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Eat, drink, be merry in SA, but communication not hot

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A recent survey has found that despite the challenging economic climate, South Africans still like to eat, drink, travel and be with friends, however the communications industry has seen a steady drop from 2013 until 2015.

The top three industries out of 19 industry sectors according to loyal usage by South African consumers as ranked in the Ask Afrika Icon Brands survey are Drinks, Restaurants and Fast Food, and Foods. This is followed by Travel and Leisure, Pets or Pet Food, and DIY and Gardening. Consumers have to tighten their belts in tough economic times that show no sign abating in the near future and spending is less frequent, their focus is on satisfying basic needs, but also on enjoying leisure time with friends and family.

Communications has fallen steadily, from being one of the top categories in 2013, to being an also-ran in 2015.

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Drinks which include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, with the non-alcoholic drinks scoring the highest were the leading industry category this year. A factor which influenced the higher Ask Afrika Icon Brands score for the drinks industry, is a slight increase in loyalty score across all demographic groups for non-alcoholic beverages.

This may be good news for those in the FMCG sector, yet even brands within this industry sector will require a carefully crafted brand strategy to retain consumer loyalty. This is due to economic and lifestyle pressures which decrease the frequency of spend, and also because consumers are more willing to experiment and try new products.

According to a recent article by Jakkie Cilliers from the Institute for Security Studies on Moneyweb,   “The gross domestic product (GDP) growth dropped from 2.2% in 2013 to an ailing 1.5% in 2014, and electricity constraints will continue to restrict growth for several years. And without a near revolution in policy coherence and government efficiency, there is little chance of average GDP growth levels reaching 5% over the medium to long term.”

Despite this, certain brands get it right and understand how to retain customer loyalty in this challenging environment. Ask Afrika recently conducted their Icon Brands™ nationally representative survey that revealed 28 brands out of thousands measured achieved iconic status, these are brands that are used loyally across the South African demographic, irrespective of income, education, culture, race, and even personal style. Sixteen of these 28 Ask Afrika Icon Brands were local brands. In addition, the top five brands in each of the 164 product categories within the 19 industry sectors were ranked.

The scope of the survey is partly quantitative, but largely qualitative providing insight into South African consumer mind-set and behaviour. These insights can help companies place themselves within the context of their product category and industry sector and provide invaluable, current psychographic understanding of their target market.

“Brand loyalty is not as simple as repurchasing, it is multidimensional and it is determined by several distinct psychological processes. True brand loyalty exists when customers have a high relative attitude towards the brand, which dramatically affects profitability. Consumers demand a continuing pattern of change to keep up with their fluctuations in taste, lifestyle and circumstance, even for brand leaders,” says Sarina de Beer, MD of Ask Afrika.

The Ask Afrika Icon Brands survey uses a nationally representative random sample, 15,690 consumers were surveyed, representing over 23.3 million adult South African consumers. An enumerated area sampling design was employed and the universe includes all communities with more than 8,000 inhabitants 15 years old and above. The data was weighted using the Statistics South Africa’s population mid-year estimates and audited by respected independent experts BDO and Dr Ariana Neethling.

Detailed Ask Afrika Icon Brands reports can be ordered which demonstrate a brand’s relevance across the evolving consumer spectrum to enable brand owners to increase their performance, either to maintain winning status or to improve future performance. The report includes customised trended category and brand scores to understand performance. Competitor analysis and a loyalty matrix that unpacks cross brand usage. Ask Afrika will identify market opportunities for the brand.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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