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Journal of Strategic Marketing Newsletter – April 2020

Journal of Strategic Marketing Newsletter – April 2020


Well, who knew when we started 2020 with such oomph and optimism, shedding the trials of 2019 like a snake’s skin, that just two and a half months into the new decade, we would be confronting a global monster that has changed lives and business forever.

Marketers, faced with the unprecedented crisis coronavirus has wrought across the globe, have had to throw out existing marketing plans and respond with agility and authenticity, on multiple fronts, to the wants and needs of consumers.

And those wants and needs have changed literally overnight with one third of the world’s population living in lockdown conditions. What, then is a brand’s purpose in these times? According to data from Global Web Index, “brand purpose is everyone’s concern”.

As Chris Beer, author of ‘Coronavirus: how brands should respond to the crisis’, says, “Right now, purpose isn’t about brand health – it’s about public health.” And marketers and brands that respond appropriately “will emerge as leaders after the crisis”. Luxury brand LVMH, for example, started making hand sanitiser, a massive move away from its usual exclusive messaging.

For all the big picture thinking, the nuts and bolts matter too. One of the first major impacts of the virus was on global supply chains. Everyone is aware of the ‘pandemic pantry’, of the panicked run on hand sanitisers and loo paper and tinned foods and even alcohol as South Africans followed global behaviour patterns ahead of lockdown.

Supply chain management and procurement professional, Marzia Storpioli (MCIPS), who is a Lecturer: Supply Chain Management and Programme manager: BCom International Supply Chain Management at the IMM Graduate School, has taken a hard look at the impact in her piece, underpinned by Nielsen’s global research, ‘Supply chains have been changed, possibly forever’. Supply chains, once a concept, are now a “life-saving essential service”.

The global hunt for a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus is dependent on the collaboration or the concept of ‘open innovation’ betwen scientists and doctors around the world. The father of open innovation, Henry Chesbrough, has written a follow up to his 2003 book that looks at the challenges and successes of open innovation over the past 17 years. Our story ‘Don’t be distracted by the ‘shiny new objects’ arising from the advance of technology’ takes a look at this.

Twenty four million South Africans belong to loyalty card or rewards schemes. Justin Brown has explored loyalty marketing in his piece ‘The ins and outs of a successful rewards and loyalty programme’.

We’ve unpacked a case study on how Ads24’s groundbreaking and award-winning Food for Thought series was conceptualised and rolled out. ‘Food for thought on how to create a provocative experiential activation’ details the plan from concept and the AI-inspired invitation to implementation and drones delivering desserts. Truly amazing.

Finally, we’ve rounded up a few Strategic Snippets making waves at home and abroad.

Stay home and #staysafe.

Glenda Nevill


1 - SupplyChain-01 web

Supply chains have been changed, possibly forever

The competition is no longer between brands or even between companies; it is between supply chains (networks). Supply chains in the time of coronavirus have changed, possibly forever. MARZIA STORPIOLI reports.

Supply chain management has been likened to a philosophy, a concept rather than an essential service.

Historically, companies relied on strong brands and good products to win over the consumer. Competitive advantage was gained by the organisation based on the strength of its brands and its reputation for quality products.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its inexorable march across the globe, supply chain management is no longer being considered merely a concept, but rather a life-saving essential service used for the cohesion of all supply chains so that they may work in concert with one another in order to satiate the needs and wants of people and businesses at all times, including times of crises.

4 - Assegai CaseStudy-01 web

Robots vs Humans: A compelling story of a powerful and impactful experience

Ads24 won a bronze in the 2019 Assegai Integrated Marketing Awards for its Food for Thought experiential media campaign. In its third year, the 2019 event was themed Robots vs Humans. This is the case study on how the award-winning activation was conceptualised and rolled out.

To cut through the plethora of activations and events aimed at media agencies and advertisers, Ads24 required a single-minded reason for its existence. It was out of this that Food for Thought was conceptualised, packaged and promoted to inspire and inform targeted individuals about cutting edge developments impacting on their careers and their lives.

In Food for Thought, Ads24 created a brand and a vehicle for giving back in an impactful and memorable way, with a healthy return on effort and investment.

2 - OpenInnovation -01 web

Don’t be distracted by the ‘shiny new objects’ arising from the advance of technology

The ‘father of open innovation’, Henry Chesbrough, has just published a follow-up to his ground-breaking first book. He believes business must extend beyond the creation of new technologies, to also include their broad dissemination and deep absorption, in order to prosper from new technologies. GLENDA NEVILL reports.

‘Open innovation is a term used to promote an information age mind-set toward innovation that runs counter to the secrecy and silo mentality of traditional corporate research labs.’ ~ Wikipedia

Right now, think tanks and scientists and researchers across the globe are collaborating in the search for a coronavirus vaccine (or cure).

This is a timeous reminder, says Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Research Affiliate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Fellow of the Initiative on the Digital Economy and of the MIT Connection Science initiative, that the open innovation model is “the perfect vehicle for today’s fast-moving environment, which includes the current race for a coronavirus vaccine”.

3 - Loyalty Marketing-01 web

The ins and outs of successful rewards and loyalty programmes

Research has shown middle-income South Africans are members of at least nine loyalty plans, while membership is set to grow as smartphones penetrate more of the market. JUSTIN BROWN finds out more about what makes a rewards programme successful, and where opportunities lie.

Over 24 million South Africans are members of rewards and loyalty programmes, of which there are more than 100 in existence.

The most popular schemes are those offered by grocery, health and beauty retailers.

Steve Burnstone, CEO of Eighty20, a Cape Town-based consultancy, says his company’s research found that middle-income South Africans were members of, on average, nine loyalty plans.

Burnstone believes rewards plan memberships will rise significantly as smartphone penetration increases in South Africa.

A key consideration in South Africa is how to provide loyalty offerings to low-income consumers, he says. If a customer does not spend much, then it is hard to reward them, but Burnstone believes it is possible to reward all types of customers.

Instagram’s shoppable posts

One third of the most viewed Stories on Instagram are from businesses, and 130 million Instagram users tap on its shoppable posts. So it’s not surprising that 72% of Instagram users have bought a product off the app and that it is a popular platform for luxury shoppers. Scrolling through Instagram’s vast feed, one often sees a sponsored post with a highlighted offer to ‘learn more’ or ‘shop now’. Popular company Zaful uses this tool, as does Get Smarter in its efforts to sell online courses and modules. Then there’s the data retailers source to help them refine their social commerce strategies, so it’s no wonder shoppable posts are set to become the norm in 2020.

A fashionable response to COVID-19

Fitness brand UnderArmour is making 100 000 masks a week, nicknamed the ‘origami mask’ in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It has created an innovative surgical mask out of a single piece of fabric, turning its innovation lab in Baltimore into a factory. Gucci is making masks and medical overalls, which French luxury house LVMH is producing hydroalcoholic gel, which it will distribute free of charge to health authorities in France, from it perfume factory. Bulgari is making hand sanitiser containers rather than its beautiful perfume bottles. Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC, the two automotive brands are deploying more than 160 vehicles to organisations helping curtail the spread of coronavirus. They include the British Red Cross and the Red Cross Societies in Australia, Spain, South Africa and France.

Brands had best spurn quick bucks

Brands that raised their prices significantly during the panic-buying stage of the coronavirus pandemic will be punished by consumers later. That’s the word from Richard Shotton & Will Hanmer-Lloyd writing in Marketing Week. “Many brands are in a position to capitalise on public panic but doing so would be foolhardy. People are acutely sensitive to unfair behaviour and they’ll punish perpetrators.” Their advice? “Spurn the opportunity for a quick buck and take a long-term view.”

All about content marketing

There’s so much more to content marketing than, well, just content marketing. The AddThis Academy has listed key trends marketers should keep top of mind in 2020:

Visual Content Marketing tells provocative stories, vital in graphics or infographics. Colours are important, with 2020 having a more muted palette; design wise,2019 was more ‘Van Gogh’ while 2020 is ‘Picasso’. Bring on the abstract.

Interactive Content Marketing will embrace augmented reality and virtual reality. But it has to go beyond the social sphere, as consumers expect interactive experience in website design as well as live content and advertising.

Live Content videos have become far more popular in content marketing circles than produced video content. Plus they are cheaper and easier to produce.

Marijuana dispensaries an ‘essential service’

Ten years ago marjuana growers and sellers would be prosecuted and thrown into jail. Now they are vital members of society. Multiple states in the US, including California, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington State have declared that cannabis dispensaries are essential and must stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis sales have tripled over the past few months as people stocked up on the holy herb ahead of the new reality of lockdowns and quarantines. While dispensaries will stay open, home delivery is advised.

Creative digital interns given a Front Row seat

South Africa’s Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB SA) has launched a new initiative to create opportunities for young creative digital interns and students. Front Row will give black students, entrepreneurs and agency interns between the ages of 18 – 28 the opportunity to attend IAB events and workshops, as well as access to South Africa’s brilliant digital media and marketing minds. “Front Row aims to further increase our engagement with the future leaders of our industry while bringing in a fresh, and different, perspective to the IAB SA as a whole,” said CEO, Paula Hulley. She said the initiative aimed create valuable collaborative spaces and the opportunity to “sit at the table” with “seasoned industry leaders at the highest level”.