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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.

Will Smith Instagram - IMM Blog Image

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

Conclusion

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.

working from home - IMM Blog Image

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?

 

PoPIA Image - IMM Blog Image

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.

PoPIA 2 - IMM blog Image

 

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.

 

How Covid-19 increased consumerism despite many losing their jobs and streams of income

Consumerism - IMM Blog Image

By March 2020, most of the world was put into mandatory lockdown after the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic (read more about that here). This meant that consumers were following stay-at-home orders and were restricted to leaving the house for essential services and  shopping only.

For many people, upskilling, taking on a new hobby or not wanting to forgo their daily routines meant that the purchases of gym equipment, for example, increased as people were now limited to going to the gym. With many people losing their jobs or primary streams of income due to lockdowns, lots of people opted to open up home businesses turning their hobbies into products or services.

Instagram - IMM Blog Image

For many people, upskilling, taking on a new hobby or not wanting to forgo their daily routines meant that the purchases of gym equipment, for example, increased as people were now limited to going to the gym. With many people losing their jobs or primary streams of income due to lockdowns, lots of people opted to open up home businesses turning their hobbies into products or services.

Anything from candle-making, to monetising social media streams, to home delivery foods, people did their best to stay afloat and in turn, communities everywhere turned to supporting small businesses so much so that Instagram added a “small business” tool onto their platform to help others promote their favourite small, locally owned business – read more about that here.

 

Image credit: Instagram

What did consumers shop for most during lockdown?

In many parts of the world, panic buying ensued with retailers globally forced to limit the number of purchases of high-demand items (such as hand sanitiser and toilet paper) per shopper. A leading financial institute, JP Morgan, published their findings in an article and relayed that:  “For the world’s largest personal care, food and drink companies, data showing which products sold the most tells the story of how consumers spent their time and money during lockdown” noting that “flat growth followed by a huge spike — double digit growth. That is very rare for this industry and was totally prompted by the lockdown and the fact that people couldn’t get out,” said Celine Pannuti, Head of European Staples and Beverages Research at J.P. Morgan.

 

Lockdown Purcheses - IMM Blog ImageJP Morgan breaks down what consumers seemed to purchase the most during lockdowns across Europe and the United States of America in 2020 into four main purchase categories:

Soaps and Household Cleaners: sales of household cleaning and disinfectant products increased greatly. Sales of cleaning wipes in the U.S. increased by over 100% in the first three months of the year, relative to a year ago, followed by a 60% surge in the second quarter and sales continued to grow by over 15% in the third quarter. In the third quarter sales of aerosol disinfectants climbed 120%, as did sales of dishwasher detergents and general kitchen cleaners, which have increased around 40%.

Vitamins and Supplements: Amid the pandemic, consumers also loaded up on vitamins and supplements. Revkitt Benckiser grew U.S. sales by approximately 50% in the first half of the year and maintained that momentum in the third quarter (+26%).

 

Coffee - IMM Blog Image

 

 

Hair Color: As a result of the lockdown, home hair color products have become particularly popular in the United States and Europe. For companies like L’Oreal and Henkel, sales of hair color were up over 30% in the second quarter of the year.

Coffee: Many workers around the world began working from home during the lockdown, and coffee became a popular drink. Thus, Nestlé saw fresh roast coffee sales grow by around a third in Europe, while in the US, Starbucks at-home products, Nescafé and Coffee-Mate grew at double-digit rates.

 

The boost in e-Commerce shopping and the logistics of it

Despite the logistics industry taking a knock as countries locked down (read more about that here) and the mobility of transporting of goods had been pushed back, globally, e-commerce shopping across all industries increased this past year as panicked consumers looked for hand sanitiser, groceries, and skincare products online.

Typically these items were also sought out in bulk. A McKinsey report suggests that consumers spent $211.5 billion on e-commerce during the second quarter of 2020, an increase of 31.8% from the first. With more shoppers going to the internet for their shopping, e-commerce now makes up 16.1% of all U.S. sales  and this trend appears set to continue as non-essential businesses, restaurants and retailers start reopening. In the graph below, McKinsey’s report illustrates how e-commerce boosted more than ever before during the pandemic.

 

e-commerce Growth - IMM Blog Image

 

Conclusion

Despite the fact that many people lost their primary streams of income, many people dipped into their savings, others opted to open up small businesses and some were afforded government compensation. The increase in consumerism during the pandemic has spiked particularly via e-commerce. Online shopping has risen and that includes delivery services. While the continuation of this increase in consumerism is probable, analysts await the outcomes of consumer behaviour in the next year.

Good leadership in the post-pandemic world

Leadership Image - IMM Blog

According to Forbes, the true value of a high-performing team and the effectiveness of its leader become all the more visible during major disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic. A team’s resilience is characterised by its ability to pivot, rebound and continually innovate its way out of an impossible situation. In reference to a leadership style, the acronym ‘A.G.I.L.E.’, Forbes states, produces an “approachable, grounded, innovative, leveraging and empathic” leader. These are arguably non-negotiable characteristics that leaders today need to demonstrate if their teams are to survive the impacts of COVID-19.

Let’s break it down.

Team Image - IMM Blog

 

 

 

Approachable aka ‘is friendly and easy to talk to’

Good leaders appreciate that great ideas can come from anyone. It is therefore important for you to operate with an approachable attitude during times of disruption and uncertainty. Team members need to feel that they can come to you with ideas or concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

Team Work - IMM Blog

 

 

Grounded aka ‘is honest, well balanced and sensible’

It is crucial for leaders to lead transparently by being honest so that the team can get a more complete view of any disruptions that the organisation may be facing. Honesty, along with sensible and unemotional responses help a team to better react to and solve the challenges of any particular situation – confidence is gained through clarity.

 

 

 

 

 

Innovative Team - IMM Blog Image

 

 

 

Innovative aka ‘is advanced and original’

Facilitate growth by encouraging creativity and originality – this builds healthy team morale. Innovation is necessary for an organisation to remain relevant and to thrive in a competitive business environment. As a leader you should create an environment that stimulates and rewards creative thinking.

 

 

 

Leverager aka ‘can get more done with less’

As the pandemic has pressured so many businesses to tighten budgets, leaders must maximise resources, and this often involves leveraging the talents already present within the team. Together your team needs to embrace new ways of using technology and other unconventional work styles in order to do more with less. Incentivise team members to rise to the challenge and you may uncover existing talents that you never knew they had. You may even find that team members volunteer for certain roles outside their current work scope.

 

Empathetic aka ‘an ability to understand and share the feelings of another’

Whether pre, during or post-COVID, a strong leader always displays empathy and prioritises the wellbeing of their team members. This is a good time for you to prove to your employees that you value them as people and that you understand the challenges their jobs and personal lives present. Showing empathy usually results in loyalty and a higher level of performance.

Good Leader - IMM blog Image

But is that all that it takes to be a good leader?Unhappy Employees Signs

Contrary, the Renoir Group suggests that there is no “best” leadership style and that leadership requires flexibility and the willingness to evolve. Taking into account the uncertainty created by COVID-19 and the complete change it has brought about within the workforce, it is imperative that leadership strategies also change to meet the needs of current times. Good leadership is proactive leadership. Proactive leadership is flexible leadership. Flexibility in turn produces multiple ways to optimise your labour force. As a leader you need to be able to inspire, to explore all avenues available and provide a sense of security for those you are leading. Reigning in the troops by being a source of stability during a pandemic is especially key to the success and sustainability of a company’s success.

Further, low morale as a result of pandemic-anxiety, personal matters or general unhappiness within a company is not something a good leader should accept. Companies don’t take care of employees, the leaders inside that company do.

 

This is what good leadership looks like in a post-pandemic world

Navigating the world in itself during such uncertain times has seen many families and individuals hopeless and helpless. Snap lockdowns, impending new waves of COVID-19 infection cases, a fluctuating economy leading to job insecurity and higher daily expenses, the day-to-day difficulties of living, working from home, surviving with or without familial support, current personal struggles and possibly the loss of a loved one, all contribute to the functionality of an individual, which in turn, affects an entire team.

The Harvard Business Review suggests that poor leadership has a direct impact on employee mental health and might be triggering occupational anxiety disorders. For most, The KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) released a report that suggests the feeling of impending doom and uncertainty due to COVID-19 has seen an increase in anxiety disorders and depressive episodes amongst people across the

age and labour spectrum and thus affects the greater workforce altogether. People desperately need to feel mentally, emotionally and physically safe in their work environment.

Without the security of an empathetic, supportive leader, workers tend to be less productive. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that humanity must prevail to preserve our sanity: Humanity cannot be absent in the workforce, or it will lose the enthusiasm, loyalty and productivity of the worker.

Retaining talent does not only depend on an increase in cheques or benefits, but it also depends highly on the way people feel in their places of work.

In fact, according to Guthrie Jensen, a leading consultancy group, the happier and more grounded employee is 12% more productive, whereas an unhappy, demotivated and discouraged employee is 10% less productive, lacks creativity, determination and generally loses the vigour to succeed. The illustration below shows ways in which employees will show a lack of zest.

 

Conclusion

In order for leaders in any industry to succeed in a post-pandemic world, they must employ a new sense of humaneness unlike before. Prioritising employees is central to productivity and creativity. Good leaders in a post-pandemic world can leverage their organisations to become industry leaders as world economies and industries begin to open up. The key to success at this time is your employees.

What’s all the hype about TikTok, is it a viable marketing channel yet?

TikTok Article

You’ve heard about TikTok before, but how can we use the platform as marketers to expand our reach? In this blog we cover the basics of TikTok and different ways how ads can be executed on the app.

What is TikTok?

In case you have been living under a rock, TikTok is a simple to use mobile app that allows users to upload and edit short form videos ranging from one second up to three minutes. It has become what SnapChat and Instagram had hoped they could become: The next best and biggest thing in video creation – the first of its kind on Western platforms that is arguably the perfect adaptation of YouTube in a short mobile form.

Who uses TikTok?

A Vox report suggests that in 2018-2019, the app was largely used by users based in the U.S.A. with teenagers (10-19 years old) dominating the app. However, the user base is expanding as can been seen this graph published by Statista which shows user-by-age stats in the U.S.A. in March 2021 which shows that older people are beginning to access the app,

and users can take any approach from storytelling, DIY-ing to mundane everyday life.

Distibution of TikTok users

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095186/tiktok-us-users-age/

 

Why is TikTok so popular?

The platform offers instant gratification. The app itself is both fun and easy to use. TikTok’s in-app tools allow users to easily add music, filters, captions and hashtags which inspires them to be creative and set trends of their own. What makes it even more exciting is the ability to go viral overnight. Going viral is what makes TikTok’s “duet” feature quite exciting. Users also use this tool to post reactions to other users’ videos. This leads to a chain reaction of duets and has made for some hilarious content and has also contributed to how content becomes trendy. What is also quite gripping about TikTok is how easy it is to join trends as users often post tutorials on how others can execute trending dances.

Source: https://media.giphy.com/media/eKNvgaaBcNJQ9y4OyD/source.mp4

TikTok Ads: Is it viable (and if so, how)?

But is it a viable marketing channel yet? Definitely. The platform works so incredibly fast that in a matter of just 3 days, Dior’s 001 Rose Blush went viral – thousands of users purchased, reviewed and applauded the product under the assumption it was famous billionaire Kylie Jenner’s go-to. Likewise, many other brands in the beauty industry have seen the same surge in sales due to TikTok. It seems the opportunities are limitless and there is room for every industry to thrive. The chances of going organically viral on the app are endless, but the question remains, “how do we as marketers make use of the platform in paid TikTok Ads?”

Here are a few simple ways:

  1. Brand Takeover
    A 3-second static image or 3-5 second video without audio that shows on app launch. This is great for brand awareness videos but can be very expensive.
    TikTok Challenge
  2. Top View Ads
    60-second ads that appear after 3 seconds as your first in feed post and include audio and a custom link.
  3. In Feed Ads
    As the name implies is an ad that appears in the users “for you” feed.
  4. Branded Hashtags
    This format encourages user generated content by using the product in a unique way and adding the branded hashtag. (Note this may not actually be the brand name but will likely be related to the brand e.g. #imlovinit). The video is added to the hashtag challenge page which other users can view. According to NoGood, this format of advertising on TikTok has seen an average engagement rate of 8.5%.
    Branded Hashtags
  5. Branded Effects, Sounds and Filters
    This form of advertising is not new to social media platforms. Long before TikTok, brands were using their own branded filters and effects on SnapChat and Instagram. Branded stickers, filters and special effects are created for users to add to their own videos.

Conclusion

Instantly gratifying, always new, incredibly addictive. TikTokers are highly engaged and user generated content is the order of the day. The real question is not should you be marketing on TikTok but rather why are you not already?

 

Unprecedented disruption has reshaped the future of logistics

 

disruption

With the Covid-19 outbreak, a fundamental but unpredictable risk to the logistics industry has shown up. For many countries and companies, keeping up with the market has been nothing short of difficult and uncertain. The challenge Covid-19 presents has forced industry leaders to rethink the way forward and this includes analysing the risks and challenges of the supply chain in order to get back to business as usual.

take risksSupply Chain Risks and Challenges

According to Accenture, the pandemic has brought a new type of consumer to the market and while the demand for fast supply and delivery has increased, routes to markets have been blocked sporadically for unknown periods. Due to this, supply chains are becoming more costly and stakeholders expectations are not being met. The industry itself cannot hold onto sustainable agreements. To examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the logistics industry and its potential for the future, Cushman & Wakefield, a leading global real estate services firm, has released its 2021 Global Logistics Outlook. The report discusses the key drivers affecting growth, global leasing dynamics and provides an outlook for the logistics sector. According to the report, these key changes have been drawn out for each region.

 

 

APAC

The Asian Pacific regional market has shown to be resilient. Out of the 34 key markets covered within Asia Pacific, the status quo has largely been maintained year-to-date, with only Singapore showing any real change to potentially becoming more tenant friendly, although this is restricted to certain parts of the industrial market, despite the pressure of a weakening export demand.

APAC

This is a major difference to the office sector within the region, which has seen a much more definitive shift towards being more tenant-friendly. In China, the logistics industry as a whole has seen a 2.5% increase due to new consumer demands and the rise in online shopping. The table below (which can also be found here) puts this into perspective:

Logistic Table

EMEA

Europe’s logistics sector is said to be struggling with supply constraints, stemming from a combination of a lack of developable land and strict planning regimes. Lisa Graham, Head of EMEA Industrial Research for Cushman & Wakefield, explains that, “In contrast to the pre-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when speculative development represented roughly 80% of new construction, post-GFC has been characterised by predominantly ‘built-to-suit’ development that has led to severe supply shortages in most of Europe’s core logistics markets. As speculative construction resumed post-lockdowns, more product came to market, pent up demand was released and leasing activity accelerated.”

Truck in Road

North America

Proving to be one of the strongest markets, the North American market experienced growth despite the pandemic and other local disruptions to the industry due to hurricanes and wildfires.

But how do we address this issue and overcome it?

Construction MenFive Key Ways to Address Covid-19’s Impact on Logistics

  1. Improving visibility into operations.
  2. Increasing flexibility of inventory and assets to balance supply and demand.
  3. Communicating effectively with onsite and remote employees, suppliers, carriers and customers.
  4. Supporting the labour force by protecting the wellbeing of workers within the supply chain as well as that of the logistics staff.
  5. Being creative in your approach to understanding how to find resolution to the issue at hand and how to address it moving forward.

Conclusion

The pandemic has set a hurdle in all industries, but the world depends on the logistics industry to stay afloat. It’s imperative that these hurdles be overcome as best as possible. To read more about the ways in which logistic companies and leaders can improve their approach into delivering better, despite what the pandemic has presented, click here.

Digital vs traditional marketing – how has it been influenced by COVID-19?

Digital vs traditional marketing 1

The debate of whether digital or traditional marketing is most valuable or otherwise more effective is an endless one. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, the shift towards digital has been exponential as traditional channels for advertising have come under pressure, become a lot more expensive and in some cases, obsolete.

 

As consumers have had to adjust their lifestyle habits during this time, their media habits have also changed; creating very real consequences for the ‘traditional’ media industry and new, accelerated opportunities for its ‘digital’ counterparts.

 

What’s the difference?

When we refer to ‘traditional marketing’, we are including any form of marketing that does not involve the Internet or digital technology. 99Designs passionately describes “The immersive experience of an impactful TV commercial and the tactile nature of a copy of Rolling Stone magazine are as important today as they were 20 years ago because of their lasting effects on your memory. Subconsciously you attach yourself to their brand emotionally, meaning they will stay at the top of your mind.”

Traditional media are just that – tactile and they exist in real time, physically. There are five main categories in this classification:

  • Print Marketing – magazines, newsletters, newspapers and catalogues.
  • Broadcast Marketing – radio, television and cinema.
  • Direct Mail Marketing – pamphlets and brochures.
  • Telephone Marketing – telemarketers or call centres.
  • Outdoor Marketing – billboards, bus stops and posters.

Digital marketing depends on the internet and the platforms it offers for a company to have a presence on it. It includes some of the following types of marketing strategies:

  • Search Engine Optimisation – the process of enhancing the volume and quality of web traffic directed to a website or a web page using keywords most commonly searched.
  • Social Media Marketing – the process of promoting products and services using Social Media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or LinkedIn.
  • Paid Search Advertising – when companies or organisations pay search engine providers such as Google, Bing or Yahoo to pop up first on a specific search input by consumers.
  • Affiliate Marketing – the practice of an online retailer paying commissions to an external website to run ads or take up ad space on the website, in return for traffic or sales.
  • Email Marketing – works by sending a mass email to a group of people (usually mailing lists or newsletter subscribers) a promotional message that encourages website traffic or sales for example.

 

Death of TVThere are many different views on whether or not traditional media or marketing is dying or not. Those that say no are usually the bigger businesses with massive budgets that continue to plough their money into television, radio and other printed forms of advertising.

The trouble with these forms of media is that they do not appear on a person’s smartphone or tablet. With the whole world looking down these days to the lit-up screen in the palm of their hand, who’s to say they will see your billboard or poster, let alone read a newspaper or magazine? Even if they were to be interested in what you have to say, the effort of going into a physical store or having to memorise the dates and times of your event is just too much when compared to it’s ‘click and buy’ from your smartphone alternatives.

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 has pushed the consumer to digital channels

Let’s review what has been happening in each on the traditional marketing media industries in South Africa recently:

 

Print Media

In July last year (2020), as COVID-19 swept through the country and lockdowns started to roll-out over extended periods, Media24 announced the closure of many of their magazine and newspaper titles. CEO, Ishmet Davidson stated “the pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing and long-term structural decline in print media, resulting in a devastating impact on our own already fragile print media operations with significant declines in both circulation and advertising since April.” Ishmet also stated that Media24 is reshaping to further accelerate its transition to an increasingly digital world.

Magazine and newspaper titles were impacted as follows:

Magazine portfolio:

  • Move! and the Hearst portfolio (Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling, Runner’s World) have been closed.
  • DRUM was moved into a digital format only.
  • The frequency of the monthly magazines was reduced to six issues per year, and eight issues for tuis | home, SA Hunter/Jagter and Man Magnum.

Newspaper portfolio:

  • Son op Sondag and Sunday Sun have been closed.
  • The Eastern Cape edition of Son has been closed.
  • Die Volksblad and Die Burger Oos-Kaap have been moved to digital editions only.
  • Amanzimtoti Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Hillcrest Fever and Maritzburg Fever have been closed.
  • Several other titles have been consolidated into one.
  • The Witness has moved into a digital format.

 

Cinema

As we move to the big screen, we see a similar picture emerging where Cinema chains like Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro, Cine Centre as well as other independent cinemas had to close completely for lockdown against an already dwindling attendance backdrop. The lockdown also led to record highs of streaming, with Netflix for example earning around 16 million new customers over the quarantine period. People love to be entertained, and will continue to watch movies, but perhaps they have found a cheaper, more convenient way to get their fix.

 

Television

Not everyone is on Netflix or another alternative streaming channel. According to the Advertising Media Forum (AMF), time spent viewing TV during lock down almost doubled. However, ad spend declined by 27% between March and April last year. This happened as a result of advertisers’ cash flow drying up due to their supply and demand slowing down. So, with a reduction in ad spend and resulting financial strain, we may see further changes in the television broadcasting industry in months to come. According to the Daily Maverick (Jan 2021), the SABC is already struggling and is owed R57.1-million in unpaid television licences and advertising fees by government departments, municipalities and state-owned entities (SOEs): R29.2-million was owed in advertising sales, with R4.5-million owed by SOEs, R9.2-million owed by provincial departments, R13.1-million by national departments and R2.3-million by municipalities.

 

Direct Marketing

While not as a direct result of COVID-19, in January this year MyBroadband reported “The South African Post Office (SAPO) is on the brink of collapse and is facing bankruptcy despite receiving R8 billion in bailouts since 2014.” It also reported that “Notices on the doors of some SA Post Office branches now state “Closed until further notice” without a clear indication of where people can now get services from.”

This is not good news for direct marketing companies or businesses that rely on post as a channel for marketing and has forced them to move their efforts to email. Findings from Statista indicate that there are nearly four billion email users in the world. Campaign Monitor research reported that 72% of people would rather receive marketing materials from brands through their email.

 

Out Of Home (OOH)

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising was one of the worst hit by the pandemic as lockdowns sent people home, away from their offices and CBDs and prevented them from being able to commute or travel nationally and internationally. This has dramatically reduced the amount of people exposed to billboards. This channel is expected to return, but who knows when and how long it will take to return to previous revenue levels as its share of the marketing budget may have already been ‘lost’ to other digital platforms like Google display or social media ads?

 

The benefits of digital media

Social Media and digital marketing have made customer engagement and personalisation so efficient. The benefit of digital marketing from the perspective of advertisers is that it’s so much cheaper for wider reach, than the cost it would be to use a traditional platform for less reach. Other benefits listed by LeGusTry are that digital marketing offers the highest return on ad spend investment, higher exposure to new clientele and higher engagement rates.

 

benefits of digital mediaThis also evens the playing field somewhat in that smaller businesses are now able to compete with bigger corporates in the same markets. Where before, spending thousands of Rands on television and radio adverts were simply not an option.

Unlike traditional media is can be said that digital marketing uses every touch point of your daily use of the internet to reach you.

Conclusion

Marketing is an ever changing industry and marketers are constantly being pushed to new levels to improve sales and drive traffic to their products and services. With the advent of Social Media, the need for traditional marketing techniques has shown a steady decline as more and more consumers have moved away from traditional TV, radio and print media, to news and entertainment via the internet on their mobile devices.

With the unique circumstances COVID-19 is presenting, the demand for traditional advertising channels along with locked down audiences has dwindled. During this time, companies have heavily relied on Digital Marketing strategies to stay relevant and drive sales. The shift to digital does not start or end with the pandemic, but a global lockdown definitely showed the power of social media in the absence of physical movement and real-time, real-life forms of media like billboards and newspapers. The question is whether or not this trend will reverse when COVID-19 is finally a thing of the past.

Covid-19’s impact on supply networks is slowing down the fight against climate change

Solar Energy

 

covid-19Solar energy developers around the world are slowed down by a spike in the costs of materials, labour and transporting as the world economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic (read more about that here). . An Economic Times India article suggests the zero-emissions solar energy market is showing slower growth at a time when world governments are ramping up their efforts against climate change, and marks a reversal to growth after a decade of lowering prices. One of the greatest challenges to solar energy manufacturers is the soaring cost of steel, which has risen three times in the past year, not to mention the unsteady cost of transportation and the uncertainty of when materials will become available for manufacturing to continue. The pandemic has caused inflation to occur at a staggering rate and many industries are struggling to keep up.

What does this mean for climate change

An online poll by Power Technology readers showed that 54.1% believe a pandemic induced recession could hurt renewable energy development, which in turn, puts us further behind in addressing the climate crisis. With the Covid-19 outbreak hitting the global supply chain and single companies alike, renewable energy growth is expected to slow, with projects consistently being delayed or cancelled as a result. The consequence of this is globally the fight against climate change as per the Paris Agreement, will be put on hold for an extended period of time. While the pandemic has forced us to slow down, the rate of climate change has not. A Time article explains that “Every day, due to rising water levels, some part of the world must evacuate to higher ground.”

 

Climate Change

Demand for solar energy

The demand for solar energy is higher now than ever before. More countries are facing longer, hotter summers and the energy source itself can easily be distributed and rerouted into national electricity lines as Australia has already done. The booming demand for solar energy is however only as in demand as it is available and affordable. With the rising costs of solar energy materials and installations, more and more companies and individuals alike could turn it away for a longer period of time than what the earth can afford. Without renewable energy sources like solar energy, the world depends heavily on non-renewable sources like oil and coal. If we don’t act now, Octopus Energy predicts that global oil deposits will deplete by 2052 and coal and natural gasses are expected to last only until 2060 (read more here).

 

Global warming, pandemic

How the pandemic has affected global warming and in turn, slowed down supply chains

Global logistics industry leaders, EY, conducted a survey on the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and its effects on the job market. The report comes as no surprise that only 2% of companies surveyed stated they were fully prepared for the pandemic. 72% of those affected reported experiencing serious disruptions, while 17% reported significant disruptions (55% reported mostly negative effects). The graph provided by EY illustrates this finding.

Pandemic Chart

Although many employees were requested to work remotely, others – especially in factory settings – had to make new arrangements to ensure physical distancing and were required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). High-tech industries and industrial products manufacturers are investing heavily in technology to limit employee exposure to COVID-19.  Additionally, 47% of all companies reported workforce disruptions due to the pandemic. These are just a few examples of changes affecting supply chains across various sectors. Thus it’s unsurprising that more logistics companies are looking to further empower their labourers through reskilling to help the workforce readjust to the new normal the pandemic has forced the industry into. A Price Waterhouse and Cooper report from April 2020 suggests that there has been a global decline in transport activity and this in itself has forced many workers in the supply chain to be jobless for months on end due to lockdowns. However, in 2021 it is evident that the demand for at-home deliveries has increased.

Conclusion

The Covid 19 pandemic has put immense strain on the world’s resources. Solar energy production has not been spared. We are already in a race against time to reverse global warming. We must seek ways to shorten supply chains by sourcing locally available materials to create renewable energy sources that are  sustainable and more robust against something as unpredictable as a global pandemic. Who knows when the next one could hit.