Stellenbosch Open Day.

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Project Management Fundamentals Short Course. This short course will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects. more info.

Project Management Fundamentals Short Course. This short course will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects. more info.


While Facebook continues to dominate the social media scene for South African brands, many companies get more bang for their buck on Instagram, which also has more influencers than expected for its size.

By contrast, Twitter, which has a similar audience size, has negligible engagement compared to Instagram. However, many brands have an audience on Twitter that they do not appear to be leveraging at the moment.

These are among the findings of a study released this week by technology companies World Wide Worx and Continuon. The study analysed the social communities of 50 of South Africa’s most recognised brands.

According to the study, Facebook is the best social network for brands to reach mass markets in South Africa, but Instagram offers much better engagement. “Twitter has become a medium driven by politics and events. This means the short-form social network works best for authentic brands that are clearly differentiated, that represent social movements, are political, or are uniquely authentic,” say the researchers.

Looking at the power of social influencers, Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx notes that real influencers, rather than supposed celebrity influencers, can be harnessed and turned into advocates for brands. “They can also help recruit audiences that can be migrated out of the big social networks and into branded CRM, loyalty, ecommerce and other programmes that are owned by businesses,” he says.

The study also observes that one of the big problems for brands is that they’ve spent large sums of money building audiences on big social networks, but have no control of those audiences. “Despite the massive investments in social media, brands have no control over the algorithms or management of these platforms. And they certainly don’t own the data for the audiences that they connect with on social media – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do.”

Radio still has a strong future as a marketing medium

Like every other traditional media platform in South Africa, radio is evolving and facing a host of new challenges in an effort to remain relevant and continue to be a viable consumer channel for marketers and their agencies, says the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’, the official publication of the IMM Graduate School.

In its latest issue, the magazine reports that music downloads, Internet radio, podcasts, younger consumers without a natural affinity for radio, and listeners who are moving away from traditional racial and language groupings are all challenging the status quo of radio as we know it. Yet the consensus is that radio will remain a viable medium in the foreseeable future – albeit with programme managers, advertisers and marketers having to be on their toes to keep track of this changing landscape.

“Radio will always be an integral part of South Africa because it reflects us,” says Kgaugelo Maphai, Johannesburg Managing Director of media buying agency, The Media Shop. “While the biggest stations have audiences proportional to the ethnic group they serve, the commercial stations are starting to battle it out for the evolving consumer who is not stuck on a particular language or ethnic group.”

His colleague Gareth Grant, Business Unit Manager at The Media Shop, agrees that there’s a growing trend for certain radio stations to cut through the traditional colour lines in the audiences they’re attracting. “Content and relevance to the audience are what’s important.” he observes.

Chris Turner, CEO of LM Radio, which only officially began broadcasting in South Africa in July, is also bullish about the future of radio as a medium. “The official figures tell us that 90% of SA adults listen to radio at least once a day, so I believe there’s a continuing market,” he says.

Make savvy use of your online sales channels

Selling inventory online, whether it’s hotel room nights or electronic gadgets, is a complex process – even more so when you’re doing it via a third party, reports the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ in its latest issue.

In an article written for the magazine, Noëleen Bruton, Director of Marketing for the Tsogo Sun Group, says that it’s crucial for businesses to be extremely savvy when contracting with third parties or affiliates to sell your inventory online.

“The modern online market is a hotbed of competition, with traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers facing both opportunity and threat from various meta-data or price aggregator sites, as well as other online agents or affiliates. In the hotel industry, for example, chains and independent hotels are battling it out with online travel agencies and online tour operators for sales of their own room stock,” notes Bruton.

“The minute you have inventory online, there are those who want to sell it for you and to obviously make money out of the transaction. That in itself is not a bad thing. Because often these online companies have access to different markets or are able to compete more effectively in general online spaces than you are as a hotel group. The challenge is when they actually compete against you … with your own product.”

Bruton says that, as a result of horizontal and vertical integration, there’s been a complete shift in the sales process. Competition is coming from all angles and price-checker websites are pitting retailers against one another in a ruthless battle based on price comparisons.

“In the hospitality industry, for example, price-focused online travel agents (known as OTAs) are a reality. Brands need to find a way to cohabitate and work with them to their advantage, or lose out on sales.”

She adds that the benefit of finding common ground with these operators is especially evident when it comes to accessing new or untapped markets where an OTAs brand-name has already been established, and where it has both the marketing muscle and critical mass to secure incremental business at a reasonable commission. The site then becomes another sales arm or sales channel of your business.

Why Africa’s consuming class has potential for marketers

Rather than focusing only on Africa’s middle class when considering the potential of the continent, marketers may be well advised to look at the grouping known as the consuming class – those who spend more than US$10 per day.In an article written for the latest issue of the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’, senior Nielsen Research executive Ailsa Wingfield says that, worldwide, the consuming class represents a massive emerging market opportunity and by 2025 this segment will swell to 4,2-billion people (53% of the world’s population) and account for 50% of all global consumption spend.“Today, Africa’s consuming class is just 120-million people, or less than 10% of the continent’s population (versus 35% globally), and accounts for 31% of income and close to 40% of spend,” Wingfield writes. “However, in the near-term this figure of fewer than 10% could double as incomes in the lower middle class (US$4-10 per day) stabilise. In the longer term the consuming class could expand to 40% to include the current mass middle class, which has a fluctuating spending ability of between US$2-4 per day.”

She continues: “Further down the line, there are another 720-million people who live a subsistence life now (below US$2 per day), but who will be moving up the income – and consumer spending – ladder to become middle class and, ultimately perhaps, consuming class.
“It’s therefore clear that these growing markets represent massive potential for spending to increase exponentially and rapidly [in Africa] as political, economic and social advancement continues, and consumers’ circumstances improve.”

Retail giants get set to slug it out

Having long held sway in the top end of South Africa’s food retail market, Woolworths is finally facing a serious challenge to its dominance. It comes from none other than Shoprite’s Checkers retail brand, which has traditionally targeted sales at a lower end of the customer scale, the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ reports in its latest issue.

It is shaping up to be an absorbing battle in a market that Woolworths has dominated for many years. “We want more of their customers and to dismantle their monopoly in the premium food sector,” says a determined Shoprite CEO, Pieter Engelbrecht.

Through its massive national footprint, Checkers is targeting Woolworths’ core market sector: consumers in the upper income LSM 8-10 categories.

“Consumers in these categories are able to continue spending at the same rate, even when times are tough,” explains Engelbrecht. “A LSM 8 to 10 customer spends four times more on a shopping basket than our average customer. Increasing our share of that segment will make us more resilient.”

According to figures supplied to the magazine by Shoprite, Woolworths attracts 67,1% of LSM 8-10 segment consumers into its 327 South African food stores. Primarily through Checkers outlets, Shoprite attracts only 44,7% of the segment.

Woolworths has enjoyed incredible success since taking the decision in 2011 to significantly broaden its range of offerings to include branded products. It has seen sales of branded product sales rise from near zero to 30%, which has boosted market share significantly. “We have grown our market share every year for the past five years,” Woolworths CEO Ian Moir said at a presentation of annual results to June 2017.

Also in the latest edition of the magazine, Issue 4 2017, is a special feature on the Radio industry in South Africa and an analysis of how best to utilise Online Sales Channels.

The ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ is published by the IMM Graduate School and is read by professional marketers, business executives and IMM Graduate School students.

Strategies for targeting the African middle class

When targeting the middle class consumer in sub-Saharan Africa, marketers need to be aware of a number of key strategies, the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ reports in its latest issue.
Quoting the results of the African Lions study conducted by research company Ipsos and the Unilever Institute of the University of Cape Town, the magazine says the following are some of the approaches that marketers should follow:

Speak the Language:
African Lions believe that brands have to adapt to the local environment, and speaking the language of consumers is the first step. It is also intrinsically linked to their cultural identity and pride. The multiple languages of Africa add a complex layer when marketing to this group; but getting it right is absolutely crucial to brand acceptance.

Power of Optimism:
African Lions have a deep sense of resilience and of self, despite often trying circumstances. They are rooted in their religion, culture and community and almost universally convinced life will improve in the future. Aspirations range from average to the fantastical. Financial constraints are real, though, and the market for premium or luxury products may be proportionally smaller than richer countries. Besides the positioning implications, the optimism that is inherent to most middle class consumers can infuse advertising campaigns with an authentic African spirit.

Image is everything:
Looking good is fundamental to African Lions of both genders and across the three segments, since every encounter is an opportunity to make a sale or a useful connection. The majority visit a hairdresser at least once a month, and hair expenses are often disproportionate to the amounts spent on other grooming needs. An individual’s online presence is often carefully curated too.

Education is the key to success:
African Lions agree that education is a key enabler to success in life (although not a guarantee). Some want professional degrees such as law or engineering, and others look to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills in the never-ending hustle of their lives.

How to design and market a true luxury brand experience

Creating a top-end global luxury brand requires a very specific set of actions in order to build the desired image and consumer emotion, reports the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ in its latest issue.

The magazine quotes a study by the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Germany, which identified several key things brands need to focus on in order to design and market a true luxury experience.
ESMT says luxury brands should advocate beliefs to customers rather than simply rely on brand values. Beliefs go further; they’re more specific and, consequently, more segmenting. Unlike mass brands, luxury brands should not strive to please everyone, only those customers whose beliefs align with their own. A good example of this is Ferrari’s belief in high performance. The brand rarely advertises in mass media, but it invests significant amounts in Formula One events.

When consumers think of a true luxury brand, they’re likely to think of a whole set of visual icons, rather than one single logo. With the Chanel brand you’ll think of black and white, the number five, pearls or a little black dress. Luxury brands should actively choose their symbols and iconify them through constant repetition.

Luxury brands must pay extra special attention to the way they sell and innovate at the point of purchase. Before, it was enough for luxury brands to use brick-and-mortar stores to sell their products, but they must now aim to design controlled spaces that create brand experiences and communicate brand beliefs. BMW World in Munich is an example of a temple-like showroom, where consumers can experience the brand rather than simply buy the product.

IMM Graduate School launches new online short courses aimed at upskilling and maximizing time

South Africa, Johannesburg, 12 February 2018: The IMM Graduate School is pleased to announce the launch of a range of online short courses in Marketing & Advertising, Business Management, Supply Chain Management and General that run from eight to 15-week durations. Aimed at growing, sharpening and complementing current skillsets, these courses will commence on 1st May 2018 and students can start enrolling today.

Commenting on the launch of the courses, CEO of the IMM Graduate School, Mr Dalein van Zyl said, “We are proud of our online short courses, which are of sound academic caliber and crafted and designed by subject matter experts and thought leaders of the highest regard. We provide excellent support systems to ensure our students are well set to make the most of the programmes.”

The IMM Graduate School has a legacy of 70 years in South Africa and is a renowned provider of distance higher education; offering a comprehensive selection of programmes and qualifications in marketing, supply chain and business management. The institution enjoys a solid track record of assessing, delivering and conferring post-graduate degrees, degrees, diplomas and certificate courses. As a forward thinking institution and in keeping with international standards, the IMM Graduate School partners with top international establishments to bring industry-relevant course material and best practices to students, ensuring they are aligned to current global trends.

Read the full press release here: IMM Graduate School launches new online short courses aimed at upskilling and maximizing time