Stellenbosch Open Day.

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

Early bird registrations close on 18 December 2020. 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.

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.

Altruism – The Holy Grail for Brands in 2020 and Beyond

Altruism Image

23 July 2020 – Altruism is not a new concept for brands. There has been much discussion about being purpose-led and ‘having heart’ at the core of a business model, but never before has this been more important than during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As far back as 2013, marketing titles were trumpeting the value of cause-related marketing. In the pandemic era, when memes and pithy internet quotes alike are calling for kindness, it could be argued that only tone-deaf organisations turn a blind eye. But what does this mean for marketers now and in the foreseeable future?

Any doubt that an altruistic image affects consumer behaviour can be dismissed with the outcomes of a study conducted in Taiwan. Authors Chun-Tuan Chang, Xing-Yu, Chu and I-Tin Tsai asked consumers if their attitudes and purchase intentions were influenced by cause-marketing campaigns, and the response was unequivocal. “When consumers perceive the company’s motives as altruistic, they form a more positive attitude toward the brand and a stronger purchase intention. Their actual purchase behaviour also reflects similar patterns,” they wrote.

Of course, theory is one thing, practice quite another. Before COVID-19 was on everyone’s lips, the second greatest disaster of 2020, the Australian bushfires, gave local companies an opportunity to express humanity with a marketing exercise that became a movement.

Most companies started with a social media post detailing a promotion which saw a percentage of sales going towards fighting the fires; yes, they got to do business – and soaring business at that, because consumers could address their needs while helping others simultaneously. But more than this, the companies emerged not only as purveyors of goods but also as national heroes. It was, as anchordigital.com.au put it, a “win-win-win” because Australia’s fire-fighting organisations got to benefit, too.

Those companies that get altruism right reap significant rewards, as the same website points out, citing Jaden Smith’s JUST Water as a great example: valued at $100 million, he’s making money while also ensuring communities have clean water, thanks to its Water Box offering.

Clearly, this is a company that has ‘good’ built into its DNA – but some companies are getting it hopelessly wrong. Usually, the mistakes they’re making are basic by being flippant, irrelevant or downright inauthentic. Of course, there are times when this tone is exactly what you want, but when you’re trying to appeal to people who are feeling vulnerable, jokes may alienate consumers rather than be seen as endearing.

Brand communication that serves best is succinct, informative and genuine. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s honest – blurring the lines, or making claims that you don’t intend to remain true to, is not likely to be forgiven or forgotten. If you’ve advised consumers that you’re donating a certain percentage of your profits, make sure you do so. So, if there’s even the slightest chance that you’re not going to be able to follow through, don’t make a claim in the first place.

Sometimes, it’s not the message that matters – it’s the medium. Naturally, there’s a hashtag for this: #StopHateForProfit. Suffice to say, if companies like Coca-Cola, Honda and Unilever are saying ‘no thanks’ to Facebook because of its policies around hate speech, there’s a good case for considering how an appearance on social media platforms might impact your brand’s image. Interestingly the criteria for considering media channels is shifting; it is becoming more and more about the brand fit (ideologies and philosophies) and not only about how effectively brands can reach their target audience.

Finally, the old adage about being able to tell a lot about people from how they treat the waiter holds true for organisations, too – although, in this case, consumers are looking at how you treat your staff. It’s all very well to promise to work towards the greater good, but if you’re retrenching, forcing pay cuts and generally not caring about your staff, it doesn’t matter how many entities are benefiting from your actions. After all, charity begins at home.

The golden rules: marketing and brand communication, like everything else, is likely to be changed through this pandemic. Those brands that seek to embody the values that we have increasingly come to cherish – like kindness – are expected to survive, so long as these are reflected within the context of existing brand essence and values. People will always remember who was in their corner during a crisis, while those that showed true colours, which turned out to be less than appealing, will feel the pinch in the pocket.

Why is it essential to include social media marketing in your marketing plan?

Why is it essential to include social media marketing in your 2020 marketing plan -FINAL for website

Scrolling through social media is the last thing most people do before they go to sleep and the first thing they do right after they wake up.

Let us have a look at some interesting average social media user stats.

  • Daily time spent on Facebook is 58 min.
  • Daily time spent on Instagram is 53 min.
  • Daily time spent on Twitter is 1 min.
  • Daily time spent on LinkedIn is less than 1 minute. (17 minutes monthly for the average user)

With people spending so much of their time in a day online the chance that your posts or ads will appear on their screens is pretty high. For example, 928.5 million people can be reached by ads on Instagram and Facebook ads reach 1.95 billion of the platform’s 2.5 billion monthly users.

The list of benefits of social media marketing is quite lengthy, but here are a few of the more important ones:

Creating brand recognition – Brand recognition is extremely important because consumers want to buy brands that they are familiar with. In this case, social media benefits over traditional marketing because you can get your brand in front of people much faster and easier.

Traffic – Social media marketing directs more real traffic to your website or blog than traditional marketing.

SEO – Although social media marketing doesn’t improve your search engine rankings directly, it does drive traffic to your website and it is proven than 58% of marketers who have been using social media for longer than a year continue to see improvement in their search engine rankings.

Low cost – Signing up or creating a social media profile is free for almost all platforms.

Customer service – Social media allows for immediate interaction and feedback. This also helps in case of negative engagement and addressing negative feedback before it gets out of hand.

Connect with your audience – Social media marketing gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience via social listening.

Data gathering – Social media marketing allows you to gather data from audience research to improve your content and mould it to fit your target audiences needs better.

With all the benefits that stand out there is one thing you should always remember: “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends” – Jeff Bezos. Weak or inappropriate ads can create a negative emotional response towards your brand in a blink of an eye and if there is any negative publicity to do with your brand on social media, it will spread like wildfire. A great example to look at is Clicks and their Tresemmé advertisement.

So how can IMM help you master this incredible channel?

IMM has an excellent, recently updated short course just for you. Our Social Media Marketing course will help you to understand and apply the power of social media, whether you are a small business owner, a marketing manager, co-ordinator or an aspiring media manager.

The overall goal of the course is to give you an in-depth understanding of several social media platforms, and the online marketing tools, segmentation capabilities and metrics they offer. In addition, you will learn about communicating with and reaching your customers via social media. Best of all, this practical course will equip you with the skills to set-up and manage your own social media accounts, helping you become a socialite extraordinaire.

Feel free to sign up for our “try before you buy” option.

For more information on our new social media marketing online short course follow the link https://www.imm.ac.za/onlineshortcourses/online-course/social-media-marketing-2020/

The trend towards shorter, specific, skills-based courses in 2020.

The trend towards shorter specific skill-based courses in 2020

The first thing people associate with university degrees and diplomas is a guarantee of financial stability, but in recent times this association has been proven insufficient. Some employers are of the opinion that short course qualifications that are recent, relevant and specific of a person’s current skills requirements are of utmost important as an addition to a qualification which if received years ago may have become outdated.

While the demand for degree, diploma and higher certificate programmes hasn’t declined, there does appear to be an increase in demand for short courses and more specifically skills based online short courses.

What exactly is a short course? It is any non-accredited course offered by higher education institutions outside their formal structured undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. So, it doesn’t lead to a qualification on the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework (HEQSF), but it is typically more practical and will certainly equip you with the workplace-relevant knowledge and skills needed to land a new job or advance your career.

People of all ages take short courses, either as a knowledge refresh, or to learn something completely new. Even people with families and steady jobs do it to improve their skills.

Why are short courses more popular and what benefits do they hold?

Lower cost- short courses are prices much lower than for examples a three-year degree or diploma from a university or college. It also usually includes all costs like course notes and seldom required a textbook.

Flexibility and convenience- with deadlines looming and an overloaded r schedule, it’s a great feeling knowing you won’t fall behind with your work, because your study time is flexible. Most short courses are online which means you can work from any location and at any time.

Fills the gap – short courses are a great way to fill the gaps in your knowledge and gives you an advantage when it comes to job promotions. Not to mention it gives you confidence to speak up and participate in meetings about topics that you previously shied away from.

Test run – short courses give you the opportunity to test a career path to see what type of skills and knowledge it requires before studying a full-time degree or changing careers altogether

Stay on top of the game – short courses are relevant, current and specific helping you to get to and remain at the forefront of your field.

Employable – It makes you more employable giving you skills that could qualify you for an entry level position.

Turn your hobbies into a career – Short courses can be a way of discovering new hobbies or turning your current hobbies into something more. Remember short courses aren’t always about serious stuff like business management or project management. For example, the IMM Graduate School offers a short course in developing your personal brand.

Information retention – Short courses help to retain information better because they make use of different techniques such as visual aids, videos, lecture videos and scripts.

Revision – Recorded lecture videos can be used as revision.

Finally, it kills boredom – When you have lots of spare time on your hands it is always be a good idea to do a short course. You will benefit greatly from any course that you do.

Popular short courses include business management, project management, marketing management and social sciences.

What does IMM bring to the table?

We are a distance learning institution with students from more than 20 different countries around the world. You can complete your masters, postgraduate, degree, diploma and higher certificate through our institution.

The important part is that we have an amazing online short course and express course programme designed for easy access and comfortable learning. You can choose to do these before signing up for one of our degree programmes, while studying or for top up skills after your graduate.

Our short course programme includes the following:

  • 16 short courses in marketing and advertising.
  • 5 short courses in supply chain and export management.
  • A general short course on personal branding.
  • And 20 one-week express courses for only R475 each.

Coming soon is a course in Project Management.

We have also developed a unique licence package option that allows businesses to buy bulk online short course packages for their staff. Choose any of our online short courses and save money.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

So, if you are aiming for that promotion, need to keep up to speed or just have some time to kill then short courses are a great way to expand your skill set. Visit our website for more information on our short and express courses https://www.imm.ac.za/onlineshortcourses/