The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Marketing.
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Marketing.
$84.02 Billion US Dollars – the brand value of Coca Cola in 2020.
1.9 billion – The estimated number of Coca Cola sales per year.
94% – the percentage of the world’s population that can explain what the Coca Cola logo is associated with – joy and happiness.
So, what’s the key to Coca Cola’s longevity and resilience? Brand management!
Brand Management is a series of techniques that increases the perceived value of a product, service or brand over time. Successful brands are built on the foundation of a meaningful brand strategy that provides the framework for what a brand stands for and how it will be communicated to the marketplace. Strategic brand management involves the design and implementation of marketing programmes and activities to build, measure and manage brand equity. It also builds brand Identity which represents how the brand wants to be perceived.
“A ‘brand’ is not a thing, a product, a company or an organisation. A brand does not exist in the physical world – it is a mental construct. A brand can best be described as the sum total of all human experiences, perceptions and feelings about a particular thing, product or organisation. Brands exist in the consciousness of individuals and of the public.”
James R. Gregory, “Leveraging the Corporate Brand.
Here are five reasons why brand management is important:
Brand awareness is one of the key components of brand management. Customers won’t think of your brand when it’s time to make a purchasing decision if they don’t know who you are. This will result in them rather purchasing your competitor’s product or service.
Have you ever heard the saying “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression?” The packaging of your brand for example, is the first contact point between your brand and your customer. Brand management gives you the opportunity to keep your branding fresh and memorable, making a lasting impression on customers, throughout their journey with you.
Consumers offer their trust and loyalty with the implicit understanding that the brand will behave in certain ways and provide them utility through consistent product performance and appropriate pricing, promotion, and distribution programmes and actions. To the extent that consumers realise advantages and benefits from purchasing the brand, and if they derive satisfaction from product consumption, they are likely to continue to buy it. In certain product categories, customers perceive significant value in brands as they enable them to communicate something about themselves. In such cases brands are used as symbolic devices because of their ability to help users express something about themselves to their peer groups.
Brand management in highly competitive and in dynamic markets will only be effective if the brand itself stays close to its core values and uniqueness. It’s therefore extremely important for brands to have a consistent tone and feel in every brand touchpoint. Brand management gives you the opportunity to ensure that both the intangible and visual aspects of your brand are aligned.
A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease, because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand. According to branding author Keller, a brand is more than a product, because it can have dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products designed to satisfy the same needs.
Here’s an example of how Coca Cola has evolved over time, while maintaining a level of consistency and brand recognition.
The world has become smaller with the rapid growth of e-commerce, and more and more consumers are buying products from outside their countries. It is therefore important to look at managing brand equity in different types of market segments and to also consider international issues and global brand strategies, where relevant.
If consumers recognise a brand and have some knowledge about it, then they do not have to engage in a lot of additional thought or processing of information to make a product decision. Thus, from an economic perspective, brands allow consumers to lower the search costs for products both internally (in terms of how much they must think) and externally (in terms of how much they have to look around). Based on what they already know about the brand – its quality, product characteristics, and so forth – consumers can make assumptions and form reasonable expectations about what they may not know about the brand.
Therefore, when your brand is managed successfully you will see a definite increase in brand loyalty.
There have been various changes in marketing in recent years. The customer has changed drastically and the benefits they derive from the products sold by companies have changed. Modern marketing has had to adapt to the digitalisation of the world.
Once you have your brand, the real work begins. Maintaining your brand is a continuous task. Logos, taglines, and editorial messaging should obey brand guidelines. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram updates should express a similar brand tone and feel as brochures and mailers. The responsibility of brand management is to continuously enhance and improve the brand over time.
The shift to digital has decreased the extent of control that a brand manager has over brand meaning. With today’s many-to-many communications model the growth and proliferation of large social media platforms has ushered in an era in which dynamic and real-time conversations are taking place among consumers on a massive scale, making the control businesses have over brand message and co-creation of brand meaning limited.
As a digital age marketer or brand manager, you must consider online branding in your strategy and how you can use online channels to support your brand.
Do you want your brand to be the next Coca Cola, or even better?
The IMM Graduate School has a cutting-edge up to date 6-week Strategic Brand Management online course that is perfect if you want to become a better Brand Manager.
It contains four fast-paced modules and will help you to develop practical skills in branding and brand management.
Follow the link to sign up for our Strategic Brand Management Course today <https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/strategic-brand-management/>
The South African economy is officially in a recession and the COVID-19 pandemic has sent it into a flat spin. Many businesses have been forced to close their doors and those that are still open are looking where they can start cutting costs. Unfortunately, many make the biggest mistake of cutting costs on marketing communications first.
Marketing communication’s’ ultimate objective is to convince consumers to buy the company’s products. There are various marketing communication mix elements that a company can choose to communicate their message to selected target audiences including:
Direct marketing is about making direct contact with existing and potential customers to promote your products or services. Unlike media advertising, it enables you to target particular people with a personalised message using a variety of different methods, direct mail, email, telephone marketing, and SMS.
As with advertising, public relations seeks to inform, educate and persuade to action. But unlike advertising, which controls its messages and media through paid placement, public relations builds relationships and creates an ongoing dialogue of interaction and involvement with an organisation’s target audiences and those who influence those audiences through articles, collateral materials, newsletters and websites.
Personal selling may be the most customer-oriented promotional activity, but it requires exceptionally skilled people. Once you know what kind of salespeople you require, you need to make sure you recruit them effectively, provide appropriate training and compensate them appropriately to maximise the potential of the sales force.
Most advertising does not deliver sales quickly, since it works on the mind of the consumer. Sales promotion, however, works on the behaviour of a consumer. When consumers hear of a sale, such as two for the price of one, a free gift or the opportunity to win a prize, they typically react. The easiest way of distinguishing sales promotions from other promotional methods is that it always has an expiry date.
Sponsorship is the supporting of an event, activity or organisation by providing money or other resources that is of value to the sponsored event. This is often in return for advertising space at the event or as part of the publicity for the event. There are many kinds of sponsorship such as television and radio programme sponsorship, sports sponsorship, arts sponsorship and educational sponsorship.
Advertising is known as a paid, non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor (usually an organisation). The paid element means that every advertisement, whether it be read in a newspaper and magazine, heard on the radio or seen on television or the internet, has an organisation that is paying for it. The non-personal part of the definition talks about how advertisements usually make use of the mass media (e.g., TV, radio, newspapers, magazines) in order to convey the message to a large target audience, often making use of several media options at the same time.
The Internet is considered to be the most consumer-friendly advertising medium because it allows the audience to control their interaction with the advertising message. The most popular formats of Internet advertising include:
Search engine advertising – A method of placing online advertisements on Web pages that show results from search engine queries.
Banner advertisements – An image that can be placed just about anywhere on a Web page containing text, images, or animations.
Pop-up advertisements – A form of Internet advertising in which advertisements appear in a separate window that materialises on the screen while a selected Web page is loading.
Video advertisements – Audio-visual advertisements that are compressed into manageable file sizes and range in length from 15 seconds to several minutes.
Blogs – Digital communities on the Internet where like-minded individuals exchange their views on issues of personal relevance.
Social media – Web-based and mobile technology used to turn communication into interactive dialogue. The overall idea is to integrate technology and social interactions to create value for users.
Affiliate networks – These are sites that maintain links for other organisations in order to receive a potential fee for generating traffic.
Keyword advertising – This occurs when advertisers pay internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing to add their advertisements in or near relevant search terms, based on keywords.
During the 1973-1975 recession Toyota resisted the temptation to cut down on its marketing budget. By 1976 the company became the top imported carmaker in the U.S..
Lego decided to expand into a global market during the 2008 economic crisis in the U.S. and now the company operates in 30 countries and has 50 companies worldwide. Its main business is the manufacturing, development, marketing, and distribution of the LEGO toy system. An estimated 300 million children have played with LEGO bricks.
The Great Depression in the 1920s led to the reduction in marketing of the leading cereal brand Post. In the meantime, their biggest rival Kellogg’s doubled its advertising spending, leading to their profit skyrocketing by 30%. Even now, a century later they are still the category leader.
When McDonald’s decided to reduce its marketing spend during the 1990-1991 recession, Pizza Hut took advantage of their reduced presence and focused their efforts to retain their own respective marketing activities.
McDonalds’ sales declined by 28% while Pizza Hut had a sales increase of 61%.
Amazon used the 2009 recession as an opportunity to introduce a new product called The Kindle. As a result, Amazon customers bought more e-books than printed books on Christmas Day 2009.
During the last recession Samsung decided to maintain marketing investment and focus on rebranding itself as an innovative company. In the beginning of the economic downfall Samsung ranked No. 21 in brand value but quickly moved to No.6 as a result of its marketing efforts.
Cutting on marketing costs during an economic downturn is not the way to go. During a recession marketing matters more than ever. Instead of cancelling traditional and digital marketing campaigns, businesses would benefit from ramping them up instead. COVID-19 and the related economic downturn is your opportunity to shine!
Upskill yourself with one of IMM Graduate School’s many marketing and advertising short courses. These courses are perfect for students looking to enter the world of marketing as well as those who already have a job in marketing but need to fill out their marketing skill set and stay on top of this ever-changing industry. If marketing is your choice as a career, you should never stop learning. Visit the link to find the perfect marketing short course for you: https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/
Sub-Saharan Africa has not experienced as many Covid-19 cases as other regions. But there has been a significant impact on day-to-day livelihoods, with varying degrees of restrictions across countries. Internal and external trade and tourism almost come to a standstill for vast stretches of time.
In turn, this economic downturn has had ripple effects on many businesses and individuals’ financial situations. A report by GeoPoll in July 2020 found that 76% of people across six countries in sub-Saharan Africa had lost income due to Covid-19, primarily influenced by the large percentage of the population who operate in the informal economy.
As a follow up to GeoPoll’s earlier reports on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, we conducted the GeoPoll year-end survey evaluating the year that has been and the outlook for 2021.
The economic impact of Covid-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa
When asked about the coronavirus pandemic’s biggest challenges, finances stood out as the overwhelming challenge (55%), with ‘staying home’ trailing at 23% as the second biggest challenge. This finding could be tied directly to findings surrounding income changes since June, as 79% stated that their income had decreased since then.
This percentage is even higher than the 76% who reported income decreases in our previous study. In addition, 65% state that they are more concerned with paying their expenses now than in June 2020, when 71% were already more concerned with paying expenses than pre-Covid.
These findings demonstrate that even though restrictions have been loosened in all six countries studied, the pandemic’s economic impacts continue to be felt and, for many, have worsened over time. While all countries reported high levels of income decrease, Kenya had the highest percentage of respondents who said their income had decreased a lot compared to June 2020, at 64%.
Changes to consumer habits
Given the decreases in income observed, it is not surprising that we also observe changes in spending patterns, with consumers focusing more on essential items than non-essentials. In addition, one of the effects of the pandemic has been a scarcity of products due to disruptions in supply chains, which has resulted in rising prices of various commodities.
These factors could be some of the reasons most respondents (60%) in the GeoPoll study reported spending more in 2020 compared to 2019 on essential items such as food, while just 23% are spending less.
The report also shows a large shift away from non-essentials, with 59% saying they are spending less on clothes and beauty products than last year.
In contrast with several other countries where online shopping has increased during the pandemic, it has dropped in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 60% report that they shopped online less frequently than in 2019, which could be related to the overall decrease in purchasing of non-essential items.
Compared to 2019, 45% reported they were using mobile money less frequently, while 21% said they were using mobile money at about the same rate and 35% were using it more regularly.
It must be noted that, as with other findings in this summary, some of the considerations vary from country to country. For example, while online shopping decreased overall, a higher number of respondents in Kenya and South Africa reported shopping online more frequently, and over half (51%) of those in Kenya are using mobile money more than the previous year, while 42% in Mozambique reported increasing their mobile money usage.
2020 holiday spending
Consumer spending is also experiencing changes. McKinsey’s study in South Africa found ongoing reductions in discretionary spending and that 88% of households expected to spend the same or less on holidays compared to 2019.
Countries like Kenya have curfews and restrictions on meeting numbers and the hospitality sector. Studies have found that citizens plan to spend less on holidays.
GeoPoll’s research found similar results, with 40% overall stating that they would spend much less than in 2019, and 28% stating they would spend a bit less. Just under a quarter of respondents reported spending more on the holidays in 2019, indicating that retailers should expect a decrease in holiday spending in 2020.
Economic predictions for 2021
GeoPoll also examined the outlook for 2021, in particular the length of time Covid-19 is likely to impact on consumers. Almost half (45%) think economic effects would last at least for a further six months, and 27% that the economic impacts would stretch out for over a year.
Despite this, there are encouraging signs when it comes to financial concerns. A significant majority (65%) believe their finances will improve during 2021and only 17% think their money situation will worsen, while 51% believe their country’s economy will improve in comparison to 26% who believe it will worsen.
Even though restrictions have been loosened in all six countries studied, the economic impact of the pandemic continue to be felt and for many have worsened over time – GeoPoll
Frankline Mwenda Kibuacha is the Digital Marketing and Outreach Manager at GeoPoll in Kenya. Formerly an accountant, he fell in love with the internet and the power it wields. He has over six years experience in digital marketing, e-commerce, and public relations, in a multi-national environment.
Email engagement rates in 2020 were higher than they have been in six years. And new functionality and data analysis tools have strengthened email as a marketing and customer communication channel. Brands can now be far more strategic and personalised thanks to having a better understanding of what the end-user likes and wants, writes KARYN STRYBOS.
Even though many businesses might have been tempted to focus primarily on social media activities, the reality is that this, along with public relations and email, must form part of an integrated campaign to be truly effective.
While social media and PR are used to great effect for creating awareness, email can nurture the relationship to conversion and retaining customers thereafter.
Email has certainly become more dynamic than what was technically possible in the past. Now, interactive visual elements can be introduced to make this communication platform stand out. For example, the introduction of product blocks that include pricing and click-through directly to the site brings the online shopping experience directly to the customer’s inbox.
Advances in automation have also greatly benefitted email. Communications can now be delivered via automated journeys that adapt based on the users’ engagement and behaviour to save on time and resources while providing a seamless and much more personalised experience – at scale.
More organisations are becoming comfortable with this way of working as it frees up their specialists to focus on strategy and the actual content that goes into each message. For instance, when it comes to online shopping, automated emails such as abandoned cart, order notifications, and loyalty reward reminders can help to keep a brand top of mind while enticing the shopper to either complete a purchase or to purchase more.
Here are some of the other major elements impacting email marketing at the moment:
Trends from the Covid-19 pandemic show a rise in marketers getting involved in communications after the sale with email playing a vital part in this. Furthermore, the importance of email in a distributed work environment cannot be ignored. Pre-onboarding, onboarding, and exit journeys can be set up to ensure that the company keeps two-way lines of communication open with staff. This is essentially when employees are not coming into the office as often as they used to.
Fundamentally, email meets people on their terms when they are ready to engage. With the rise of personalised content, and more effective use of data and automation, brands can share highly relevant content targeted to the right person at the right time.
Compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is set for 1 July 2021. This means companies are under pressure to ensure all the relevant data protection boxes, among others, have been ticked.
However, POPIA will not put marketers out of jobs or kill marketing initiatives. Instead, it could result in improved return on investment as databases will contain people who are genuinely interested in engaging with a brand. Yes, lead lists may be smaller, but the quality of those contacts will be better.
Of course, marketers must educate themselves around the law and conduct a proper risk assessment of the activities they are considering. Now is not the time to rush things, but rather get compliance right or risk facing significant financial fines and other penalties.
Email engagement rates last year were higher than they have been in six years. They are now sitting at averages of a 3.51% click-through rate and a 15.23% click-to-open-rate. Unsubscribes reduced by 14% and complaints by 67% when looking at the overall average.
Hardly surprising, but the pandemic saw desktop use dropping substantially while mobile and Web have become more popular options. This accentuated the already existing trend away from desktop computers while also illustrating how flexible email is as a medium with responsive layouts that can tailor the content for any device size.
A new (email) world
By now, companies must realise that email is not just about newsletters but communication in general. It therefore must form part of the overarching strategy on what the business is trying to achieve. Understanding the needs of existing (and potential) customers and crafting content that is both interesting and valuable is key. Email helps the organisation reach its audience on their terms when they choose to engage as opposed to forcing them when they are trying to relax or disengage with the real world.
It is clear that the marketing environment has changed not only because of the pandemic but also due to evolving technology. This is resulting in several key trends to take note of that will likely shape email communications in the months to come.
Marketers will spend more time than before helping to upsell and retain customers. As mentioned, POPIA will have a positive effect on email and engagement. Email automation will strengthen with brands seeing significant value in integrating their existing systems into their communication platform for an even more personalised approach. This can result in higher retention rates, increase in sales productivity, and more conversions.
By using email journeys that respond to customer behaviours, a company can set itself apart from its competitors. And in these challenging economic conditions, this becomes a critical business advantage.
Trends from the Covid-19 pandemic show a rise in marketers getting involved in communications after the sale with email playing a vital part in this.
By using email journeys that respond to customer behaviours, a company can set itself apart from its competitors. And in these challenging economic conditions, this becomes a critical business advantage.
Karyn Strybos is Marketing Manager at Everlytic. She is a passionate marketer who thrives in an innovative, creative, and forward-thinking environment.
Cyber-threats are increasing with the transformation of digital life in the wake of the pandemic. A risk-based approach is needed to safeguard the software and systems that underlie digital supply chains. The procurement process, third-party agreements and source code are areas of concern, write GEORGES DE MOURA and CHRISTOPHE BLASSIAU.
The ongoing digital transformation has opened up a whole new way of living and working. As deeper performance insights and new levels of connectivity allow businesses to reap the benefits of breakthrough technologies, the world is becoming faster, more flexible and more efficient.
This shift is creating a global ecosystem where physical and digital things are increasingly connected, from critical infrastructure assets to people and data.
A study by Gartner finds that in 2019, 60% of organisations worked with more than 1 000 third parties, and those networks are only expected to grow. Other research by Deloitte shows that 40% of manufacturers had their operations affected by a cyber-incident during 2019. And in 2018, the average financial impact of a data breach in the manufacturing industry was $7.5 million.
Moreover, global technology supply chains are increasingly diverse and complex, resulting in changes in the overall risk for critical systems that support national defence, vital emergency services and critical infrastructure.
In December 2020, a global cyber-intrusion campaign was uncovered by a leading cybersecurity firm that compromised first the source code and then subsequently updates to SolarWinds’ Orion Platform, a widely deployed IT management software product. The corrupted update was downloaded by thousands of SolarWinds customers and spanned US government agencies, critical infrastructure entities and private-sector organisations. Though this cyber-attack may be unprecedented in scale and sophistication, it is consistent with a number of persistent trends in using supply chain vectors.
This incident further reinforced the threat to global digital supply chains and the strategic imperative for public and private sector stakeholders to ensure trust in the digital ecosystem. It is critical that the software that drives the digital ecosystem is both trusted and secured. By reducing the risks and protecting the digital economy, our society will be able to realise the digital dividends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The following core principles will contribute to a more secure and resilient supply chain and help move the needle on mitigating this complex and multifaceted challenge:
1. Embed security and privacy in the procurement process and life cycle
Having a mature third-party risk-management policy and practice will ensure cybersecurity and privacy are constantly considered and addressed with mature, consistent, repeatable and effective measures. These three precepts will embed them in every phase of the life cycle:
Cybersecurity and privacy are built-in requirements of the procurement processes from sourcing to off-boarding
All procurement contracts shall stipulate and contain clear and precise clauses that enforce continual compliance with cybersecurity and privacy requirements.
Security and privacy obligations shall be continuously reviewed and optimised to keep up with the evolving threats.
2. Take a risk-based approach in assessments of third parties
A risk-based approach will help guide the third-party acceptance/rejection decision-making process, and helps efficiently and accurately mitigate cybersecurity threats third parties pose to the broader ecosystem.
A risk-based approach improves the assessment of third parties’ security posture. By applying risk measurement and ratings tools and other trusted methodologies, organisations can better identify and rank third-party relationships by risk criticality.
It ensures an accurate appreciation of risk, helps establish the measures third parties must take to mitigate their risks before entering an agreement with an entity and enable regular and/or continuous security performance monitoring.
It contributes to a collaborative and valuable outcome for an organisation and its broader ecosystem.
It helps tailor mitigation plans and scale efforts and resources that ensure trustworthy, secure, privacy-protective and resilient products, systems and services. But it also helps third parties better understand gaps in their own security posture and, ultimately, demonstrate their cybersecurity maturity to their customers and stakeholders.
3. Implement a source code policy and secure-by-design development
Such a policy aims to reduce the risks around the development, management and distribution of software and software source code, which must go beyond defending intellectual property and address customer impact. It will help protect and strengthen trust in the digital ecosystem so businesses, governments and individuals can all have trust in, contribute to and benefit from the digital economy.
The policy should apply to all source code written by or on behalf of an organisation and must ensure that any source code is not tampered with, does not contain any known unmitigated security vulnerabilities and contains a licence that is compatible with the company’s other policies. It also prevents source code from being dynamically linked to third-party hosted source repositories. When third-party code is used as part of a software/firmware solution, the organisation is responsible for change management as part of a secure development process.
The policy also controls and governs all aspects of how the source code is stored and transmitted, including, but not limited to authorization and access, residency, protection at rest and protection in transit.
Ensuring compliance to this policy will help reduce the threat of source code leakage, improves secure access and enables the traceability of any third-party code. Additionally, source-code development must include security and privacy in the design phase, and evidence of threat modelling must be documented.
The policy should be based on widely recognised frameworks such as the NIST framework to establish secure-by-design development practices, covering four areas:
1. Ensure that the organisation’s people, processes and technology are prepared to perform secure software development at the organisation level and, in some cases, for each individual project.
2. Protect all components of the product from tampering and unauthorised access
3. Produce well-secured products that have minimal security vulnerabilities in its releases.
4. Identify vulnerabilities in product releases and respond appropriately to address them and prevent similar vulnerabilities from occurring in the future.
By regularly assessing the security posture of third parties, from early sourcing stages, to security due diligence and periodically throughout the duration of a collaborative relationship, an organisation will be able to maintain trust with its customers and business partners across the supply and value chains.
A common understanding and approach to existing and emerging threats will enable industry and government actors to implement appropriate countermeasures to mitigate supply chain security risks. In the fallout of the SolarWinds incident, it is crucial all stakeholders in the supply and value chains embrace a risk-informed cybersecurity approach to ensure a secure and resilient ecosystem.
The IMM Graduate School, one of Africa’s foremost online education providers specialising in marketing, supply chain and business disciplines, has added two new supply chain management qualifications to its arsenal: A Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management and BCom Honours in Supply Chain Management. For more information, click here.
Global technology supply chains are increasingly diverse and complex, resulting in changes in the overall risk for critical systems that support national defence, vital emergency services and critical infrastructure.
By reducing the risks and protecting the digital economy, our society will be able to realise the digital dividends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
©Republished with permission from the World Economic Forum in accordance with the International Public License.
Georges de Moura is Head of Industry Solutions, Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust at the World Economic Forum.
Christophe Blassiau is Senior Vice-President, Cybersecurity and Global CISO, at. Schneider-Electric.
That there are issues around transporting the Covid-19 vaccines around Africa is in no doubt. A lack of infrastructure, remote rural locations, the need for cold chain storage and under-developed supply chains will present challenges. But, says NACHI MENDELOW, if Africa gets this right, it will set the continent upon on a new and more efficient economic path.
Benjamin Kagina, Senior Research Officer for the Vaccines For Africa Initiative housed in UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, put it in a nutshell when he recently told The Conversation, “Most low-income countries do not have the necessary cold chain infrastructure for storing and distributing this vaccine. Vaccines that require standard refrigeration conditions, like many of those used in existing immunisation programmes in these countries, would be easiest to deliver. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is one.”
Of course, it’s now common knowledge that South Africa’s delivery of one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was declared null and void after scientists said it would be less effective on the South African variant of Covid-19. The country then offered its stash to the African Union for distribution to other countries on the continent.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now being used in South Africa. It had been trialed in Africa. “If the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, it will be the easiest to distribute as it requires the standard refrigeration. And more importantly, it requires just one dose, which is logistically easier to deliver,” said Kagina.
The importance of delivering the all important vaccines across Africa – from the biggest cities to the smallest rural outposts – safely, at the right temperatures, to the right storage facilities and then distributing them to millions upon millions of people cannot be underestimated.
But it’s not just the physical logistics of distributing the vaccine that are vital. It’s the digital supply chain too. We don’t just move goods anymore. We move information. And what I mean by that is bookings are made on airlines and shipping lines, ports, ground handlers, container yards, road carriers, cold store facilities, and more.
The information is needed to ensure the goods flow seamlessly. A good digital supply chain means everyone knows what to do. Everyone is co-ordinated, and there is visibility, transparency and reporting, which is especially important with something like a vaccine, something that requires cold chain and has to be maintained within specific temperature ranges.
As a global provider of software systems that improve the world’s supply chains, we work to replace ageing, legacy, proprietary and domestic systems with efficient, highly automated and integrated global capabilities, and we’re fortunate in many ways to see a lot of what’s going on in terms of the supply chain and the topic of supply chains and vaccines in Africa.
It’s is something we [South Africa and Africa] simply have to get it right, because I don’t know about you, but I really want to have that jab. But I also want to have the vaccine with confidence, and with the knowledge that there was an unbroken chain from point of origin to point of usage, and that it has not been violated or broken in any way.
No single set of rules for Africa’s supply chains
But of course there are challenges, as each country in Africa is different, and has different infrastructure. There’s no single set of rules for this particular supply chain.
I believe South Africa has an important role to play on the continent. We’ve done some incredible things. What a lot of people don’t realise is that we delivered the largest free drug rollout in the world and are specialists in getting our HIV/Aids vaccines into rural areas. We have good supply chains.
South Africa can play at a bigger level than just in South Africa, because this is a global challenge and we all have to step up to it. And South Africa can do a lot, at least for Sub-Saharan Africa. We can also be an example, not just to Africa, but also to the world, in terms of pulling together and not being divisive.
To get this right, and to create strategic, inclusive and sustainable supply chains, there needs to be very serious focus and collaboration. Something like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which is being signed by pretty much the whole of Africa, could work in terms of collaborating and improving trade.
My concern, however, is that as we start moving across our borders, and as we start moving into landlocked countries, this means the goods (vaccines) may have to land at other ports and move across land and borders.
Then you need governments to co-operate because if we have delays at the borders, the vaccines will be affected. And then there’s the electricity issue because the vaccines have to be refrigerated, and refrigerated vehicles need electricity. Then we move into language barriers because now we are talking about Africa with 54 countries, with numerous borders and customs authorities, myriads of languages … what we are talking about is a very interlinked, challenging problem, which we need to get right.
To do so, an interesting combination is required combining everything from hardware – because there are devices required to measure temperatures and provide tracking – to software, because the device needs some software to manage the processes. Then politics and economics are involved, as governments must work together to ensure the smooth flow of goods. Then there are things like communication and internet access, because how is that piece of information going to be shared with the world? Finally, it comes down to people because people obviously have to be trained to achieve these things.
Developing a supply chain legacy
All this means we have to create a supply chain that can deliver what I’ve just mentioned across Africa. If we rise to this challenge right now, the legacy that we leave behind will be a cold chain that stretches across Africa, and reaches all rural areas. This then would be used beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, and could be used for delivering of food, products, aid or medicines.
So, like the rest of the world, Africa has to improve its digital supply chains. Some of the work we’re doing is integrating with a number of customs offices across Africa. Being able to use a single system to communicate with the local customs engine is vital for the smooth flow of goods – and vaccines.
Asycuda is a customs engine, developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the World Customs Organisation (WSO) and the United Nations. And it’s used by 90+ developing countries, territories and regions around the world so as to ensure those countries have an electronic customs clearance system. That’s powerful.
In order to have a really good informational supply chain, you have to have really good sharing of information across that supply chain, with everyone either using the same system or at least sharing information back into one system so that we have digital visibility… that’s really what we’re trying to achieve. It’s definitely an interesting time for supply chain management.
To me, this could be an incredibly exciting story about how we all came together to transform the world, as we know it, for the better. These are challenges that are holding back many developing countries and by resolving them, this could improve the quality of life of their citizens.
I’m deeply passionate about Africa. I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to visit 12 or so different African countries and to really see what’s going on. Something that really upsets me is that the poorest countries in the world pay the highest prices for goods and services. And a lot of that is because the supply chain is so bad across Africa.
Improving African supply chains in terms of flow of goods AND improved digitalisation would be a pillar upon which we could create jobs and improve life for our people and our continent.
Nachi Mendelow is the Vice President of Business Development (Africa) at. WiseTech Global. He has an MBA and BA in Psychology. For the last 10 years, he has personally been involved in building and managing teams assisting companies to collaborate using technology in one of the most diverse regions of the globe. Mendelow is responsible for navigating some of the major institutional voids prevalent in Africa, ranging from electricity supply to internet connectivity, and has seen that collaboration is the key to overcoming such gaps.
The recent banning of a Windhoek beer ad featuring movie action man Gerard Butler inspired many a conversation. Some say it was harmless, just men in a bar being men. Others believe it was darker, and a fine example of toxic masculinity at play. GLENDA NEVILL asks the Advertising Regulatory Body and advertising agencies whether political correctness is taking the creativity and humour out of advertising.
The banning of the Windhoek beer ad by the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) resulted in “unprecedented” and “vitriolic” attacks on Twitter. This is true of other ads deemed racist, sexist, ageist or any other frequently offensive ‘ist’. It is also true that many ad campaigns are guilty of gender stereotyping, and that the advertising industry has time and again promised to address this ongoing issue.
“In every single industry event that I have attended in the last three years, there has been at least one speaker talking about challenging gender stereotyping in advertising, and how we need to be pro-active and forward thinking and push the boundaries,” says Gail Schimmel, CEO of the ARB. “But actually, when a decision is made that does exactly that, the industry seems to have forgotten all those heated promises that they made.”
The complaint about Windhoek read: “The advertisement featuring Gérard Butler is offensive. It belittles a man for requesting a lime slice with his beer. While this may seem funny to many, an equal or larger number of people enjoy citrus with their beer or cider – popularly linked with women having a lime or lemon slice with their cider. I understand the message that Windhoek beer is complete on its own; however, shaming or belittling people for their personal preferences is not okay. Rather try attract all customers instead of being stupidly restrictive and offending a whole range of potential customers. At least no-one gets a celebrity to insult my Heineken or Savannah with lemon or lime slice….”
In its ruling, the ARB focused on aspects of the ad the complainant did not mention, and that is gender stereotyping. She mentioned ‘belittling’ the man for his decision to ask for lemon/lime. But the ARB took it further in its ruling… is this not over-reach on the part of the ARB? It is the entrenchment of the role of men as having to behave in a certain way with which the Directorate takes issue. It is also the entrenchment of male behaviour that is bullying, and what has come to be labelled as ‘toxic masculinity’. The advertisement, rather than drawing attention to the purity of the taste of their product, paints a clear picture of an aspect of the target market; and that market is a stereotyped macho man who buckles to the pressure of his peers in order to fit in. This breaches the provisions of Clause 3.5 of Section II as read with the definitions.
“I do not believe that we over-reached the complaint,” Schimmel says. “This is an issue that the advertiser could raise on appeal if they believe it to be the case… Windhoek is now being appealed. It will be very interesting to see what happens. But the appeals exist to test the decisions.”
On the topic of stifling creativity, Schimmel says the ARB is “not playing to the tune of the overly woke”.
“But,” she adds, “there is a line between ‘woke’ and ‘overly woke’; and sometimes there are issues that we are all accepting but that aren’t, actually, okay… It’s the same thing that happens every time we see an ad with the woman washing the dishes while the man watches TV with his feet up. Nobody’s going to complain – but we’re teaching our kids something profoundly disturbing.”
Schimmel says regulator’s directorate always finds themselves in a no-win situation when things get controversial.
“I want you to imagine a world where advertisers can make offensive ads without fear of any repercussions. Do you want to live in that world? Do you want your children and grandchildren to live in that world?”
So we asked agency representatives a few questions:
Are South Africans ‘oversensitive’ or is our regulator oversensitive?
Where do we draw the line?
When do we cross the line?
What is the impact on marketers when an ad is banned?
And the agencies said…
Uyanda Manana, Managing Director of Conversation LAB (SA)
Clearly blatantly offensive ads without any merit or purpose should be called out. But what of ads that simply make some of us uncomfortable (due to their exposure of reality) or on the other hand make us laugh due to our long held (but not necessarily harmful) South African stereotypes. So where does it become offensive because it’s uncomfortable (albeit true) or offensive because we’re laughing at it (albeit home truths)? Who is the final arbiter of what we’re exposed to or not? And how do you decide who gets the final say?
The single complainant gets an ad banned (if I recall the Chicken Licken Big John ad was a single complainant) because it’s less risky and expedient to just ban a tricky ad than tackle the issues it raises – or acknowledge that only a handful out of millions of the audience seem offended. Or should the regulator assume the single complainant represents the majority and the rest of the complainant’s race, gender, religion, or class would, by default, be equally upset?
South Africa is hardly a homogenous society, and even within race and gender there is no commonality guaranteed on every issue, in every context. So then, in this area of grey, what baseline do you use to guide what’s offensive enough to warrant an outright ban in the public interest – or what should be left for the consumer to decide what’s in their own interest? An example is the Nando’s Where’s My Chips? ad with the big breasted blonde from way back in 2008 – one of my favourite Nando’s ads.
It was a great South African ad – both women were brilliantly cast -that I know many other women friends loved too, despite the obvious sexist overtones. But if it aired today, it would very likely be banned (as it was in Australia at the time) at the first whiff of protest. And the irony of that would be that despite being a woman not offended by the ad, it would be pulled off air on my behalf.
Natalie Neokorides, Creative Group Head, Boomtown
I feel that, as South Africans, we are all a bit oversensitive. But who can blame us, given our political history and the current global circumstances? We are fighting an invisible war (against a virus) that we have no control over. I think that when people feel powerless, they look for things that they can fight back against and control. Advertising is one of those things. Being able to have a say in whether or not an ad gets aired gives people a feeling of importance and significance – “My opinion matters and I can make a difference.”
Most ads that make people feel offended don’t do so intentionally. I think that we should draw the line when ads are intentionally offensive without good reason. And I think that we should draw the line in our agencies first. Test ads on people in the agency and see who gets offended. What’s offensive to one person is water off a duck’s back to another. But we shouldn’t stop taking calculated risks and pushing creative boundaries just because we are afraid to offend everyone.
I think we can cross the line if the offensiveness of the ad or idea has a bigger purpose. And by bigger purpose, I don’t mean just selling more stuff, I mean making a social statement that benefits people in some way or another, or intentionally starting a difficult conversation that needs to be had.
I think agencies are the most heavily affected scapegoats in these scenarios. There is a huge financial and reputational impact when ads are banned. Production costs do not get refunded and brands may pull their work from agencies in order to make a public cut from the ‘perpetrators’. All of this has a negative chain reaction on peoples’ lives. Perhaps overly sensitive people should consider the true cost of their complaints before they air them.
Grant Sithole, Executive Creative Director, FoxP2
Our regulator definitely doesn’t have an easy job because of how sensitive the world has become about certain issues while we are also becoming more relaxed in as many ways. I guess that’s why the regulating body needs to be as representative as possible to try to see things from as many angles as possible and I sincerely hope that we are not reacting and assuming that every single post calling for the pulling of an ad is sincere.
My instinct says we should react when there is mass uproar. Two guys who think they don’t like how we portray their football team cannot justify the pulling of a multimillion-rand campaign.
There are places that we all absolutely should know are no-go areas. It’s a fine line between spotting idiosyncrasies and drawing on them for inspiration, and making tasteless jokes about a group of people with a shared belief system. It’s definitely not easy.
The regulating body needs to understand how knee-jerk reactions will kill the flair that we are so famous for and replace it with the dancing black people we constantly threaten to become famous for. Because those ads are easy to make. But that’s not what advertisers want and it’s definitely not what the people want.
Nduduzo Ndlela, Creative Director and Johannesburg Studio Lead, RAPT Creative
Regulation without real dialogue and sound data is by in large a fruitless exercise. It serves no real purpose but to appease the opinions of a few. In turn, it places our regulator’s credibility into question and decisions don’t inspire public confidence.
It’s less about where we draw the line, but more about creating a paradigm shift. Methods of regulation cannot be set in stone. And conversations must be had on who should be responsible for the imposition of restraints in advertising.
It goes without saying that marketing that sows division, incites hate and discrimination under the guise of creativity or freedom of speech is the hard line in the sand. Such blatant acts will always call for mass condemnation and regulation.
Marketers will continue to be lost in a sea of sameness and redundancy. It’s important to remember that any piece of communication that provokes thought, and challenges the norm will be offensive to someone in one way or another.
Jason Stewart, co-founder of through-the-line HaveYouHeard
The vast majority of any countries’ population is generally not oversensitive and, when these types of issues are tested with them, they are more tolerant and understanding. Social media, however, creates a very different impression as it amplifies the voices of the very few (2% of those on Twitter). Just like one snowball can start an avalanche, so can a few expressions of outrage escalate to a number that scares the ‘bejeezers’ out of any brand team.
In saying this, 2020 was a threshold moment to really evaluate the impact of everything on everyone. The pendulum is swinging towards ensuring zero-harm and brands are expected to lead from the front. South Africa has to deal with many complex and harmful issues. Therefore, there is a sensitivity to diminishing issues that could perpetuate behaviours or perceptions that cause harm.
The line is ever moving as cultural and social taboos and norms shift. Jokes that were OK or PC last year are no longer acceptable today. Barack Obama opposed gay marriage less than a decade ago. It is very hard to define the line as the debate is around impact versus intent. South Africans have a great ability – possibly more so than most other nations – to laugh at themselves. However, this will shift over the next few years as the social justice movement from the US becomes more ingrained in our culture.
We cross the line when we knowingly cause damage. It is a brand’s responsibility to be aware of where culture and society’s values and expectations are at any given time. Unless it’s part of a brand/consumer DNA, we should always aim to make a positive impact on society: it’s what consumers expect today (for the moment).
Currently, banning an ad only prompts people to search out the content. This has caused books to become bestsellers and ads to garner troves of free, organic views. However, it can be costly to the brand and can potentially damage its reputation. It depends on the impact to the brand’s core market and how the brand navigates the moments after a ban – or getting lucky with some good strategic moves that are usually high risk and unpredictable at the time!
Kevin Power, Group Managing Director of Conversation LAB (UK)
At Conversation LAB we talk of ‘radical accountability’ and I think that applies here; the key question for all brand activity should be “Does it create brand equity?”. There are no brands that find themselves on the wrong side of a social justice issue that can say that they set out to build brand equity with the offending campaign. Many of these campaigns are just weak ads. The Windhoek Lager one is a case in point.
Alternatively, Nando’s is consistently provocative and derives enduring brand equity from their approach without being cancelled. Yes, Nando’s can create ads which are edgy and even campaigns that land on the wrong side of a social justice issue but mischief and provocation are core to their brand equity. They have earned the right to be risqué by creating genuinely smart concepts over the long term.
I liked this quote from Ahmed Tilly: “Stop making ads for your clients and start making ads for their clients.” If a brand believes that being found on the wrong side of a social justice issue is good for their clients, they won’t be clients for much longer.
Ingrid Louw is CEO for the Association of Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org). For nine years prior, she fulfilled the position of CEO at Print & Digital Media South Africa. Before joining PDMSA, she worked as CFO for the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa – a training institution established by the Department Of Communications which formed part of a government initiative in 1998. She has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through Henley Business School.
Project management is defined as the process of leading the work of a team to achieve goals and meet success criteria at a specified time. By this definition any task that involves a team, has goals and a deadline can be considered a project.
Managers are faced with numerous tasks that resemble projects, whether it be a stock take, determining an annual budget, planning a sales campaign, preparing for an audit or planning a staff function. The truth is that anything that does not form part of your day-to-day business is in essence a project, and as soon as you are responsible for getting others to contribute to the success of the project – be our own team, others in the business, outside contributors or any combination of these – you are a project manager.
It therefore stands to reason that having project management skills will be highly beneficial to any manager and ultimately the organisation. It also just so happens that many of the qualities that make a successful project manager are qualities that make a good manager in general. More about that later…
As a manager, there are a variety of benefits in learning project management skills. You will improve project outcomes and improve your ability to manage teamwork, which will in the end make you a more valuable asset to your organisation since you will be expanding the scope of your abilities. Ultimately, learning project management skills will give you a more competitive skills advantage that will be beneficial to your career for many years to come.
So, let’s dive right in…
Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, and the success or failure of the project.
The project manager’s role varies depending on the industry and individual business, but at its core, project management entails balancing a project’s timeframe, budget and overall scope as the team works to meet its objectives. Project managers oversee the individual tasks that move a project toward completion, so its ultimate success or failure depends in large part on the project manager’s competency.
Project managers keep knowledge and information flowing seamlessly. They need both technical know-how and first-hand knowledge of the tasks they assign to others to keep the project moving forward.
Good project managers are people with an excellent entrepreneurial mindset. This allows them to think about a project beyond the basic skills set needed to manage it, and it is the project manager’s job to direct teams and team members to the finish line.
Managing a project, whether it be planning a big corporate event or developing new software, can be daunting, to say the least. The reality is that there is no secret formula that will make your project unwrap flawlessly; more often than not you’ll stumble upon a series of challenges and obstacles before you reach success.
It is the ability to overcome these unexpected obstacles and deal with them on the go that makes a successful project manager. A successful project manager will be able to picture project management within the context of their company’s culture and align objectives with the already established practices and mission. Behind each successful campaign, a superbly organised event, or a functional product is a project manager with a sharp skill set.
Let’s look at eight essential qualities that lead project managers to success and create an environment of trust, communication, and productivity:
● Effective communication skills – A successful project manager must be a great communicator! Project management communication is a skill that is never perfected, can always be improved and is pivotal in being able to initiate and execute a project effectively. The PMI (Project Management Institute) suggests that a project manager should spend 90 percent of their time communicating!
● Stakeholder-focused – Project managers have to adopt a stakeholder-focused approach. Good management of stakeholders will not only clear the path of any possible obstructions but will also promote steady progress and eventually improve the quality of the results you are generating. It’s not just a case of keeping stakeholders happy – it’s also a matter of using their resources, knowledge and influence to help you achieve your objectives.
● Strong leadership skills – Developing leadership skills, is important for project management because the overall success of any project is determined by its leaders. Leaders, or project managers, oversee projects and make critical decisions that can lead to their success or failure. When project managers develop these key leadership skills in addition to their technical skills, everyone benefits. Project teams work more effectively under good leadership, and a project’s chances of success are greatly increased.
● Team-building skills – Project success starts at the team level. Equally as important as workplace technology and sufficient resources, good project management team building allows managers to assemble teams that work together to overcome obstacles and work efficiently to meet deadlines.
Good team building is achieved by managers who go the extra mile to help their team succeed. Instead of simply delegating and monitoring tasks, the project manager works to build the confidence, decision-making skills, and agency of his or her team.
● Have integrity – Call it integrity, honesty or loyalty. A successful project manager needs to have them all. The project manager’s actions set an example for the rest of the team members and they are ultimately responsible for setting ethical standards for the rest of the team. The project manager should practice what they preach and in turn earn trust.
● Cool under pressure – In this line of work – the project manager is in charge – it is critical that project managers actually stay in charge and maintain the perception of remaining cool. Especially in stressful or critical situations. If the customer senses that a project manager is losing control of his team, or the project, or the situation as a whole, then they are going to become frustrated and uncomfortable.
● Empathetic – For a project manager, empathy is very important. It puts you in a position to understand the level of creativity or competence in handling a particular task, and that helps you to adjust in terms of delegating duties.
When you are empathetic, you get to know and understand how your teammates like to work. This will bring out the best in your team.
● Technical expertise – A strong project manager must develop an understanding of the sector, the business issues and the specialist skills as quickly as possible. Without that project managers will be unable to connect with stakeholders or truly ensure that the expected outcomes are delivered. Critically, they will be unable to facilitate the identification of solutions to problems or have the flexibility to identify opportunities when they present themselves.
After assessing the needs of the industry, the IMM Graduate School has developed a Project Management Fundamentals short course that will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects.
In this course you will start off by becoming familiar with the key characteristics and features of projects and explore the role of the project manager. You will get introduced to the ten general areas of knowledge as set out in the ‘Project Management Body of Knowledge’.
You will also learn about the phases of a corporate strategy, project management methodologies and the feasibility study which is the initial design stage of any project. Following on from this, you will deep dive into the project planning process, which lays out the roadmap for the project and shows how the project scope will be achieved. Additionally, you’ll learn about the monitoring and control of a project which involves tracking the actual project performance against the project plan.
Finally, you will come to understand how to plan the time intervals for monitoring and evaluation, monitoring of team performance, monitoring the project budget and other important activities all the way up to the correct procedure to follow when closing a project.
Visit us at https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/project-management-fundamentals/ to learn more about this course or to sign up today!