Stellenbosch Open Day.

Book your seat for Stellenbosch’s Open Day on the 30th of January 2021. RSVP before the 27th of January 2021.

Online registrations close 15 March 2021. Register now.

Stellenbosch Open Day. Book your seat for Stellenbosch’s Open Day on the 30th of January 2021. RSVP before the 27th of January 2021. RSVP now.

What is marketing and why choose it as a career?

marketing image

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word marketing? Billboards? TV ads? Flyers?

Many organisations are reluctant to invest substantial amounts of money into marketing as they often don’t understand the full host of benefits that it offers. Marketing isn’t just about promoting brand awareness. And it is much more than just selling. In fact, Marketing is one of the foundational pillars for building a successful, sustainable business.

The primary objective of marketing is to identify and satisfy, or exceed, the ever-changing needs of consumers. By looking at this broad primary objective, it is clear that the concept of marketing is related to many activities in business. Marketing in its full context refers to any activity undertaken by an organisation that has been actioned to produce goods or services as well as price, promote and distribute them to a certain target market. These marketing activities are actioned to stimulate an exchange between the organisation and its customers which in modern terms we refer to as sales. If done correctly, marketing activities should result in the organisation achieving its goals.

Marketing is an integral component of business. The purpose of marketing is to ensure that your prospective target market knows about and then purchases the products or services on offer by your organisation. Put in layman’s terms, marketing is the process of identifying consumer needs and determining how best to meet those needs. Advertising on the other hand, just like sales are one of many tactics within the marketing function that facilitate communication with potential and existing customers about the company’s products or services.

So, if you haven’t been seeing the conversion rates you’d like to, maybe the issue is that you are attempting advertising or sales as a standalone initiative and not looking at your business through a complete strategic marketing lens. In other words you may be lacking in strategy. And any promotion without a sound strategy behind it, is simply a waste of resources.

How doing a marketing course can benefit you

 

You become employablemarketing image2

Marketing skills are in serious demand, especially in the digital marketing space. This skills gap is set to widen. It is one of the few job markets that are thriving and surviving in the COVID-19 environment. Brands are highlighting marketing more than we have ever seen before. Bigger budgets, increased pay and diverse career opportunities are just a few of the benefits that marketing professionals are able to look forward to this year and in many years to come.

 

 

 

 

marketing image3

Communication skills are valuable no matter what your career path

Even if you decide to veer off into a different direction with your career, having some marketing and communication skills in your armoury is never a bad idea. One of the most important skills that businesses seek in employees is communication. The ability to communicate effectively with a potential market is a critical part of what makes any business successful. You can use the skills you develop when studying marketing in just about any business setting or career, even if it is just communicating with your colleagues to get your point across. The field of marketing communication is very broad and with the emergence of digital technology it is now more dynamic than ever and requires all business owners and managers to keep up to date with the latest developments.

 

 

 

marketing image4

You remain relevant

No matter whether you are a seasoned marketer or a doctor wanting to know how to put your practice onto the Internet, short courses are a great way to learn new skills quickly or to top up existing skills in order to remain relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

marketing image5You open up diverse career opportunities

Marketing offers a wide variety of career choices for different personality types. If you have more of an extroverted personality and enjoy working with people, possible career options include sales, retailing, brand or product management. If you are more of the analytical type, you might enjoy a career as a market research analyst or digital marketing planner rewarding.

 

 

 

 

Marketers are always in demandmarketing image6

The importance of marketing cannot be overstated, and this is only expected to increase. One of the main goals for any organisation is expanding their customer base and the power of marketing in realising this goal implies that marketers will remain high in demand for some time to come.
Marketing teams can be found in almost every industry – agencies, in-house, outsourced or freelance. There are always a wide range of jobs available in this field, especially for those who have the required qualifications and skills.

 

 

 

 

marketing image7Earning potential

Marketing is a business function that allows a lot of room for growth. By continuously improving your knowledge and application of marketing, you will be able to climb up the corporate ladder. And, depending on the company, your position and your experience, you could become a highly paid professional in no time.
What’s interesting and beneficial about the job market for marketing professionals is that there is huge competition for skilled talent regardless of industry. This means that individuals with the right skills can negotiate for great salaries but also land great benefits and perhaps even bonuses depending on their role.

 

 

A marketing course that has it all

The IMM has just updated it’s industry leading short course in The Fundamentals of Marketing. This course will set you up with a good foundation. It has been designed both for current marketing professionals who want to update their skills, and those looking for an introduction into this exciting career field. It is also suited to business owners and entrepreneurs who aim to develop their marketing knowledge so they can apply this knowledge to their own brand.

The field of marketing is exciting – it stimulates creativity and requires lateral thinking. Marketers face the challenge of constantly having to come up with creative ways to promote a brand, product or service. If this sparks your interest, look at signing up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course. This course has been developed by a team of marketing experts that have a thorough understanding of the practical marketing skills required to compete in today’s fast-paced marketing environment.

This IMM online short course covers the fundamentals of marketing management and offers a holistic view of this important field.

The course is a 12-week online short course where you will start off with Part 1: The world of marketing. In Part 1 you will learn about the basic principles of marketing, the marketing environment and competitors. Following these foundations, you will learn more about consumer behaviour, research, marketing decision making, segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Then comes Part 2, the marketing mix strategy, throughout part 2 of this course, you will be exposed to how digital technology has impacted the four P’s and how an additional four P’s have been added to address the service elements of the digital environment namely, People, Process, Physical Evidence and Partnerships. You will also learn how to drive action through a well thought out marketing plan.

An understanding of the fundamentals of marketing forms the basis for developing successful marketing strategies in any organisation. IMM’s Fundamentals of Marketing course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need to develop practical skills that are applicable in the workplace.

After mastering this course, you will have obtained extensive knowledge of the field of marketing and its operations, this knowledge will lay the foundation upon which you can further build your knowledge to graduate level by signing up for one of our marketing degrees or higher certificates.

By now, it should be clear that the marketing world is about much more than just promotion and advertising, and that it could be a riveting field to jump into, so sign up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course today and kick your marketing career off the right way!

To sign up, or for more information on our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course, or any of our other courses in marketing, visit https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/

 

Advertising during a pandemic: Brands that got it right!

Advertising during a pandemic

ALRENE COETZEE, Social Media Manager at Digital Content Lab shares a light-hearted review on how some brands broke through the noise of COVID-19 advertising by showing us the funny side of the pandemic.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Africa at the beginning of 2020, a full national lockdown began at midnight on Thursday 26 March. Many brands had to make rather big adjustments to their marketing strategies in order to reach their customers at home using digital marketing tactics.

So here we are, almost a year later, and still stuck with endless adverts from brands who seem to have gotten the same memo to bombard us with their sombre piano music and empty roads, reminding us THAT WE CANNOT BE TOGETHER, but at the same time WE ARE NEVER APART.

But just when we thought it was time to zone out of these depressing ads, something unexpected happened…

Saved by humour
Here are four brands who thankfully took a different approach and changed the game completely by appealing to our sense of humour through clever and engaging content.

Chicken Licken SA (84,713 Youtube views)

Chicken Licken SA really did their slogan “Soul Food for a Soul Nation” justice with their COVID-19 campaign video portraying South Africa’s unique sense of humour amidst the pandemic. The video includes snippets of how South Africans try to outsmart the COVID-19 rules along with the famous zol-song and the president’s struggle with his mask. They made sure to keep things on the light side.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjly7EsmUYY

King Price Insurance (3,381,998 Youtube views)

King Price Insurance had some fun with their hashtag “#UnapologeticallySouthAfrican”. Their COVID-19 campaign video opens with a woman approaching a roadblock where a police officer continues to check her temperature and asks for her permit. A funny series of misunderstandings take place pointing out the struggles we face in a light-hearted way. The traffic officer takes her temperature and tells her she is ‘very hot’ to which she responds that she is married.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M35_uhXFbmE

Nando’s SA (18,159 Youtube views)

Nando’s SA took the jolly “We wish you a Merry Christmas” carol and turned it into a funny, witty song introducing their “Say ‘tsek to 2020 Fed-up Festive Feast”. They sure made us realise that even though we have our downs, our truly South African sense of humour cannot be taken away from us.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g25anWNqwkk

Castle Lite SA (515,455 Youtube views)

Castle Lite’s intro to their #HitRefresh on 2020 played on that one phrase South Africans know all too well… “My fellow South Africans”. In their video there is a small town called Hotazel where the temperature gets, well… hot as hell. They used the COVID-19 nation address and turned it into a fun commercial, making us feel refreshed for a 2021.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlDIgsLiM8c&feature=youtu.be

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is no laughing matter, at least these brands managed to lift the spirits of the nation while promoting their brand.

Jokes aside
If you or the marketing team in your company is not geared up to drive your digital marketing strategy this year, then consider the IMM Graduate School’s Applied Digital Marketing Certificate course. In 10 months, you could be upskilled with some of the latest strategic thinking and best practice from the industry.

This course promises to be the most up to date course available as it is continuously reviewed and updated by our tutors that work in the digital marketing industry. Here’s what one of our students had to say about this course:

“Thank you so much for the ADMC course, it was really an eye opener to what I thought I already knew. This course was really what I needed to enhance my marketing qualification and added to my understanding of digital marketing.” Tokologo Mokoena (Marketing Manager – SABC – Ikwekwezi FM)

Being a digital marketer in 2021 means you need to have a wide range of skills; from technical know-how to content creation. In this practical, hands-on course we introduce you to the tools required to be a successful and efficient digital marketer. If you would like to apply for this course or would like more information, follow the link to our website https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/applied-digital-marketing-certificate/.

Don’t let a poor economy stop you from starting a business

startup Image

DILLON LOUW, Digital Content Creator at Digital Content Lab reviews what Netflix, Microsoft and Disney have in common and if its advisable to start a business in a recession.

Netflix, Microsoft and Disney and other highly successful brands were all founded in poor economic times. This goes to show that even though we find ourselves in a shrinking economy, there are feasible business opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs.

Need more evidence? The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest United States corporations by total revenue for their respective fiscal years. More than 50% of all companies on the Fortune 500 list right now were founded during a recession, or under poor economic conditions.

A closer look at great businesses born during recessions
Uber

Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick originally founded the ride-hailing company as Ubercab in March 2009. The idea itself came after they could not find a taxi ride one night in Paris.
Fast forward a few years and in December 2015, Uber had reached its 1 billionth trip and by June 2018 its 10 billionth trip.
Аѕ of Јаnuаrу 2021, the аррrохіmаtе еѕtіmаtіоn of Ubеr’ѕ net worth іѕ $100 bіllіоn. Furthermore, one of Ubеr’ѕ іnvеѕtоrѕ, Веnсhmаrk, ѕауѕ thе firm іѕ соnfіdеnt аbоut Ubеr’ѕ орtіmіѕtіс future.

Airbnb

Airbnb is a community that was born in 2008 when two hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home. The idea was initially conceptualised during the Industrial Design Conference, where the founders initially focused on providing short-term living quarters, breakfast, and business networking opportunities to persons who were unable to find a hotel during the conference.

Airbnb has since grown to 4 million hosts who have welcomed over 800 million guest arrivals to about 100,000 cities in almost every country and region across the globe.

WhatsApp

Former Yahoo! employees Jan Koum and Brian Acton created the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp in 2009 as a means for people around the world to message each other quickly. The platform rapidly gained traction in regions that do not have access to the same network capabilities as the U.S.A. because of its ability to operate via Wi-Fi.

In 2014 Facebook purchased the app, which now has more than 2 billion users globally, for a staggering $19 billion.

Netflix

Legend has it that Netflix founder Reed Hastings was motivated to start an online DVD rental by mail service after incurring a $40 fine from Blockbuster for a DVD that was returned late. Ironically, the new-born company nearly crumbled when Blockbuster made the fatal mistake of refusing to buy it out during the dot-com bubble burst of the early 2000s.

Netflix weathered the storm caused by the dot-com bubble by means of its incredible innovative spirit to spearhead the streaming on-demand video service we know today, leaving Blockbuster permanently in the dust. Today, Netflix is worth nearly $34 billion and growing, thanks to the current demand for home-based entertainment.

Three recession-proof sectors
There are three business sectors that appear to be ‘recession-proof’. While the first may seem a little morbid, especially given current times, they all make sense and are worth noting. A start-up supplying innovative solutions to these types of businesses in a recession are likely to succeed as they will benefit from derived demand in these industries. These include:

Death-care services

Businesses offering services related to death, including funerals, cremation, burial, and memorials, tend to be some of the most recession-proof operations. The reason for this is that death-care services will always have a steady stream of business regardless of economic conditions. According to Business Insider, South Africa’s funeral industry is estimated to be valued between R7.5 billion and R10 billion.

Education

South Africa’s education system is under massive pressure to upskill individuals and get them ready for the job market. South Africa is experiencing a skills shortage in several of its business sectors which emphasises the need for service providers that offer efficient, affordable and accessible adult education. The education industry has faced massive challenges as a result of COVID-19 lockdown and has had to adapt processes in order to survive. Industry Leaders like the IMM Graduate School where students have experienced no disruption to their academic year and have seen increasing interest in South Africa and the rest of the African continent for their online distance learning education offering.

Security

Despite poor economic conditions, the private security sector has also been booming of late. Private security is an estimated R45 billion industry showing a growth rate of 15% per year. There has been an alarming increase in the crime rate over the years and private security firms are taking advantage of this to expand their operations.

Services industry in the spotlight
What appears to be clear from the above examples of recession proof businesses is that each of these fulfil a basic need; the need to bury our dead, the need for education to increase our earning potential and the need to keep ourselves safe. All of these as well as the many businesses that were founded in a recession appear to have one other thing in common – they are all services businesses. And furthermore, those least impacted by COVID-19 are delivering an online service; Netflix offering low-cost entertainment from the safety of your home and WhatsApp offering low-cost communication via their platform no matter where you are.

It could therefore be concluded that businesses that start up in this current economic climate must consider offering a low cost, online service that is easy and safe to access while fulfilling one or more basic needs. If you can figure that out, perhaps you will be the next big brand that started up in the 2021 recession.

In the meantime, prepare yourself and sign up for one of IMM’s programmes in Marketing, Business or Supply Chain. Start topping up on your knowledge and skills so that when that big idea comes along, you are ready to act.

If you would like more information on what the IMM Graduate School has to offer you, follow the link to our website https://imm.ac.za/.

Top 7 marketing trends in 2021

marketing trends in 2021

Today’s marketing world travels at breakneck speed, and in order to succeed in this industry, you have to stay ahead of the game. Throughout 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw consumers shift their shopping habits from in-person to online. This shift in consumer behaviour has led to a substantial change in the way marketers reach consumers.

The pandemic has significantly impacted the way consumers search for, access, and utilise goods and services. It is important that marketers stay with the times. In this blog we review and discuss the top trends in marketing for 2021.

 

 

Inclusive marketing image

 

1. Inclusive marketing

Inclusivity has never been as significant as it is today. HubSpot (2021) defines Inclusive marketing as “campaigns that embrace diversity by including people from different backgrounds or stories that unique audiences can relate to”.

While some inclusive campaigns try to break stereotypes, others simply aim to reflect or embrace people in the real world.

In 2021, we will see more marketing campaigns that include media and subject matters that cover a variety of cultural backgrounds, religions, race, etc., as well as representation for people with physical and learning disabilities.

 

 

 

Increase in brand-to-brand collaborations2. Increase in brand-to-brand collaborations

Other successes like McDonalds’ collaboration with Travis Scott have encouraged some deep-pocketed organisations to have their marketing departments put a renewed focus on brand collaborations with celebrities in 2021.

Collaborations like this between corporate brands have proven to be largely beneficial to both parties, as these types of unexpected partnerships create a social buzz and allow for cross marketing by both brands to their customer bases which is a big advantage in today’s world where customer attention is more difficult to grab than ever.

These types of celebrity and brand collaborations often do not require celebrity endorsement fees, which is an additional advantage in an era of tightened marketing budgets.

 

Content is still king3. Content is still king

Content marketing has become the marketer’s main tool for attracting customers and boosting sales. The marketing landscape is likely to remain this way for years to come.

Today, most businesses pay for content-related ads and invest to generate unique content or publish blogs. According to the Content Marketing Institute (2021), content marketing has helped 96% of top brands in building trust and credibility with their audience.

In the current marketing sphere, content should form the core of your marketing strategy. With a vast amount of information freely available everywhere, and to everyone, most businesses already know how to attract their customers. However, what is crucial is the actions they take. The main goal should not be to just provide people with content and hope for a positive reaction. Instead, it should aim to encourage prospects to share and engage with your content.

The content you generate unlocks the key that connects your brand to your audience. This connection is important to generate trust which will lead to loyalty.

 

Video advertising4. Video advertising

n 2020 we saw an overnight obsession with TikTok amongst Millennial and Generaton Z users, video has truly taken marketing by storm. According to a study by Microsoft (2020), the average human being has an attention span of eight seconds. This makes it extremely difficult for marketers to capture the attention of their audiences.

Various other Social Media platforms also allow you to create short videos, for example, Facebook and Instagram. These videos can be anything from 10-seconds to three minutes, providing you with a sufficient amount of time to respond to questions, demo a product and more. Not only are videos informative and engaging, but they can also provide large chunks of information in a short time. Therefore, video advertising helps in demonstrating your offering in a better way than other ad formats, in turn leading to a higher conversion rate.

Furthermore, app developers have been updating their features and are focused on driving and creating customer loyalty by reducing the number of times consumers switch between various applications, especially where video is concerned. A great examples of this is Instagram’s new ‘reels’ feature. As these companies begin to promote these features, users get hooked on them, which makes it a great option for marketers to showcase their offering.

 

eCommerce will continue to boom5. eCommerce will continue to boom

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many retailers and brands have transitioned to a permanent online operation. According to Forbes.com (2020), online spending in 2020 was up 77%. Another example of this is international ecommerce giant, Amazon, who according to businessinsider.com (2020) have recorded their highest eCommerce growth in more than 3 years.

There have always been several benefits to shopping online, with the convenience of it being the biggest drawcard for consumers. In 2020, though with the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping online is not only convenient but also the safest way to do your shopping. Consumers today have become very used to this way of life, and many of them only now realise the benefits to online shopping including the excellent customer experience. This only means one thing for 2021, eCommerce will continue to boom.

 

 

Social commerce 6. Social commerce 

Similar to the popular omnichannel approach, social media marketing now offers users the opportunity to shop ‘in-app’. This in-app shopping has turned into a major trend among millennials mainly due to the convenience of it. Consumers today are becoming opposed to continue their search or purchase products when they have to switch between applications to make their payment. This is because users do not want to be disrupted, they want to engage with a brand and shop online all in one place.

It is a well-known fact that social media today is the largest and most beneficial platform for marketing online. Now, with the launch of Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping and Pinterest Shopping Ads and Catalogues, social commerce will become one of the most influential marketing and commerce trends of 2021.

According to Smart Insights (2020), 55% of online shoppers now make their purchases via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and 71% of users turn to their social media for inspiration for shopping. Therefore, it is now of essence to offer your products and services and make them ‘shoppable’ on social media. As we see more organisations make the switch to digital to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be an essential tactic if you wish to remain competitive.

 

Voice search7. Voice search

The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, revealed that out of the five searches conducted on an Android app, one is always a voice search.

Voice search is becoming so popular because it provides consumers with information at any given moment: while traveling and they do not have much free time, or when they can’t type, or even when they’re just too lazy to type. For consumers today, it is all about convenience.

Therefore, marketers need to start optimising their content for voice search. The best way to optimise content for voice search is to firstly, focus on phrases and longtail keywords. This makes sense since voice searches make use of a more natural language. The way we talk is completely different to the way we type.

Secondly it is to anticipate specific questions that are asked in a conversational tone, as people are inclined to ask their devices questions. A great example of optimising your content for voice is to start some of your paragraphs by asking questions such as why, what, where, and when.

While none of these trends are completely new to digital marketers, they are all gaining momentum and as the marketing world continues to transform in 2021, these trends will become critical to organisations that wish to remain competitive in their respective industries.

As the world continues to experience the lasting repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business world will continue to transform digitally. It is now more crucial than ever to keep your marketing strategies current and focused on the changing behaviour of your target audience.

SSC eTutorials

SSC eTutorials

The IMM Graduate School is at the forefront of online education development and in a position to digitally support students through their academic journey.  The risk of feeling isolated (which is often experienced in distance learning) is significantly reduced when you become a part of a student community.

No matter where in the world you are, our SSC eTutorials provide you with 12 weeks of live online classes in each semester, with great tutors. These tutorials are offered in the evenings and Saturday mornings, to enhance your distance learning experience.  They will help you keep pace with the learning content – which can often be a problem when you are taking the journey on your own while facing work, home, and study responsibilities.

SSC eTutorials will offer you:

  • Small online groups for personal, individual attention, where your tutors know you by name;
  • Breakaway rooms online to collaborate with other students, where you can bounce your understanding of concepts off each other, see varied perspectives on the module content, and learn from each other;
  • Immediate feedback from tutors who are experts in their field, and who have a wealth of industry experience to share with you;
  • Access to recordings of SSC eTutorials and tutor presentations, so you will not miss a class and will be able to use these tools to recap before assessments.

Join our eCommunity – a place where others will motivate you, as you motivate them.

Authentic Assessment in the Digital Learning Environment

Authentic Assessment in the Digital Learning Environment

Meaningful evaluation of student competence in online learning.

Introduction

During 2020, focus has shifted to learning and teaching in the digital environment, which up until a few months ago, was regarded as inferior education.  Then necessity became the mother of invention as those who had clung to the familiar contact modes of delivery, were forced into the online environment.  Academics were forced to apply newly acquired didactic skills to accommodate learning and teaching in the digital space.

Inevitably, with online education, came the need for online assessment. Institutions of higher learning, took traditional summative assessments online with little consideration of the suitability thereof. Taking traditional summative assessments online brought with it quite a number of challenges.

Cheating raised its ugly head and collusion among students has become rife (Ahmadi H., 2020, Larkin, C., & Mintu-Wimsatt, A. 2015, & Šprajc et.al. 2017 ). The travesty is that cheating students become ineffective graduates with questions about ethics among future business leaders being raised (Chandler et.al 2017).   For the sake of academic integrity and ensuring that assessments truly reflect how well students have mastered outcomes, the nature of assessing student competence as we have known it, needs to be reconsidered in the digital environment.

The purpose of the discussion below is to prompt thought around the relevance of current assessment practices in the online assessment environment, bearing in mind the challenges which online assessment and traditional assessment bring with it.

Traditional Summative Assessment

While the focus over the last while has been on keeping learning and teaching going during the lockdowns imposed by governments, appropriate ways of assessing student competence in the digital space, remained a lesser priority with most still focused on traditional summative assessment methods.

So, the question is whether 3-hour summative assessments are the only relevant methods in the digital environment and in the 21st century and whether they are the only way to measure competence?  Are we testing critical and creative thinking and problem solving or just making sure that students can apply theory to practical situations, which are often not real or authentic?

Authentic Assessment

How could we be assessing student competence as an alternative to traditional examinations especially in the digital learning environment and for the 21st century?

The notion of authentic assessment, which has been around for some time, as an alternative, may assist in reducing the incidences of cheating among students, encourage critical and creative thinking and problem solving and keep academic integrity as intact as possible.

Authentic assessment is not only focused on knowledge and application of theories and principles, but assesses the so-called hidden curriculum which encourages acceptable norms and values, respect for the opinions of others as well as interaction with and tolerance of all.  The following quote from Koh, Tan & Ng (2012) “In contrast to conventional paper-and-pencil tests that focus on knowledge reproduction and low-level cognitive processing skills in artificial and contrived contexts, authentic assessment tasks emphasize knowledge construction, complex thinking, elaborated communication, collaboration and problem solving in authentic contexts.”, encapsulates the focus of authentic assessment, well.  Authentic assessment addresses not only the cognitive aspects of learning but provides for a holistic assessment of student competence.

While traditional assessments assume that students have been exposed to knowledge to be tested, student-centered, authentic assessments on the other hand drive and determine the learning content.

The benefits of authentic assessments are that it allows for students to construct knowledge and creates opportunities for learning in a real world relevant context. The key to successful authentic assessments is clearly defined outcomes and rubrics as “powerful support tool to make judgments about students’ learning in several disciplines” (Gallardo (2020).

So, what could an authentic assessment look like?  Instead of a structured 3 hour paper, students could be required to complete tasks over a period of time, constructing and applying knowledge as they progress through the tasks, which may be in a real world or simulated context. Virtual reality scenarios provide simulations of real world contexts for students to apply their learning to.  Another variation is that students may be required to solve a real world problem, drawing on knowledge of several related subjects, for example, drawing on the theories of marketing and business thus integrating their knowledge of several subjects into one project.  Students may also be required to work on a common problem in groups across a digital platform, managing the roles and responsibilities within the group.  The variations in authentic assessments are endless.

The Pros and Cons of Authentic Assessment

The toss-up between the grading of authentic assessments and traditional assessments is that authentic assessments, while they encourage critical thinking, problem solving and learning about team dynamics, values and norms, are more open to subjective evaluation and more time consuming to grade because of the need to provide detailed feedback.  On the other hand, the trade-off with traditional assessments is that the latter is faster to mark, but often neglects the all important more complex higher order thinking required of graduates.

Higher education institutions have a responsibility to industry and society, to produce competent graduates with sound higher order thinking.  Are our assessment methods achieving their objectives?

Reference List

Ahmadi H., (2020). “Cheating in Education: A Focus on Plagiarism.” Turkey and Afghanistan: Eskisehir Technical University and Kabul Polytechnic University (not peer reviewed)

Alsubaie, M. A., (2015). “Hidden Curriculum as One of Current Issue of Curriculum”. Journal of Education and Practice, Vol.6, No.33, pp 125 – 128

Chandler, N., Miskolczi, P., Kiraly, G., Scuka, B., and Gering, Z., (2017) “The ethics of our future business leaders: an analysis of the perceptions of cheating in higher education,”  Hungary: Babeş-Bolyai University: Hungarian Economists’ Society from Romania and Department of Economics and business Adinisyration in Hungarian Language, vol. 20, no. 131, pp 3-27

Gallardo, K., (2020) “Competency-Based Assessment And The Use Of Performance-Based Evaluation Rubrics In Higher Education: Challenges Towards The Next Decade”,  Šiauliai: .Problems of Education in the 21st Century;  Vol. 78, Iss. 1,  (2020): 61-79.

Koh, K.H., Tan, C., & Ng, P.T., (2012). “Creating thinking schools through authentic assessment: the case in Singapore”, Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability; Dordrecht Vol. 24, Iss. 2,  (May 2012)

Larkin, C., and Mintu-Wimsatt, A., (2015). “Cheating Among Undergraduate Business Students:  Say it Ain’t So”. Las Vegas: ASBBS Annual Conference vol 22, no. 1. Pp 269 – 277

Mueller, J., (2005). “The Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Enhancing Student Learning through Online Faculty Development”. Naperville, IL,  Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Vol 1, no. 1

Šprajc, P., Urh, M., Jerebic, J., Trivan, D., Jereb, E., (2017), “Reasons for Plagiarism in Higher Education”, Slovenia : Organizacija, vol. 50, no. 1, pp 33 – 45

6 of the Most Profitable Small Businesses in South Africa

6 of the Most Profitable Small Businesses in South Africa

Zero to 100 million in only a few years: We take a look at South Africa’s start-ups that have grown from fledglings to million rand businesses.

  1. The Business of Iced Tea

Vital Stats

When Grant Rushmere first envisioned Bos Ice Tea, he did it through the lens of creating a global brand. This wasn’t going to be a small local brand that would grow organically, and maybe enter international markets in the distant future. No. This was a brand engineered for stratospheric growth, which required a ballsy optimism and willingness to go big or go home.

“From the beginning we jumped in with both feet. We approached retailers and secured contracts that we knew we wouldn’t be able to sustain down the line if we didn’t get funders on board, but it was a calculated risk that we were willing to take.”

“I had developed the idea, brand and product, but I didn’t want to be a lone ranger,” says Rushmere. “I was looking for a partner who would co-invest in the business and bring skills to the company. Richard was ideal. He loved rooibos and actually produced it, and he is excellent with contracts and HR matters. Where I think a handshake will suffice, he puts a contract in place that protects everyone’s interests. Together we had the skills this business needed.”

The Top Lesson

Gutsy moves and calculated risks aside, the success of Bos Brands is a lesson in the power of marketing. In their first year, Rushmere and Bowsher spent as much on marketing as their turnover. As their revenue has increased, they haven’t pulled back on marketing spend — they’ve grown it. Rushmere is a firm believer that you get what you pay for, and what he’s been aiming for since the inception of the brand is no-holds-barred growth.

Today Iced Tea has grown from zero to R100 million in under ten years.

  1. Say Hello to 720% Growth In 5 Years

Vital stats

  • Players: Nadir Khamissa and Shaazim Khamissa
  • Company: Hello Group (includes Hello Mobile, Hello Distribution and Hello Paisa)
  • Est: 2005
  • Seed capital: R6 million quickly turned into R30 000
  • Growth: Hello Mobile: 718% turnover growth from 2010 to 2015 ; Hello Paisa: 1100% from March to October 2015
  • Visit: hellogroup.co.za

Creative destruction. That’s the cornerstone of everything Hello Group’s founders, brothers Nadir Khamissa and Shaazim Khamissa do. It’s how they’ve disrupted international calling, telecom distribution, money transfer and low cost banking across Africa and Asia.

It hasn’t been easy. R6 million in seed capital quickly turned into R30 000 after some early – and very costly – mistakes.

But they persevered, and today Hello Group is changing lives at the base of the income pyramid, and the founders are having the time of their lives doing it.

The Top Lesson

So how are the Khamissa brothers doing it? The base of the pyramid is a huge potential market, but the economics of tapping into it are tricky. You need a price point that’s accessible for low income earners, but still turns a profit for the business. It’s all about low margins and high volumes.

The solution wasn’t immediate. It took time, a lot of hard work, and some tough lessons. Emblazoned on a wall at Hello Group’s offices is the Eric Reis quote:

“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Within as little as five years, Hello Group saw a staggering 720% growth.

  1. Sorbet’s Soars to R500 Million Success

Vital Stats

  • Player: Ian Fuhr
  • Company: Sorbet
  • Est: 2005
  • Turnover: R500 million
  • Visit: sorbet.co.za 

Sorbet receives 40 franchise applications per week. Demand is so high that new locations are the biggest challenge for the ten-year-old business. To cope with the ever-growing interest in the brand, from both consumers and prospective franchisees, new concepts have been launched, like Candi & Co, Sorbet Man, and Sorbet Dry Bars. It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago, Ian Fuhr and his business partner, Rudi Rudolph were unable to sell a single franchise.

“We call them the ‘dark days’,” says Fuhr, referring to the first four years of the business, when several attempts at franchising failed. “It forced us to continue to open company stores while we built that most elusive of traits: credibility.”

Both Fuhr and Rudolph were seasoned businessmen, and Fuhr had a number of successful businesses under his belt, most recently in retail. He certainly wasn’t new to entrepreneurship. He was new to the beauty industry though, and to franchising in particular.

“In hindsight, our slow start was the best thing that could have happened to us. It gave us time to build the credibility we needed to make the franchise model work, and to get the franchise portion of the business right.”

The Top Lesson

“Our whole focus was to create loyalty — staff loyalty to the business, and customer loyalty to the brand.

As a Sorbet employee, if you serve customers well and give excellent service, they’ll come back, and they do. There are only so many hours in a day, so what you really want is a fully-booked store.

This means everyone isn’t working to build personal relationships with clients, but rather an attachment to the brand itself, so that all stores are full, at all times.”

Today, Sorbet is a flourishing franchise with a R500 million annual turnover.

  1. YDE Business Founder Built The Business With No Cash

Vital Stats

  • Player: Paul Simon
  • Companies: YDE (1995 – 2007), Über Flavour (2014 – present)
  • Turnover: YDE had a turnover of R160 million at the time of its sale to the Truworths Group. Über Flavour is still in start-up phase.
  • Visitwww.uberflavour.com

Some of the biggest names in today’s business landscape were launched out of desperation, or simply because the founder wanted the service for themselves. Über is the product of its founders wanting to be able to get from here to there simply and cheaply, at the push of a button.

Closer to home, the founders of South Africa’s largest agency group, The Creative Counsel, were looking for anything to do that meant running their own business and not working for a boss.

And then there are those who are dragged, kicking and screaming, into business ownership. That’s the story of Paul Simon, who at the age of 21 launched Young Designers Emporium because he was scared his father was finally about to kick him out of the house once and for all.

The leanest of lean start-ups, Simon sold YDE to the Truworths Group, ten years later in 2005. The purchasing price is undisclosed, but at the time turnover was a tidy R160 million, and the business was on a nice growth curve. Not bad for a kid voted ‘least likely to succeed’ in high school.

The Top Lesson

“For a long time, I thought coming up with a good idea was the hard part. Turns out, it’s the actually building a business part that’s tough, and for me it started with finding premises.

I had no contacts, no business acumen, and no track record. I didn’t even have a PowerPoint presentation, let alone 3D imaging of what the store would look like, which was just as well anyway, since I had no idea what the store would look like. I felt like Oliver, begging with open hands: ‘Excuse me sir, may I please have some premises.’

“Everyone said no until someone said yes. Here’s the thing – you only need one person to say yes.

And sometimes, it’s just a numbers game. Ask enough people, look long enough, and eventually you’ll find what you’re looking for. We certainly did.

  1. How GetSmarter Got Successful

Vital Stats

  • Players: Sam Paddock (chief executive officer) and Rob Paddock (chief of education)
  • Company: GetSmarter
  • Launched: 2008
  • Turnover: R128 million
  • Visit: www.getsmarter.co.za

100% year-on-year growth. That’s what brothers Sam and Rob Paddock have been achieving with their online education business, GetSmarter.

They’ve tapped into a growing market and formed valuable partnerships with South Africa’s most prestigious academic institutions.

A few setbacks aside though, GetSmarter isn’t just a highly successful business, it’s been instrumental in shaping the online education landscape in South Africa. Sam and Rob might not have made all of their ideas work over the years, but their really big idea has been masterful, both in conception, and execution.

The Top Lesson

“I think it’s natural for success to lead to some arrogance, but while confidence can be channelled into taking calculated risks to build something great, hubris will often just make you fall flat on your face.

If you want to really build something amazing, focus on what you know, and do that really, really well.”

  1. Big Blue Bring The Big Bucks By Going Against The Grain

Vital Stats

  • Players: James Robertson and Philip Cronje
  • Company: Big Blue
  • Est: 1986
  • Turnover: R100 million

Big Blue is arguably South Africa’s most distinctive and unique retailer. It’s also one of the country’s largest T-shirt retailers, which is even more impressive when you consider that Philip Cronje and James Robertson have chosen to work predominantly with local designers and manufacturers instead of importing cheaper fabrics.

While helping to create jobs locally, they also remain environmentally and socially conscious, opting to use locally milled and recycled fabrics, and actively supporting craft groups like the Hillcrest Aids Project, Diepsloot Crafters and Topsi Foundation.

They’re lofty goals, but is there a strong business case for staying local as well? Cronje and Robertson firmly believe there is. The brand isn’t just different for the sake of being different. Big Blue’s list of achievements is extensive.

The Top Lesson

“Try stuff and if it works, keep on doing it; if it doesn’t, stop,” recommends Robertson.

Many studies have shown that Robertson holds very similar beliefs to most very successful entrepreneurs. They are sceptical of predictive information, which means they don’t decide upfront if an idea will work or not. Instead, they run small experiments, not risking too much, but getting some initial data to decide whether to invest more fully in a strategy or not.

Reference list

6 of the Most Profitable Small Businesses in South Africa <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/327429> [accessed 25 November 2020]

Another Brick in the Wall?

Another Brick in the Wall

Most universities have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by going online with their teaching programmes.  This is part of their response to make teaching and the completion of the academic year a priority.  Students need to achieve their qualifications and enter the economy to start working and start making a contribution almost ‘at any cost’.

The common mood amongst academics suggests that this is temporary:- there will be a vaccine coming out soon and ‘things will get back to normal’.  Universities are notorious for their stickiness when it comes to changing the way in which they do things and it would be a pity if these institutions do not realise that there is not going to be a going back to normal and that they have an opportunity now to change and make the work they do super-relevant for the time we live in.

One of the universities in Africa used by the World Bank as an example of what universities should be functioning like in our time, is situated in Kigali.  It is a university most people have never heard of and they are unlikely to know about it except if doing a specific search for it and yet they have an extraordinary accomplishment to boast of – more than 80% of their graduates are employed within 6 months of completing their qualifications.  This statistic gets even more extraordinary when we consider the fact that almost their entire cohort is drawn from refugee camps in Rwanda – students from distressed backgrounds and with the minimum schooling.

Kepler University does not do the “normal” university curriculum and their VC says that “…if you can find it on Coursera or Wikipedia, we do not see that need to teach it.”

Finding it on these open sources and eliminating the content from your curriculum would leave most universities rather thin and bare in terms of the content they present to the students. In its place Kepler teaches in a way that eliminates the silos in which content get presented at most universities and they focus on teaching soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving.  These skills are being used as the vehicles for packaging the academic content in subject fields.  This, combined with a strong focus on experiential learning, helps to set the university apart and make of it a high achieving educational institution.

Later this month, from 11 to 13 December 2020, an important summit will be taking place in South Africa.  The members of Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) will be meeting to look at the role of universities in the post-COVID phase.  This is going to be an important opportunity to read what the prevailing mood is in the leadership structures of our universities.  The stated aim of the summit is to explore, not what happened in 2020, but what the higher education format of the future will be.  The organisers are explicit about the fact that they understand that we will never be able to see our universities return to the previous, pre-COVID state and that the summit will have to produce some answers to what the changed profile of higher education institutions will look like as they emerge from 2020.

Will they be able to deliver on precepts that will fundamentally change higher education and the way in which graduates are being shaped?

Has the Pandemic Infected Marketing?

Has the Pandemic Infected Marketing Image

July 2020 – Is there a place for high-budget TV ads – the kind where crowds of hundreds clink glasses as they dance together in a small space? Or is the future of marketing looking a lot more low key?

Connection, connection, connection.

If there is anything that emerged out of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the insight that humans crave connection above all else. It’s what makes them willing to risk their health, and that of others, in their pursuit of activities and pastimes that make them feel that they are part of a greater whole. That’s why the brands that have either reflected or sought to create connection are the ones that have done well during a period that’s been exceptionally trying for brands.

Inevitably, these trials have been passed on to their marketers. According to a Marketweek survey of CMOs, 65% of marketers are expecting to see their annual marketing budgets cut, and 86% predict that their marketing goals will be that much harder to achieve.

Digital marketers, on the other hand, must be enjoying a secret smile, if the survey respondents’ belief that SEO has become more important than ever is anything to go by. Indeed, since most consumers have little option but to bond with their laptops, social media is enjoying a boom, and many brands are taking advantage of this new captive market. There’s a caveat, however: consumers don’t want to be reminded of how things were. According to Forbes.com, they’re more likely to respond to an ad that reflects our current reality, no matter how second-rate that reality is. It comes down to the principle of authenticity: we can’t pretend that life is glamourous when most of us are sitting in our tracksuits – any brand that ignores this is tone-deaf.

On the other hand, brands that point out that this is something we’re all affected by may well win. Forbes.com singles out Nike’s Covid-19 ‘Play inside, play for the world’ campaign as one which does this especially well. From a local perspective, who can forget the SA Tourism’s appeal to put the brakes on travel now, so that we can all travel later? If such a message is backed by an action to ease the collective suffering (like the offer of a payment holiday or donation to a cause), so much the better – but, again, only if it is authentic and transparent.

Since marketing budgets are a lot more slender than they were at the beginning of the year, marketers have to do a lot more with a lot less. That’s nothing new – in essence, they’ve been trying to make their spend go further and further since the recession of 2008 – but this time around, the need to create a connection is so much greater. The accent is on quality content that can add value to consumers’ lives: overseas, brands have found a way to interact with their consumers through interactive classes, videos and webinars on platforms like Zoom or IGLive, for example.

The ultimate takeout? The way we buy and spend has changed, probably forever. Of course we’ll reach a stage where consumers have greater freedom, but by then, online habits may have become entrenched. As always, marketers who have missed out on an opportunity to entrench their brands due to short-sighted cost-cutting will feel the brunt when spending returns to normal; those that have adjusted their strategies – by creating relatable, relevant content and serving it on a platform that speaks to consumers’ needs for convenience and efficiency – may hang on to their niche. It’s nothing new – we simply have better data at our disposal to help us choose where to feature that content, and how to execute it.

Image Credit:

https://images.unidays.world/i/self-serve/customer/CDkPfEJh6kmQAM2mzFI06DrW90xwN8FApKikEZYxtuY=/header/e92576d0-1c75-409f-b0eb-90c15bb5ce7e

What will happen to South Africa’s matrics?

what will happen to SA matrics

Johannesburg, September 2020 – Grade 12 is the most critical year of any learner’s academic life; the bridge between secondary and higher education, as it were. For the more than 700 000 students enrolled in matric, this final year has become far more than a challenge. With Covid-19 stalking the corridors, their futures are looking decidedly dubious.

Ten million. That’s how many African students have been scrambling for a solution to an academic year gone haywire, according to UNESCO.

Add to this the classrooms full of Grade 12 learners who were expecting to join older students on campus next year, and it’s clear that faculties around the country will be facing an enormous challenge during 2021 – but no more so than the learners who, eager to start on the path to their vocations, are left wondering how their year will proceed.

Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister, Blade Nzimande, has provided an answer of sorts, indicating that the academic year will start later than usual during 2021, giving schools time to complete their curricula.

Those institutions that have prepared students will find the disruptions take far less of a toll, on marks and emotional wellbeing alike. Going forward, the internet will play a more significant role in our learning than ever before. This isn’t, in fact, something new: according to Weforum.org, the trend was already in evidence well before the onset of the pandemic, with investment in ed-tech reaching $18.66 billion last year. These funds have helped to develop a variety of platforms, from apps to video conferencing tools, and from virtual tutoring to online learning software. Naturally, the use of these tools has grown exponentially since students were forced to stay out of their classrooms.

Students take around 40% to 60% less time to learn new concepts online, because they are able to customise their learning process to a time and pace that suits them. What’s more, Weforum.org cites research which reveals that retention of information learned online is 25-60% higher than the material which has been taught in a classroom – where retention stands at only 8-10%.

Those who were able to lay some groundwork ahead of time have successfully kept disruptions to a minimum. Students at the IMM Graduate School, for example, had a gradual learning curve consistent with skills development over the past number of years. This can be attributed to collective experience across areas of online learning that are likely to cause anxiety and understanding how to address them. For instance, a variety of communication channels between the institution and the students ensures that queries are tackled quickly, thereby helping to reduce stress. We were also able to adjust timelines very slightly so that the semester has not been disrupted.

From now on, it’s very likely that online learning will continue to be incorporated as part of a standard curriculum. The downside? Institutions which have had to adapt to online learning suddenly and abruptly may battle with the change – although, as digital natives, their students will most likely embrace it. The plus side? The next time there is a similar disruption – and there will most certainly be a next time – the education sector will be far better placed to face it.