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How to build a 21st century brand

With the rise of the connected individual, marketers must re-think the way they build a brand to be future fit for the digital savvy consumers, writes CARMEN MURRAY, founder of Boo-yah!

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There are many challenges and opportunities as we chase the ideal way for brands to connect with consumers. I had a candid conversation with seasoned and award-winning marketing professional, Benjamin Schoderer who leads Digital for Yum! Brands in Africa on the KFC brand and was recently named “Marketer of the Year 2018” at the IAB Bookmarks in March.

Anna Vaulina, Head of the IAB SA Marketing Council adds, ”As the IAB SA we are extremely excited to have Benjamin and YUM! recognised for brilliant work in the digital space. As the South African digital advertising industry matures, it is exciting to see individuals like Benjamin championing the way brands use digital to meet their objectives in a way that engages and has a positive impact on their customers.”

I spoke with Benjamin about some of the challenges and opportunities for today’s brands.

How would you define a 21st century brand?

For me, it’s a brand that understands the 21st century consumer and how to engage a connected individual. If you understand the connected consumer you will be a connected brand.  You need to understand that behavioural patterns have changed and how this will impact your brand. For example, eating out and movies have evolved into Netflix and Ubereats. In my view, a 21st century brand is ready for this consumer and their demands, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the marketing landscape over the past 5 years?

First and foremost, the fact that digital has become a central part of marketing and business planning when it was just an afterthought only a couple of years ago.  When I first started at Vodacom in 2007, I joined a digital team of three which was part of the IT team looking after call centre systems. Today they are one of the most successful digital teams in the country and digital is at the heart of what they do, a really amazing journey. We are on a similar journey here at Yum! Brand and thus incredibly excited to have been named Digital Brand of the Year for the second year in a row at the 2018 IAB Bookmarks.

Another big change I’ve noticed, is the change of the Digital Media Landscape.  It has become so sophisticated and advanced and you can measure your objectives and what you want to achieve through audience insights, programmatic media buying and so on.

Digital has certainly grown up.

When I attended the IAB Summit in California earlier this year, I was amazed by the sheer amount of ad tech companies that exist as part of the digital ecosystem. In line with this, there seems to be a trend of the titles “Chief Digital Officer” and “Chief Marketing Officer” collapsing into a “Chief (Brand) Experience Officer” (or similar) type role. Business adapts to reflect the changes in the digital economy we find ourselves in.

We now live in the age of The Connected Individual.  It’s becoming more crucial not just to serve a physical product, but provide an individual brand experience. Tell us more about how you merge the Physical Product and the Digital Experiences for your customers?

First of all, the key experience for us at KFC is our food. We know that if our food is prepared correctly and eaten hot and fresh it really is finger licking good.

We then think about how we enhance this experience through technology or the environment we create around it, along the customer lifecycle.  We do a lot of work around the in-store experience and how do we enable a better service experience for instance. Another example of an exciting experience in our restaurants was the SoundBite Case Study and how we used music as a passion point to attract younger consumers.

Another important aspect is customer service, and enabling our staff with technology to improve the service they offer to our customers.

One of our partner markets created an Employee VR Education Program called the Escape Room.  This was particularly created to educate service staff on hygiene, preparation of food, and applying the service levels in virtual world and exposing them the KFC way of doing things.  See trailer here: KFC Virtual Training Escape Room.

What are the biggest challenges that marketers face, and what advice could you offer them to improve their marketing approach?

The whole marketing universe has just become very confusing and overwhelming for a lot of marketers.  There are so many new technologies being introduced to the market, new ways of targeting consumers and a lot of marketers tell me that they feel intimidated by this constant change.  The risk with that is that marketers tend to stick to what they know instead of exploring new opportunities for their brand or taking any risks.

We combat that at KFC by running several training programmes, often with our digital partners, so that our entire marketing team is comfortable navigating the digital advertising space.

Our customers are embracing this change, and as marketers, we need to be willing to explore and embrace these changes or we will be left behind.  My key advice to marketers would be and stay curious.  You really have nothing to lose, but so much to win. Just find the right fit for your brand to get you the results that you need.

Make budget available for experimentation. Be Brave, test it. If it doesn’t work, move on and try again.

In marketing, collaboration is key. What advice can you give marketers on choosing their partners to ensure the most abundant explosion of creativity and problem solving?

Surround yourself with experts that are right for your brand and with the skill sets that you need. I am not an expert at all digital disciplines (and there are a lot), but I am trying to surround myself with experts in these areas to help me do achieve my vision.

What I have learned is that you acquire your partners based on skills and experience and you retain them based on people and culture.

If there is chemistry, you can make magic happen.  We have built this amazing culture with our partners like Ogilvy and Mindshare, and we just click.  It’s also important to be able to have healthy debates and criticise ideas.  Trust your partners and ensure you are always aligned.

There is a saying: Garbage in, Garbage out.  How can we move away from generic briefs and inform our partners better for effective projects?

Know what you want, what you going to measure and know what success looks like.  Make sure you have strong insight into why people behave the way they do. Ask the question why over and over to match your product to the truth.  It’s a marketing fundamental.

Key takeaways:

1.     Adapt to Change

2.     Your brand is no longer just a product.  You need to augment your product with experiences

3.     All your staff, whether Head Office staff or service staff, should be exposed to technology and empowered to offer better service to customers

4.     Don’t stick to what you know

5.     Go for constant training to get Future Fit and be comfortable with the new

6.     Make budget available for experimentation

7.     Be curious and take risks

8.     Choose the right partners

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News fatigue shifts Google searches in SA

Google search trends in South Africa reveal a startling insight into news appetite, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The big searches of the year no longer track the biggest news stories of the year, suggesting a strong dose of news fatigue among South Africans.

“People ask, why are the Guptas not on the list of Google’s top searches?, says Mich Atagana, head of communications and public affairs at Google South Africa, “The Guptas are not on the list because South Africans are not actually that interested. South Africans are looking for things they don’t know. From a Gupta point of view, we’ve been exhausted by the news and we know exactly what is going on.”

Google South Africa announced the results of its 2018 Year in Search, offering a unique perspective on the year’s major moments.

“Four years ago, there were almost no South Africans on the personalities list,” says Atagana. “Over the years, South Africans have gotten more interested in South Africa, in searching on Google.”

That isn’t to say that international searches – like Meghan Markle – are not heavily searched by South Africans. But  they feature lower down on the lists.

From the World Cup to listeriosis, Zuma and Global Citizen, South Africans use search to find the things they really need to know.

These are the main trends revealed  by Google this week:

Top trending South African searches

  1. World Cup fixtures
  2. Load shedding
  3. Global Citizen
  4. Zuma
  5. Winnie Mandela
  6. HHP
  7. Listeriosis
  8. Black Panther
  9. Meghan Markle
  10. Mac Miller

Trending personalities

  1.    Jacob Zuma
  2. Cyril Ramaphosa
  3. Sbahle Mpisane
  4. Kevin Anderson
  5. Malusi Gigaba
  6. Ashwin Willemse
  7. Patrice Motsepe
  8. Cheryl Zondi
  9. Shamila Batohi
  10. Mlindo the Vocalist

Top Questions

  1. How did Avicii die?
  2. How old is Pharrell Williams?
  3. What is listeriosis?
  4. What is black data?
  5. How old is Prince Harry?
  6. How much are Global Citizen tickets?
  7. How to get pregnant?
  8. What time is the royal wedding?
  9. What happened to HHP?
  10. How old is Meghan Markle?

Top ‘near me’ searches

  1. Jobs near me
  2. Nandos near me
  3. Dischem near me
  4. McDonalds near me
  5. Guest house near me
  6. Postnet near me
  7. Steers near me
  8. Spar near me
  9. Debonairs near me
  10. Spur near me

Top women

  1. Winnie Mandela
  2. Meghan Markle
  3. Sbahle Mpisane
  4. Aretha Franklin
  5. Khloe Kardashian
  6. Sophie Ndaba
  7. Cheryl Zondi
  8. Demi Lovato
  9. Lerato Sengadi
  10. Siam Lee

The Year In Search 2018 minisite can be found here.

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Smartphones dip in 2018

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to decline by 3% in 2018 before returning to low single-digit growth in 2019 and through 2022.

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While the on-going U.S.-China trade war has the industry on edge, IDC still believes that continued developments from emerging markets, mixed with potential around 5G and new product form factors, will bring the smartphone market back to positive growth.

Smartphone shipments are expected to drop to 1.42 billion units in 2018, down from 1.47 billion in 2017. However, IDC expects year-over-year shipment growth of 2.6% in 2019. Over the long-term, smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.57 billion units in 2022. From a geographic perspective, the China market, which represented 30% of total smartphone shipments in 2017, is finally showing signs of recovery. While the world’s largest market is still forecast to be down 8.8% in 2018 (worse than the 2017 downturn), IDC anticipates a flat 2019, then back to positive territory through 2022. The U.S. is also forecast to return to positive growth in 2019 (up 2.1% year over year) after experiencing a decline in 2018.

The slow revival of China was one of the reasons for low growth in Q3 2018 and this slowdown will persist into Q1 2019 as the market is expected to drop by 3% in Q4 2018. Furthermore, the recently lifted U.S. ban on ZTE had an impact on shipments in Q3 2018 and created a sizable gap that is yet to be filled heading into 2019.

“With many of the large global companies focusing on high-end product launches, hoping to draw in consumers looking to upgrade based on specifications and premium devices, we can expect head-to-head competition within this segment during the holiday quarter and into 2019 to be exceptionally high,” said Sangeetika Srivastava, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

Though 2018 has fallen below expectations so far, the worldwide smartphone market is set to pick up on the shift toward larger screens and ultra-high-end devices. All the big players have further built out their portfolios with bigger screens and higher-end smartphones, including Apple’s new launch in September. In Q3 2018, the 6-inch to less than 7-inch screen size band became the most prominent band for the first time with more than four times year-over-year growth. IDC believes that larger-screen smartphones (5.5 inches and above) will lead the charge with volumes of 947.1 million in 2018, accounting for 66.7% of all smartphones, up from 623.3 million units and 42.5% share in 2017. By 2022, shipments of these larger-screen smartphones will move up to 1.38 billion units or 87.7% of overall shipment volume.

“What we consider a so-called normal size smartphone has shifted dramatically in a few short years and while we are stretching the limits with bezel-less devices, the next big switch to flexible screens will test our imaginations even further,” said Melissa Chau, associate research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “While this category of device is still nascent and won’t see major adoption in the year ahead, it’s exciting to see changes to the standard monoblock we are all so used to carrying.”

Platform Highlights

Android: Android’s smartphone share will remain stable at 85% throughout the forecast. Volumes are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7% with shipments approaching 1.36 billion in 2022. Android is still the choice of the masses with no shift expected. Android average selling prices (ASPs) are estimated to grow by 9.6% in 2018 to US$258, up from US$235 in 2017. IDC expects this upward trajectory to continue through the forecast, but at a softened rate from 2019 and beyond. Not only are market players pushing upgraded specs and materials to offset decreasing replacement rates, but they are also serving the evolving consumer needs for better performance.

iOS: iOS smartphones are forecast to drop by 2.5% in 2018 to 210.4 million. The launch of expensive and bigger screen iOS smartphones in Q3 2018 helped Apple to raise its ASP, simultaneously making it somewhat difficult to increase shipments in the current market slump. IDC is forecasting iPhone shipments to grow at a five-year CAGR of 0.1%, reaching volumes of 217.3 million in 2022. Despite the challenges, there is no ambiguity that Apple will continue to lead the global premium market segment.

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