Stellenbosch Open Day.

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

Project Management Fundamentals Short Course. This short course will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects. more info.

Project Management Fundamentals Short Course. This short course will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects. more info.

Virtual IMM Fridays – Debbie Pearson

Debbie Pearson

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Marketing.

5 Reasons why brand management is important


$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!

What is 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:

1.    To buy your brand, consumers need to know your brand.

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.


2. First impressions are important.

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.

3. Consistency is key.

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.

4. Brand loyalty.

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.

5. Brand maintenance never ends.

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?


Enhance your brand management skills.

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 <>

Why you should continue with marketing communications during a recession

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.

Here are 3 reasons why you should continue to communicate to your market during a recession:

  1. It allows for re-positioning of your brand or presents you with an opportunity to introduce a new product.
  2. Advertising becomes less expensive during a recession.
  3. A consistent and stable brand during a recession gives consumers a positive impression and reassurance that you are not going out of business.


What is marketing communication?

Marketing communication’sultimate 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

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.

Publicity/Public Relations

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

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.

Sales Promotion

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.

Digital or Internet marketing

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.

Companies that thrived during a recession thanks to enhanced marketing communication:


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.



Pizza Hut

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.


The bottom line

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 IMM Graduate School

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:

Why every manager should have project management skills.

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…

What is a project manager?

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.

What makes a successful project manager?

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.

IMM’s Project Management Fundamentals course

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 to learn more about this course or to sign up today!

Virtual IMM Fridays – Wendy Monkley

Wendy Monkley

Digital Marketing and “She’EO” at Digital Content Lab

Download presentation here