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Social media contract a must

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As more and more executives in the c-suite embrace social media, reputational risks are likely to increase if proper contracts and policies are not in place, says LEON AYO, CEO of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson South Africa.

As more and more executives in the c-suite embrace social media, reputational risks are likely to increase if proper contracts and policies are not in place.

Executives have cited reputation as one of their top risk factors according to numerous reports. Fake news, fake social media accounts and cyber security are increasing the reputational risk in the digital world.

“As a measure of defence, many businesses will have social media contracts and policies in place for employees, but surprisingly, not at the c-suite or board levels,” says Leon Ayo, CEO of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa. “It is common practice for large companies to have social media contracts in place for executives throughout the UK, Europe and USA, but this is not yet the case in South Africa.”

The purpose of the contract is not to sensor or inhibit freedom of speech but rather to ensure the presence of executives on social networks does not compromise the company or business image.

Recently, Helen Zille’s tweets about colonialism received serious backlash which discredited not only the Democratic Alliance as a political party but also brought into question its current leadership. In addition, reputational and brand risks from executives posting inappropriate material can evolve to business or revenue risks, where there is a loss of regard from stakeholders.

On the other hand, social media has changed the communications dynamics between executives, employees and customers and the benefit is making people feel more connected. A more connected world contributes to the business objectives of the organisation. Locally, Michael Jordaan, former CEO of FNB was the Twitter trailblazer for the c-suite and was coined by IT media as the coolest CEO in the country

Social media contracts are certainly the practical measures for countering reputational risk in the digital world but leaders must also ensure their authenticity, both in the online world as well as the offline world. Whatever a leader is prepared to say online, they must be prepared to share in a face-to-face environment too. Barack Obama is a common reference for excellence in authentic leadership across various social media platforms because whatever he posts is reflective and authentic to what is happening offline too.

High risk factors such as fake news or fake social media accounts cannot be countered using social media contracts which is why authenticity plays such a necessary and important role. “Should a fake news story about an executive be published, for example, and is damaging to that reputation, a digital presence where the content and messaging is both authentic and consistent would be able to counter this risk. The same applies for a fake social media account. An executive must use the digital world to gain trust with their stakeholders and proper trust comes from authenticity just as they would do in the offline world,” explains Ayo.

Not only are fake news sites or social media accounts a possibility but so too are the chances of executives’ social media accounts being hacked, especially off the back of ransomware attacks such as the recent WannaCry.

“This is just an example of how hackers are increasing reputational risks and the next step could see executives’ accounts being hacked. Imagine comments made by a CEO on social media pertaining to price sensitive information and the impact it would have on share prices?” points out Ayo. “Requirements for secure passwords as outlined in a social media contract combined with leadership authenticity would be able to counter such a risk.”

Ultimately, executives cannot shy away from social media but also need to be aware of the pros and cons when communicating in a public forum. “People are not always going to like what you say or comment on and the c-suite may come under fire for this. At the same time, a well thought out social media strategy, contract and principles of authenticity will go a long way to counter this risk,” concludes Ayo.

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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