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Journal of Strategic Marketing Newsletter – January 2021

Journal of Strategic Marketing Newsletter – January 2021


It is 12 months since news first started coming out of Wuhan in China about a deadly virus, one that took just a few weeks to become a pandemic. It’s been a year of living dangerously, much of it in lockdown.

We have a coronavirus vaccine on the horizon, but are still in the dark in South Africa as to how it will be rolled out, and how long it will take to get the majority of our population vaccinated.

The rollout will be one of the biggest marketing, communications, supply chain and logistical campaigns ever seen in South Africa. It will be done against a backdrop of mistrust not just in the vaccine, but also of government itself.

After the personal protective equipment tender scandal of 2020, to say South Africans are suspicious of government’s motives and ability to do the right thing while ‘covidpreneurs’ are so terribly efficient at doing the wrong thing, is an understatement.

Cartoonist Zapiro’s cartoon in Daily Maverick in mid-January said it all: Tagged “The Only South Africans Who Were Ready For The Second Wave…” the drawing showed PPE ‘covidpreneurs’ riding the wave with bags of money, PPE and black market vaccines. Oh dear.

Meanwhile, health authorities and companies have a massive job ahead to persuade people to be vaccinated, educate them on why it’s so important, make sure it’s done fairly and transparently, and importantly, that the supply chain operates smoothly and efficiently and the vaccines get where they’re supposed to go.

In our first newsletter of 2021, we’ve taken a look at how the insurance sector is marketing its way out of the pandemic. Some reputations were badly damaged last year as companies battled for business interruption relief, while consumers were hit hard by the lockdown and the economy. With insurance already a grudge buy, insurers have had to live up to their brand promises and deliver.

Another business sector hard hit by the pandemic is the alcohol industry. With a third ban on booze kicking off just before new year celebrations, and government adamant its amended liquor bill will clamp down on the industry, Aware.org’s CEO, Ingrid Louw, says this could have a profound impact on alcohol marketing in the near future.

Kate Njorogi and Ndeye Diagne report on how businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa have responded to the coronavirus crisis and the impact of the subsequent uptake of digital solutions. Ecommerce is on the rise, they say, and is the top growth priority in 2021.

The IMM Graduate School is launching two progressive new supply chain qualifications this year, a hugely important step considering how supply chain management has been upended and the massive impact of technology on the discipline. For the first time in any SCM course, AI, digitalisation and blockchain technology will be introduced. Our story reveals how important these qualifications are in a world turned upside down while we navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Stay safe in 2021!


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Battlefield insurance: Marketing through the pandemic

In June 2020, as South Africa hit its first Covid-19 peak, over 220 new adverts for insurance were flighted in South Africa. In the background, companies were fighting insurance companies for business interruption claims. GLENDA NEVILL takes a look at the tough environment insurers are operating in, and how they’re marketing their way through the global pandemic.

In the first week of 2021, one of South Africa’s largest insurers finally committed to paying clients’ business interruption claims, particularly for those holding hospitality and leisure policies. Admittedly, it took a few adverse court rulings before it caved to the pressure and lost all hope of recovering its reputation.

“It is a major victory… Some would say it’s too little too late because it’s been months now of tarnished reputations and heels being dug in…” said consumer journalist, Wendy Knowler, on 702.

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Finding the true north of your 2021 brand strategy: The African edition

There’s a long road to recovery ahead, which will doubtless see brands face new challenges and opportunities in Africa, and in Kenya and Nigeria in particular. KATE NJOROGI and NDEYE DIAGNE look at how findings from Kantar’s Global Business Compass can help brands navigate the unknown.

With CMOs under increasing pressure to prove the effectiveness of the strategies they’ve put in place for the coming months, evidence-based decision-making is more essential now than ever. Kantar’s sub-Saharan Africa findings emanating from our Global Business Compass can help brands navigate the unknown with insights to contextualise, align and inform their recovery strategies in 2021 and beyond.

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One for the road: Significant business implications lie ahead for the alcohol industry and its marketing ecosystem

The advertising and marketing of alcohol is not currently subject to legislation. But the National Liquor Amendment Bill is with the dtic minister, and if it passes, could have a profound impact on the way in which the alcohol industry markets its wares, writes INGRID LOUW.

That South Africa is a nation of heavy drinkers is not disputed. The country is ranked as the sixth biggest drinking nation in the world by the World Health Organisation in terms of average alcohol consumption.

Excessive drinking poses a significant health and lifestyle risk for many, and has a concomitant negative impact on our fiscus. It also puts massive pressure on the (public and private) healthcare system. We are burdoned with high rates of irresponsible alcohol consumption behaviours and patterns, and these contribute to alcohol-related harm including FASD, binge drinking, underage drinking, drink driving and walking, and related social crimes.

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Leveraging your supply chain to ensure a burgeoning bottom line

The IMM Graduate School is adding two new SCM qualifications to its arsenal: A Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management and BCom Honours in Supply Chain Management. They will be accredited by the internationally recognised Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, a first for any SCM tertiary qualification in South Africa.

Although supply chain management (SCM) and the pivotal role that it plays in business hasn’t always been widely recognised in the past, an unprecedented 2020, with its COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that competent and proficient SCM is a significant catalyst when it comes to economic growth, both locally and internationally.

So, what is SCM and how are businesses able to embrace the ongoing learnings from last and this year and leverage their SCM to make their bottom line swell?

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Tech execs’ take on marketing 2021

Shifts in B2B marketing, verifying human engagement, stark divides in marketing budget spend, privacy regulations… these are just some of the marketing trends on tech executives’ radar for 2021. Speaking to Forbes, the execs outlined their key trends for the year. Dan Lowden, CMO for White Ops, believes marketers will “partner with specialists that can help them accurately gauge if their campaigns are targeting real humans – resulting in better customer experience, ensuring higher engagement, bringing visibility to cleaner data, improving the company’s compliance position and driving stronger ROI across marketing campaigns”. CMO of AppNeta, Amanda Bohne, reckons company culture will play a greater role in recruiting marketing talent. Speaking on the impact of remote working, she said “Top marketers will now be sought after by companies located across the country, enabling them to potentially live somewhere different or more affordable than where their current employer is located.”

A boon for marketing freelancers

Fundi.Digital has introduced a referral programme and a Slack community to drive networking, increase collaboration and grow work opportunities for marketing freelancers in South Africa. Hillel Chemel and Jonathan Mayer launched Fundi.Digital as a freelancing marketplace. “Freelancing can be isolating. It is also great to be able to bounce ideas off other people and get advice on challenges you might be facing in the big wide world of freelancing. Our clients also know that they not only get the freelancer they contract, they get a whole community behind them as well. Because nothing beats someone ‘putting in a good word’,” they said. Fundi.Digital’s community includes agencies and start-up companies needing specialist marketing skills, and South African freelancers providing data analytics, SEO, performance marketing, social strategy, marketing automation, design and content marketing expertise.

2021: The year for branded content

The Drum believes 2021 is the year branded content will come into its own. Ottavio Nava, co-founder and chief executive at We Are Social Italy and Spain, said, “With all the smartest marketers paying attention, I feel safe predicting that 2021 is going to be a memorable year for this highly creative marketing technique”. The pandemic, of course, has something to do with this. “The pandemic has forced more people than ever to consume content digitally at home, which has let brand content come into its own in recent months. This shift can be put down to the crisis accelerating a number of important on-going trends, just as much as it can be attributed to brands having access to a more captive audience,” Nava wrote.

Burger King rebrands for the first time in 20 years

From logos to fonts, colours and packaging to uniforms, Burger King has rung in a slew of design and brand changes for the first time since last century. “Design is one of the most essential tools we have for communicating who we are and what we value, and it plays a vital role in creating desire for our food and maximising guests’ experience,” said Raphael Abreu, Restaurant Brands International head of design. “We wanted to use design to get people to crave our food; its flame-grilling perfection and above all, its taste.” Burger King said the announcement signalled a commitment to digital-first expression and recent improvements to taste and food quality, through the removal of colours, flavours, and preservatives from artificial sources off menu items, as well as an ambitious pledge to environmental sustainability.