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Digital Marketing Tools that are expected to be trendy in 2022

Digital Marketing - IMM Blog Image

Digital Marketing trends have continued to grow over the past year, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic. People have found different and new ways to optimise their time and entertain themselves and their families using online platforms and digital technology. The same can be said for businesses, small and big, who have had to utilise new tools to increase engagement, performance and overall value with their consumers. They have in many cases been forced to better use online strategies like Search Engine Optimisation in order to be found by customers in an increasingly competitive landscape – Google’s search results page.

Networking - IMM Blog Image

With SEO growing as a leading tactic in digital marketing, the SEO service market is looking to hit $19.5 billion by 2025 according to India West. Businesses without a SEO strategy will most definitely not be able to compete in the online world. According to this article, Google’s latest algorithm update allows marketing and business professionals to now have more control over search engine optimisation than ever before. The update also insists that businesses keep their websites up-to-date in order to promote good user experience – the better the experience, the higher the business ranks in search engine results. This on its own is a win for product or service providers that are looking to sell or market their offering online.

SEO - IMM Blog Image

But besides SEO, here’s what else is expected to be trendy in 2022!

1. Artificial Intelligence technology tools

Building and Decor South Africa reports that personalisation is a key factor in the buying decisions of 86% of e-commerce customers. Therefore, the rise of Artificial Intelligence tools being used to understand consumer trends, clicks and interests will continue to rise amongst Digital Marketers next year. To customise e-commerce experiences such as sending coupons or relevant re-engagement emails, e-commerce service providers are already using big data to predict consumers’ demographics and behavior. This information all comes from the technology embedded in AI. The bigger attraction for organisations is the ability to automate digital marketing processes.

Artificial Intelligence technology - IMM Blog Image

2. Chatbots and Digital Voice Assistants

Business 2 Community reports that due to the success of digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, more people have become excited about the idea of chatbots and digital assistants. It gives customers an experience that is personalised which in turn will build their brand loyalty. We forecast that as early as 2022, businesses of all sizes will have to integrate chatbots into their digital marketing strategy in order to increase customer engagement.

Chatbots and Digital Voice Assistants - IMM Blog Image

3. Augmented and Virtual Reality Marketing

A number of digital marketers are currently using Augmented Reality ads. The experience that Augmented Reality offers is life-like and more exciting than just scrolling through product images. As COVID-19 has forced millions of consumers to buy online, the e-Commerce space has taken off, hence more spending occurred during 2020-2021 (read more about that here). With more people now habitually shopping online, creating alternative realities, or bringing the feeling or experience of a store or brand to the consumers own hands, allows for greater reach and will revolutionise the way we shop. Digital Marketers will have to integrate forms of AVR into their strategies in the coming year.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Marketing - IMM Blog Image

Conclusion

There are many more tools that Digital Marketers are going to need to optimise in the

upcoming year. As we’ve all seen with the revolution of technology becoming more and more consumer-based over the past year, it’s becoming pressing that marketers start rolling with the tech and finding their place in strategising in the unknown. From Chatbots to Virtual Reality, both rely heavily on Artificial Intelligence, therefore making the three intrinsically linked. We’ve already seen how platforms such as TikTok have exploded over the past two years (read more about that here), we now need to think of innovative ways to integrate these tools onto these mega-platforms.

 

Trademarks and copyrights – how do they work in South Africa?

Trademarks and copyrights

Dingley Marshall Lewin, a leading Intellectual Property firm in South Africa explains that Intellectual Property protection is an integral part of insuring a business. If you are aware of what type of IP rights you own, you can address them by taking legal action.

In this case, it would be best to consult a professional. However, many business owners don’t know much about intellectual property law and how it works in South Africa?

We have broken it down for you:

Trademark Image

1. Trademark

A trademark can serve as an effective way to protect your name, logo, brand symbol, etc., so that no one else can use it. Examples are the Coca-Cola branding and Nike swoosh. Upon registration of the trademark, limited to the goods or services you sell, for example a logo, no one else may use that mark or a symbol similar to it in South Africa.

Trademark Items

CIPC (Commission for Companies and Intellectual Property) is responsible for registering South African trademarks. Trademark registrations are subject to fees for each class in which a mark is registered. If you believe someone has infringed your trademark, you can file an interdict to force them to cease doing so, order that they return the goods bearing the mark or claim damages.

 

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2. Copyright

An original piece of work can be protected with Copyright, which are exclusive rights. Among the rights provided by a copyright are the rights to reproduce, publish, broadcast, adapt and import the work.

There are several types of copyright legislation in South Africa including literature, music, broadcasts, sound recordings, artworks and computer programs which all fall under the scope of the copyright law in South Africa.

Depending on what kind of work it is, copyrights are granted for a period of between 50 and 70 years. Unlike other intellectual property rights, Copyright does not require physical registration. After meeting the requirements outlined in the Copyright Act, the creator receives this right automatically.

On the contrary, many people think you can have a copyright for a good idea. Unfortunately, there is no protection for ideas under copyright. Unless it is expressed in a tangible form such as a book or painting, a good idea is not protected.

 

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Patents

When it comes to patents, the term specifically refers to the certificate issued to the patent holder upon registration. Having a patent protects your invention from being copied, used, distributed, imported or sold without your (the patentee) permission.

The CIPC provides this registration service for a fee. Before beginning this process, you should get professional assistance from an intellectual property attorney. It is a more complicated and expensive process than registering a trademark.

Normally, patent protection lasts for a period of twenty years before it expires. If someone uses a patent without permission, the patent holder may sue them for damages by seeking an interdict and filing a lawsuit. Patent holders cannot renew a patent.

In conclusion, it is imperative that when companies, brands or individuals seek to strengthen their product or service, that they firstly be able to decipher between which form of intellectual property protection they should seek, and secondly, do so in order to protect their work.

Trademarks, copyrights and patents are the best forms of leveraging your brand’s authenticity without the possibility of infringement or duplication that can end up in you losing business to someone else.

The importance of digital marketing for business owners

Digital Marketing IMM

Did you know that in 2021, there are around 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide? This statistic indicates how the digital landscape has boomed in recent years, and it will only continue to grow as time goes on. Your business’ digital marketing strategy is your key to unlocking a path to access these potential customers.

When a new business gets started one of the most important things they need to establish is how to reach and engage with their target market most effectively. Your product may be miles ahead of that your competitors are selling, but this won’t matter if you can’t reach the right people at the right time.

We live in a world where we use search engines, like Google, to look up anything we want and get answers within seconds. The same goes for shopping, finding local restaurants, services, and more. Therefore, if your business does not have an online presence, how will prospective customers find you?

Any businesses, including small brick-and-mortar businesses, should be taking advantage of digital marketing right now. The whole world is constantly browsing for solutions to their problems. If you want to be in a position to offer them a solution, you will need to get your business and brand online.

Here are some more reasons why digital marketing is so important for businesses today:

It is cost-effective

The pandemic has taken a toll on the finances of all businesses and no company has been left unscathed. So, cost-saving has become a top priority for all. At this time, when revenue is low and cashflow is tight, you should (where possible) be turning to digital marketing campaigns which come at a fraction of the price that traditional channels would cost you.

Digital marketing is profitable because it yields a high ROI while simultaneously increasing scope and reach of the targeted audience. This is a big plus for small and new businesses, as they are often operating with limited resources. Since campaigns are much more cost-effective to run digitally, this means a greater return on investment for businesses of any size. Another benefit is that marketing strategies and campaigns can also be tweaked regularly without a significant setback in budget.

You can run multi-channel campaigns

Digital marketing uses multiple platforms, to reach and appeal to a variety of audiences through their screens using social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and mobile marketing. Businesses are able to develop a strategy that combines these platforms and tactics in a way that can better target and attract their specific audiences.

Brand Identity

It creates a brand identity

The marketing business function used to be merely about selling your product or service. Today it is much more. Marketing allows for businesses to build their brand, and a strong brand identity is of essence to any company as you have to get your brand out there so people know who you are, what you do and where to find you. Brands today shouldn’t just be selling their product, they should also be informing potential and existing customers about their business, its values and what defines them.

Utilising a strong digital marketing strategy will enable users to start recognising your brand, referring your brand to other users, and start buying from you. The sooner you begin to create stronger online brand awareness, the sooner your brand becomes recognisable, and ultimately, the more sales you will get.

Helps You Connect with Your Audience

In addition to promoting products and building a strong brand identity, digital marketing also allows businesses to develop personal relationships with their customers. Engaging with your customers directly is after all key to building long-lasting relationships.

If you look at traditional marketing media like print, television or radio, the communication is one-way. What happens in the case that your potential customers have queries or concerns? This makes for a difficult and expensive task if want to implement two-way communication.

One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is the ability it provides you with to create two-way communication between your organisation and its prospects or customers.

You provide them with a way to contact your business through whichever digital platforms and channels you choose to communicate with. If someone sees your ad/post/email and has questions, they can find your contact information and reach out to you immediately.

This helps you build a relationship with your audience. You get to know them and open the door for meaningful, real-time communication with them.

Building these relationships is as valuable to your customers as it is to your organisation. Customers today want to be valued and want to know that their business is valuable to you. They choose companies that value them as an individual.

Technology

Uses Metrics to Drive Success

Technology drives the user experience, and digital marketing not only facilitates the customer experience, but also allows us to track, monitor and analyse our conversions and engagement giving us a better understanding of our audience. The better you know your audience the easier it is to create content that speaks to them, encourages engagement and ultimately leads to conversions.

You will find that using data to identify your target audience and learn about their behaviour will save you time and money.

When using metrics, you will need to analyse the performance of your campaigns to see where there is room for improvement and whether you need to adjust your content or your strategy.

Your strongest competitors are doing it

Another reason to be focusing your marketing efforts on digital, is that all your competitors are doing it. They are already establishing themselves online and growing traffic to their site.

The beauty of digital is that it allows you to keep an eye on what your competition is doing, and how they are doing it. This will allow you to identify possible flaws in your current strategy and empowers you to perfect your strategy and be one step ahead of your competition.

Where to start?

The first step to any successful marketing plan is to develop some realistic goals and a strategy to achieve these goals.

Don’t be hesitant to test out a number of different strategies when deciding which digital marketing strategy is best for your business. Take a look at the results of each different strategy to see which methods are the most effective with your target audience, and make sure you’re getting a positive return on investment.

Some strategies can pose challenges when measuring performance, but the most important thing is to be consistent with your method of measurement. This will provide you with the most accurate insights.

How to level-up your digital marketing knowledge?

By signing up for our industry-leading social media marketing short course. This course will help you harness the power of social media, whether you’re a small business owner, a marketing manager, or an aspiring social media manager.

Through this course we aim to give you an in-depth understanding of several social media platforms, and the online marketing tools, segmentation capabilities and metrics they offer. You’ll learn how to effectively reach and communicate with your customers using social media, the importance of engagement with a brand and how-to set-up campaigns that people will be buzzing about for a long time to come.

Follow this link to learn more about this short course, or to sign up today: https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/social-media-marketing-short-course/

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.”

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.