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Vaccination Vacation – how the Maldives hopes to boost their economy through a vaccination vacation

Vaccination IMM Blog Image

The Maldives has suffered significantly due to the border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, through a loyalty programme and their vaccination-vacation concept, the country hopes to rejuvenate its tourism industry.


The Maldives – a paradise on earth that needs no introduction. This small, picturesque country made up of several islands mainly developed for tourists, holidaymakers and famously, honeymooners, has seen a considerable dip in revenue since border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the Maldives will soon offer tourists vaccinations on arrival as part of the country’s three-pointed initiative to revitalise its struggling tourism industry.


Maldives Economy

An introduction to the Maldivian economy

In 2009, 42.7% of the local Maldivian population were living on less than $5.50USD a day. In a bid to restabilise the country’s economy, investments and funding by both government and private funders were introduced at a multi-level and multi-industry developments have been made to the little Islands’ in recent years, including improvements to the education and healthcare sectors.

This in turn salvaged the unemployment crisis and restabilised the local economy. Within seven years, the poverty rate decreased to 3.4% and the exquisite country now boasts a close to 100% literacy rate and a life year expectancy of more than 78 years old, according to the Borgan Project.

It is through these huge economic developments; the Maldives has attained the status of an ‘upper-middle-income’ country. With tourism accounting for 21% of the Maldives GDP in 2019 (pre-COVID), it is fair to say that the country depends on the tourism industry greatly.

However, what happens to a country like the Maldives with a pandemic and the untimely occurrence of COVID-19, global travel restrictions and the tourism industry globally shutting down is devastating to its economy.

The Maldives began experiencing the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic early on already in March 2020. After the tourism industry abruptly halted, the border was initially closed until mid-July 2020. Due to the decline in tourism in 2020, gross domestic product dropped to 28%, and the poverty rate increased to 7.2%.


Maldives - vacation to promote tourism

The “3 V” strategy: visit, vaccinate, vacation – How the Maldives is implementing the vaccination vacation to promote tourism

Despite the reopening of travel to the country, only some 18,000 travelers visited the country, unlike the monthly 140 000 visitors pre-COVID. According to Al-Jazeera, a leading global news agency, the Maldivian government pulled out “all the stops” to prompt travelers back into the country for tourism.

These included a quick vaccination roll out for locals, excess stocking up on hospital supplies, safeguarding tourists through the promotion of accessible healthcare and the introduction of a “point” system so that tourists gain value-for-money during their travels.

Described as a “more convenient” way of traveling to the country, the 3V strategy emphasises “visit, vaccinate, and vacation” to attract visitors, Abdulla Mausoom, Tourism Minister of the Maldives, told CNBC.


Maldives - Strategy

How does the strategy work?

The country has already fully vaccinated 58% of its own population and with further vaccines coming through via the COVAX system with the World Health Organisation and other donated viles from neighbouring countries like India, the Maldives hopes to be able to secure enough vaccines to fully immunise its population and then vaccinate on arrival, without quarantine any visitors.

The strategy itself is as straightforward as it sounds. To further their bid for more tourist visits, the Maldivian Department of Tourism has also announced the ‘Border Miles’ programme, established to entice tourists to visit more than once. Working on a point system, the programme will award visitors points per entry and in turn, visitors can find themselves enjoying posh holidays at a lower cost.


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Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano-Influencers. What’s the difference?


Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano-Influencers - IMM Blog Image2


Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano-Influencers. What’s the difference?

In 2019, a survey conducted by MediaKix revealed that the influencer marketing industry was on the rise to becoming one of the most lucrative industries and tools for marketers. And now, 2021 has been dubbed the year of South Africa’s influencer economy. As digital marketing continues to lead the advertising industry away from traditional marketing strategies, the influencer industry has become key in driving campaigns and advertising products and services. A social media trends report released by GWI Core Q4 2020 reveals that influencers have a strong relationship with their followers, particularly with younger generations. It states that “Gen Z’s are almost as likely to follow influencers as Brands”.


Brands Chart - IMM Blog Image


With the limitations and difficulties COVID-19 presented to marketers globally, the move towards digital has become even greater with companies and organisations choosing to invest their marketing spend budgets in channels that perform without the consumer ever really having to leave the comforts of their home (read more about this trend in our blog here). MediaKix, 2019 key findings in a 2019 survey showed that influencer marketing proved to be 80% more effective than traditional forms of marketing, was 89% more effective in driving ROI and drove sales and traffic up by 71% (MediaKix, 2019). The fact that marketers believe influencer marketing generates better quality leads and customers than other communication channels, makes it vital to understand what exactly “influencing” means and how as marketers, we can best utilise this marketing communication process. What makes this form of marketing so attractive to consumers is the relatability of their marketer – the influencer. There’s a trust factor already attached to the person, so when influencers endorse a brand, product or service, people are easily swayed towards their word.




Influence Marketing

Image source: Neil Patel


But what is influencing? And how is it related to marketing?

‘To influence’ is the simplest way to explain what influencing means. As a verb, the act of influencing (in a marketing context) is to shape the ideas of an audience on what products and services best suit their lifestyles, in turn, encouraging them to try or use those same products and services. Influencing is a new-age form of ‘brand activation’ with the only difference being that it relies heavily on individuals with a large social media following to endorse products, services and organisations publicly, in the hopes of humanising brand names to their audiences with the purpose of stimulating brand awareness, product trial or brand switching.  Influencer marketing involves the promotion of products through endorsements and product placement from influential people or organisations who are deemed experts in their fields. These range from tech and DIY to beauty, photography, scrapbooking and cooking. The GWI Core Q4 2020 report also reveals that those who follow influencers are varied in their interests.

Influencer Chart - IMM Blog Image

The influencing industry itself is multileveled and consists of individuals with a diverse set of media and PR skills. While many aspire to become influencers, behind the glitz and glamour is plenty of hard work. For one, it is becoming an increasingly competitive industry. Those that are able to create a following on social media, must work hard to maintain it. Earning trust from followers requires persistent effort. As such influencers can no longer endorse a brand for the sake of making a quick buck. Bombarding an audience with unrelated sponsored content is the quickest way to ‘kill the vibe’ and the influencer’s credibility with it.

As a marketer, it is important to understand this. Influencers typically align to a category such as travel, lifestyle, fashion, food, beauty, sport, gaming, entertainment, tech or health and fitness. While some influencers may focus on or overlap some of these categories, it is vital to choose an influencer that also aligns to your brand’s positioning and tone. It is likely they will be doing the same.


There are four types of influencers:

1. Mega-influencers

Mega-influencers are the “celebrity” of influencers. These people typically have diverse audiences without any real influence, but rather, have a strong popularity amongst different groups of people. They aren’t necessarily experts in the industries of the products or services they’re advertising, but they do have a higher audience reach. When thinking mega-influencers, CMS Wire notes the likes of ‘A-list celebrities’ such as Will Smith who uses all sorts of social media platforms to entertain his fans and in some instances, fits in a sneaky promotion here or there.

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Image source: @WillSmith on Instagram

2. Macro-influencers

Macro-influencing as described by Social Media Today suggests that this level of influencing is the level before the ‘celebrity’ status of notoriety. Macro influencers are usually household names, the ones trusted by thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands or millions of followers within their regions. They are typically approached by brands and companies first to explore avenues for advertising a brand, product or service. These avenues always include using their platforms to reach their wide audiences for greater visibility for the brand.

Macro-influencers - IMM Blog Image

Source: influenceforimpact.com (2021)

3. Micro-influencers

Micro-influencers are the ‘newbies’ or the more ‘ordinary’ type of influencer that is more attainable and accessible by the audience than the macro influencer. A micro influencer is usually someone with less than 15,000 (fifteen thousand) followers, but this is dependent on the brand as they determine how far down the line of micro they wish to go.

Micro-influencers - IMM Blog Image

Source: influenceforimpact.com (2021)

4. Nano-influencers

Nano-influencers are the newer influencers coming up who are typically popular amongst their own community and generally smaller audience. CMS Wire describes nano-influencers as your “regular, everyday people” whose family and friends love to see and hear from and who trust their opinions on products and services. Their influence reach is much smaller than that of the higher tier influencers, but this should not be misunderstood as less valuable when nano-influencers tend to have the highest engagement rates with their audiences. The drawbacks of nano-influencing really is just that their reach is not always further than their following which is usually below the 1000-follower threshold.

Nano-influencers - IMM Blog Image


Influencing as a whole is an incredibly attractive and innovative tool for marketers to use. The outcome of which type of influencer to employ when delivering a campaign or wanting to advertise a product is entirely dependent on the type of influencer the brand wants to align themselves with, and who the influencer themself wishes to work with. It also depends on the objectives you are trying to achieve for your organisation.

Influencing is incredibly effective because of the reliability and accessibility consumers have to these people, so looking at engagement is much more favourable than reach. The percentage of an influencer’s engagement is worth much more than their reach as the engagement shows just how many people are actually engaging with their content and what they have to say. All four types of influencers, mega-, macro-, micro- or nano-influencers have something to offer.

Joe Sinkwitz, CEO at Intellifluence sums it up well. “One generally needs to understand that the larger the audience, the less focused it is likely to be, and therefore the broader the offer will probably have to be.”

Work From Home vs. In-Office: is it really essential businesses operate strictly in office environments?

Work From Home vs. In-Office - IMM Blog Image

Work From Home vs. In-Office: is it really essential businesses operate strictly in office environments?


In March 2020, the World Health Organisation officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Since, many companies, organisations and public servants have had to shift their working environments from office-based, to remote, work-from-home systems. With the world in lockdown for the better part of 2020 and 2021, millions of workers have since become accustomed to working from home and many companies in fact have since offered permanent remote positions to their staff or hybrid versions thereof.


However, before the pandemic most companies had an in-office policy whereby workers could seldomly work remotely or from home and those same sentiments are ringing true as the world begins to open up, particularly in the financial sector. But is it really essential that businesses operate strictly in office environments when this past year has shown that employees are capable and companies can still remain functional and profitable without employees necessarily working in office?


Why the pushback against Work From Home (WFH)?

According to BBC Worklife, Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, suggests that the mindset of persons in the finance industry is rooted in the desire to maintain company culture and job motivation. Historically, legacy companies have been more oriented towards “top down” hierarchies, he says. Additionally, Bloom adds that since the pandemic, other legitimate concerns regarding remote working have emerged with employees experiencing reduced productivity due to a lack of space and privacy; loss of informal interactions; and the mental burden of always being connected to the internet.

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Why do people enjoy working from home?

It’s no secret that remote work has become increasingly popular over the years especially amongst the younger generation seeking the freedom of adventure while still being able to maintain jobs and afford their travels. The WFH model offers exactly such freedoms and has since extended that new-age nomad-type working style to ordinary people. But what is it about WFH that is so appealing? According to a leading recruitment site, Indeed.com, the flexibility and freedom WFH offers employees is incredibly enticing. The article notes that: “It can even increase productivity and employee morale to work remotely. Working from home allows employees to enjoy more flexibility since they can often work whenever they are more creative. The advantage of work-life balance is what motivates many employees to join the remote workforce.” But other reasons suggest that employees enjoy working from home for the following reasons too:

  1. Broader range of job opportunities. This suggests that unlike before, employees now have the freedom and flexibility to take on more than one “office” job and work at it to their leisure, enjoying the comforts of dictating their own time while making the earnings of their choice – something an in-office role would deprive them of being able to commit to full-time.Less stress commuting to work - IMM Blog Image
  2. Less stress commuting to work. According to an article in flexjobs.com, the average person spends about 30 minutes commuting to and from work each way, every day. This commute leaves thousands of employees stuck in traffic for usual 9am-5pm working days and often leads to increased blood pressure and higher levels of stress.Work from Office - IMM Blog Image

So, is it really essential for businesses to operate strictly in office environments?

Not necessarily. While certain sectors may require workers to come in physically and in many cases, employees might prefer the routine, structure and separation of work and personal life, it isn’t necessarily a necessity. Businesses can function fine with the right team, as long as the expectations and demands are clearly set out and employees can deliver upon that. Different people enjoy different freedoms, and their ideals of what productivity means can also differ from person to person. Some researchers suggest that over this past year productivity has increased, while other companies have reported that team-morale and overall productivity has decreased. It is difficult to blanket productivity in itself because what drives productivity or what defines it can also be an ever-changing definition for different companies and managing staff. Overall, remote work, or a hybrid model that allows employees to work either from home, or in office, or on-and-off in office or out of office would possibly be a great shift across all industries as not every employee enjoys the same working environments. Ultimately, different people excel in different places and that includes the environments they work in.


PoPIA – How does it affect your business?


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The Protection of Personal Information Act (often called the PoPI Act or PoPIA) is South Africa’s data protection law. The purpose of PoPIA is to protect people from harm by protecting their personal information.

PoPIA requires extra vigilance in all aspects of physical and information security. The basis of the PoPIA is to protect personal information and prevent information from being exposed to unauthorised persons. As a result, this implies an obligation to protect information relating to natural and juristic persons from any damage, including financial fraud, identity theft, misuse, and the abuse of personal information.

PoPIA is broader in scope than similar data privacy laws in the sense that it is applicable to both “juristic” and “natural persons,” meaning that data about companies and organisations is also protected.

How does PoPIA affect your business?


If you are a South African business owner and your business processes the personal information of South African consumers, you are required to comply with PoPIA. This means before you can process any of your customers’ personal information, you will need to ask for their consent.


PoPIA South Africa - IMM blog Image

Businesses now need to deal far more diligently with the information they collect. They can only collect what is necessary and are required to have a legitimate reason for collecting that information.

To be PoPIA compliant you’ll also need to ensure all the personal information you store is secure, and that your customers have the ability to access, correct or delete any of their data that you have already collected.


How can being PoPIA compliant help your business?


Being PoPIA compliant can be extremely beneficial to your business. Communicating to your customers exactly how you are PoPIA compliant can shed a positive light on your business and help you gain their trust. More and more consumers are becoming conscious of the privacy of their data, and they want to be assured that the companies they trust their data with will protect them against misuse and breaches.

Other than that, proven compliance with a state law automatically increases brand credibility. Knowing that a company adheres to local privacy laws organically improves a customer’s willingness to share their data without mistrust and increases the chances of customer retention and even referrals.

The 8 principles of PoPIA


Under the PoPIA, a responsible party processing personal information must comply with all eight principles of the act, and the measures necessary to give effect to those principles. Compliance must be achieved not only when the actual processing of information takes place, but also when determining the purpose and means of processing the personal information.

The principles are:

Accountability: This condition requires that all processing of data occurs in compliance with PoPIA. Practically, this requires that a data protection policy is established and that an internal information officer champions the aims of, and compliance with, the legislation.

Processing limitation: Personal data must be processed lawfully and in a reasonable manner that does not infringe on a data subject’s privacy. A responsible party must develop procedures and policies to ensure that personal information is processed in a “reasonable manner.”

Purpose specification: Among other things, this entails that personal information may only be collected for a lawful, specific and explicitly defined purpose related to the function or activity of the responsible party collecting the information.

Further processing limitation: Once personal information has been collected and lawful processing has occurred, a responsible party may only further process that data in limited circumstances.

Information quality: A responsible party must ensure that any personal information in its possession is complete, accurate, not misleading and updated when necessary. In maintaining information quality, the responsible party must consider the purpose for which the personal information is collected or further processed.

Openness: A responsible party must compile a manual that contains stipulated information as required by the South African Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000, including details on the information that it holds.

Security safeguards: A responsible party must secure the integrity and confidentiality of any personal information in its possession or under its control by taking appropriate and reasonable technical and organisational measures to prevent loss, damage, unauthorised destruction of, and unlawful access to the personal information in its possession.

Data subject participation:

The data subject has the right to request confirmation of whether a responsible party holds personal information about the data subject. The data subject also has the right to request a record or description of the personal information about the data subject being held by the responsible party, as well as information concerning the identity of all third parties who have had access to the data subject’s personal information.

The data subject may request that a responsible party:

Correct or delete personal information about the data subject that is inaccurate, irrelevant, excessive, out of date, incomplete, misleading, or unlawfully obtained; and delete or destroy personal information that the responsible party is no longer authorised to retain.

What are the consequences if my business fails to comply with the PoPIA?


If a responsible party causes the breach of a data subject’s personal information, negligently or otherwise – an aggrieved party may lodge a complaint with the Information Regulator. The Information Regulator does not necessarily require a court order to issue a fine for non-compliance.

The Act sets out civil remedies available to an aggrieved party which include, payment for damages as compensation for losses suffered as a result of a breach, aggravated damages; interest; and costs on a scale as determined by the court.

Where criminal charges are brought against a responsible party and such party is convicted– the penalty can be extremely harsh. A maximum period of imprisonment of 10 years, or an undisclosed maximum fine. Additionally, the Information Regulator may institute administrative fines up to an amount of R10 million.

Apart from jail time and fines as repercussions, reputation is also very important to keep in mind, because no potential customer would want to be affiliated with an organisation that does not adhere to regulations, which is also at risk of experiencing data breach due to the lack of proper cybersecurity measures as per PoPIA requirements.

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Ensure you understand the basic structure of, and the principles contained in the act with our PoPI Act online course.


This course has been designed to introduce the basic principles of PoPIA, and to outline the structure of the Act. The programme provides references to and explains the relevant Sections in the Act.

The course has been designed for managers and executives who need to understand the Act. It is also relevant for any personnel who work with the personal information of clients, employees and customers.

Ensure that you and your organisation fully understand what is expected of you to remain compliant to PoPIA by signing up for this programme today. Follow the link to learn more: https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/protection-of-personal-information-act-popia/

Logistics and Supply Chain Management when unrest hits South Africa

When unrest hits SA - IMM Blog Image

The recent unrest in South Africa and particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng demonstrates how fragile the local, national and international supply chain and pipelines are. After experiencing the continued onslaught of COVID-19, the latest and almost unabated riots, pillage and attacks on people and property have created even greater impacts on general life in South Africa as well as critical shortages of food, medication, vaccines, fuel and other vitals in many suburbs in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng. It goes without saying that political undercurrents can cause disruptions in sourcing, manufacturing and transportation in a supply chain, denying people of the fulfilment of much-needed physiological and security needs as per Maslow’s famous Hierarchy.


Supply chain management’s (SCM) solid foundation lies in logistics and the 13 activities pertaining thereto. Its main objectives are to get the right product, to the right place, to the right customer, in the right quantities, at the right price, in the right condition and very importantly the right time. When unexpected riots and mayhem occur, every single right is negatively affected because need-satisfying products and services cannot reach customers who have become deprived of possession utility, even though they have the means to pay for the offerings.


PicknPay Looting - IMM Blog Image


The thought of potential deprivation as a result of such havoc has the unpleasant consequence of herd behaviour, leading to Maslow’s hierarchy becoming almost meaningless as people procure not what they need but rather what they want. The resultant chaotic ‘feeding-frenzy’ behaviour plays into the hands of the perpetrators of the unrest as what little is left for the community to buy after the wake of the unmasked marauders’ looting, is selfishly purchased by inconsiderate consumers, without giving any thought to the elderly, the poor and needy, the infirmed and the shoppers behind them.


As mentioned above, because of the violent upheaval, the right products are not reaching desperate consumers and businesses resulting in even basic consumables such as bread, vegetables, milk, eggs and so on being deprived because of shortages at retail level and the hi-jacking of trucks trying their best to deliver their cargos.


The right places sadly have been burned down and destroyed and the content stolen not by the starving but by vandals who blindly obey those who are hungry for power. The right customers (in this case consumers and business owners) have been denied possession utility as the offerings are not being delivered to their retailers or even their homes (as a result of online buying), with the result that people are literally starving as the freebooters purposely and violently plunder the stores and transport trucks.


Because of the illegal actions of these uncaring ransackers, there is a dire dearth of food, mediation, fuel and essential services, resulting in the right quantities not being forthcoming, thereby providing selfish opportunists scope to charge what they will (up to R70 for a loaf of bread and R80 for a litre of petrol) … making a joke of getting offerings to customers at the right price. What does come through, when it does, is oftentimes of poor quality, especially perishable products such as fresh vegetables and fruit (not the right condition), which usually arrive late (if one is lucky), resulting in the products not arriving when customers need and want them.


Game Looting - IMM Blog Image

Although attempting to pen this comment is like shooting at a moving target, one thing is certain and that is the ramifications of this chaos, both social and financial, will be felt for years to come.


From a Supply Chain Management perspective, the once solid supply pipeline has become permanently fractured as offshore and onshore organisations ponder whether to operate under this fragile blanket of uncertainty, move offshore to a safer and more secure environment or even conduct business with South Africa at all. Either way, all South Africans will bear the brunt of escalating prices, longer and more uncertain lead times, input shortages and above all reputational damage that will take eons to heal.


Virtual IMM Fridays – Debbie Pearson

Debbie Pearson

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Marketing.

Virtual IMM Fridays – Wendy Monkley

Wendy Monkley

Digital Marketing and “She’EO” at Digital Content Lab

Download presentation here

Stellenbosch Open Day – 30 January 2021

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Stellenbosch Open Day 1


IMM Graduate School welcomes prospective students with open arms into our new Stellenbosch Campus on 30 January 2021 for our Open Day. We cannot wait to see the IMM family grow!

IMM Graduate School Online Open Day – 16 January 2021

Considering a future in Marketing, Supply Chain or Business?

Then watch our online open day recording!

IMM Graduate School Year-end Function – December 2020

IMM Year End Function 2020   Alex Dalein2
IMM Year End Function 2020   Angela Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020   Chrissie Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020   Dalein Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020   Dalein Lars2
IMM Year End Function 2020   Dinah Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020   Dwayne Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020   Esther Lars2
IMM Year End Function 2020   Group1
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IMM Year End Function 2020   Group17
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IMM Year End Function 2020   Group19
IMM Year End Function 2020   Group20
IMM Year End Function 2020   Group21
IMM Year End Function 2020   Irene Angela Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020   Thozama Lars