that social media is the second biggest platform (after TV) amongst internet users in South Africa for people to discover new brands and products.

This makes social media an exceptionally powerful platform for advertisers. With massive numbers, social media can provide advertisers with reach in buckets. Reach, as we all know, is critical to the success of any campaign.

The different platforms also allow for that reach to be targeted to the individual needs of advertisers. Better targeting means increased relevance, better noting, better recall, less wastage, increased efficiencies – and, in theory, improved performance.

In theory because, as per the graphs above, many advertisers see social media as an effective platform, but many are still measuring their success based on outdated metrics that don’t really add to a company’s bottom line. Vanity metrics such as likes, shares, or comments might look good on a marketing dashboard, but there is plenty of research to show that these metrics very rarely translate into sales or business growth, which surely must be the lifeblood of any organisation. Just because someone likes your ad, doesn’t mean they will actually go out and buy your product!

While it is encouraging to see the growth in internet users, the corresponding growth, and willingness of advertisers to put ad spend behind the platform, the fact that there is an ever-increasing number of advertisers who claim that their social media advertising is not bringing them any brand gains, is a cautionary yellow flag!

It is becoming more and more essential that brands start to put proper measurement and success criteria in place for their social media (and broader digital) campaigns.

That is the only way we will see meaningful, and sustained growth. Success breeds success. When advertisers start to see real business growth that is attributable to their use of digital media, only then will they be truly convinced to start putting real money into the platform.

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In the times of tragedy, look for the helpers

This week’s mass lootings, riots and violence has rocked South Africans from all works of life both here at home and abroad. But despite the heartache of loss of life, income and employment, South Africans can always be counted on to come together in times of tragedy.

“South Africans are one of the most resilient people on the planet,” says South Africa’s GoodThingsGuy Brent Lindeque. “Yes, the last week has been incredibly traumatic but in times of tragedy it is crucial to look for the helpers, and South Africa, you are delivering in droves.”

Over the last 48 hours the GoodThingsGuy has featured stories of South Africans volunteering to help clean up after the looters, of people going to donate blood to help the SANBS, of business owners forced to close that were helping feed and hydrate the police, of communities rallying together to protect their shopping centres from looters, of the Ndlovu Youth Choir using their platform to promote peace, of a psychologist giving free advice to help parents through this and even a Durban couple whose wedding was cancelled and how they chose to donate all the food (over 1000 meals) to the hungry and homeless.

Taxi associations are protecting malls, small business owners are offering their services free of charge and communities are planning clean-up operations across Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.

“There’s a great Facebook Group called Stronger Together which has over 9000 followers that was created to find solutions to creating a better South Africa. It is filled to the brim with practical positivity which is so very needed right now. In other initiatives across the country other Facebook Groups like Rebuild South Africa have been created with close to 17 000 followers in the last 24 hours, and Stronger Together – Small businesses of South Africa, by ordinary South Africans to affect real change in our country.

We will be okay South Africa, maybe not today or this week but we always come together when it’s needed most,” says Brent.

The Good Things Guy can be found on all social media platforms and at

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Programmatic Digital out of Home has arrived…Ifikile EMzansi!

By Lukanyo Bushwana, Strategist at The MediaShop

Covid-19 has undeniably acted as a catalyst to speed up digital adoption and introduce new trends at a rate that few could have predicted. As a result, the vast majority of marketers have refocused their digital efforts and rightfully so; you fish where the fish are.

Every impression is an opportunity. As consumers begin what is now called “revenge spending”, brands need to be more discoverable than ever before. Increased ease of movement and what people can do provide opportunities to influence consumers, where every impression is an opportunity to connect. To make use of this, marketers should use dynamic creative information, choose inventory near points of interest and understand the mobility patterns of their granular audiences.

In the past few years there has been a lot of talk about Programmatic Digital out of Home (pDOOH) and how it will revolutionize the OOH industry and change the way marketers and brands buy media space and how media owners sell OOH. Obviously, pDOOH has already been in existence in some of the biggest markets or the so called ‘first world countries’ but what’s exciting is that a few South African OOH suppliers are investing in this type of media.

So what is Programmatic Digital out of Home?

Programmatic digital out of home, refers to the automated buying, selling, and delivery of out of home advertising or ads on digital billboards and signage. With programmatic DOOH, computers automate the sale and delivery of ad content in a similar way to what you see with most online advertising. Buyers will set conditions under which they want to buy media, and when those conditions are met, ads are then purchased automatically.

Brands can achieve some real benefits when programmatic DOOH is planned and activated within an omni-channel programmatic campaign. Programmatic methods have expanded the traditional perception of OOH purely as a brand-building medium, to incorporate performance driven objectives and, in these unpredictable times, programmatic OOH could be the best advertising weapon for brands.

One of the biggest advantages of this medium is its ability to run hugely impactful ads on premium digital sites with relevance and flexibility. Creative can be adjusted at the click of a button in response to time sensitive information like sports results, breaking news or even the change in weather.

A good example of pDOOH is from an international food delivery brand called foodora. This brand used weather, time of day, and location data to drive a creative campaign effectively within a very relevant programmatic DOOH campaign. Audiences were delivered different messages at lunch and around dinnertime. They were prompted to go for a nice walk to pick up their food if it was sunny, and to treat themselves to delivery when it was raining. The restaurants suggested to them were different depending on where they were located when seeing the ad. All of this was accomplished without any additional input from foodora once the campaign had been set up. See link below to view the foodora case study.

Add to that, digital OOH is 100% fraud-free, safe and transparent due to its broadcast nature, so there’s no risk of ad-blockers, viewers skipping the ad or campaigns appearing in undesirable or unsuitable locations.

As a media strategist myself, I am very excited about this platform and can’t wait to execute brilliant creative ideas that will probably bring me my first media accolade!

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MRF’s MAPS quarterly 9 month data released

The Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) is pleased to announce that the next quarter’s Marketing All Product Survey (MAPS) data, fieldwork period of July 2020 to March 2021, is available to subscribers and their agencies from 30 June 2021.

“The MRF Research Committee has meticulously scrutinised the next quarterly instalment of demographic, intermedia, behavioural, product and brand data and has given their stamp of approval,” says MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster. “Nine months’ worth of single source, geo-codable MAPS data is now available to subscribers and their agencies.”

Subscribers, with many providing their own marketing questions in the survey, will now have a sample of 15 000 to analyse all market segments to determine the age-old marketing questions of ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ (well, that’s until March 2021 right now) and ‘how much’.

During the fieldwork period 15 030 interviews were conducted, 7792 diaries collected, 1880 Economic Area’s (EA) visited with 3942 backchecks completed which has resulted in a world class, fully comprehensive and robust dataset.

“We’re enthusiastic to go back into the field to start the next quarter of data, but that is of course dependent on the easing of current Lockdown restrictions,” concludes Koster. “It’s an extremely exciting prospect to know that we are only one quarter away from a full year’s worth of data, with results expected to be released in October this year.

Thank you once again to all our subscribers and committees for the continuous support and valuable input.”

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