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We need to like you – why client agency relationships matter

Herman Degener, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop

The other day I was attending the briefing of a highly sought after account. It’s a piece of business which I’m rather passionate about and have had the privilege of working on before. When the CMO was wrapping up his presentation, he said a few things about relationships and chemistry; “this” he said…”is a marriage!”, and “we need to like you!” he said.

Given that we were all there with fellow shortlisted agencies, it’s fair to assume we all had the necessary skills, access to technology and the experience the client needed, but the emphasis was on the relationship. This got me thinking about client-agency relationships, especially with technology literally eroding the workplace; just how relevant, or valid, is the client-agency relationship these days? Clearly, to this client it‘s super important, which was great to hear!

There’s a saying that Brian Solis coined called digital-Darwinism, it’s when technology and society evolves faster than humans. Scary, I know. But similar to how we all thought cookie-based targeting was the silver bullet to all our marketing challenges, we are starting to realise that perhaps technology doesn’t have all the answers, and that as humans we are still exceptional at the one thing technology cannot do: have an emotional relationship.

It still beggars belief that client-agency contracts are finite; it’s not like when you marry your partner you only commit to a three year term! So why is it different in business? It’s only after a few years of working together (akin to moving in together as a couple) do you really get to know each other, and often just when you’re getting to know each other and establish highly productive ways of working, the partnership ends and the whole process starts again with a new ‘spouse’.

Getting back on point… right, so, to both clients and agencies alike, what are some of the ways we can enjoy our oft-fleeting relationships? I did some research online as well as some old-school human-to-human research, and here’s what I found:


It goes without saying, right? But then why are so many relationships strained by a lack of clear and unambiguous communication? We communicate clearly with our friends and family because we feel comfortable enough to ask silly questions without fear of ridicule (well, mostly). Yet in a business relationship, we tend to use fancy terms and TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms) to sound knowledgeable and important. Meanwhile we’ve just strained the relationship through miscommunication, and no-one wants to ask the so-called silly question. In his biography, Elon Musk talks about how he banned the use of acronyms in his companies without his written approval, for obvious reasons.

 Check your ego at the door!

No one likes an egomaniac or narcissist, and in the client-agency relationship egos are not exactly scarce. One of the best marketers I had the privilege of working with, Roland Reid who was Marketing Director at Jaguar Land Rover South Africa at the time, used to always remind us that we were there to progress the brand, not our egos. Agencies are not always the guilty party here, but mostly we are. We all want to impress the client so much that our egos usurp the primary reason we’re all there, to solve business problems. When we forget our egos and put energy into solving the business challenges first, relationships foster, and everyone wins.

 Warts ‘n all

With social media being what it is, no agency is going to try and pull a fast one. If they did, the court of public opinion would write the death sentence for them. As agencies, we are in the business of helping our clients reach their business goals, to do great work and to be fairly compensated for it. The best relationships are formed when everyone plays open cards, with no hidden agendas. When the latter prevails, all the energy available on both client and agency side goes into achieving strong business results.


The problem with emotion is that it gets in the way of logic. It’s like the ex-partner: your friends are like “wow, what took you so long?”, as if you were oblivious to your ex-partner’s shortcomings. You weren’t, but because you liked, ahem, loved them, you didn’t have the heart to give them negative feedback. In our industry we often form close, sometimes lifelong bonds with our counterparts, and the best relationships have open, honest and regular feedback at their core. A shortcut to relationship failure is letting things fester; create the means for constructive feedback sessions where concerns can be addressed, but also don’t be shy to celebrate the successes.

In closing: ability, integrity and benevolence are at the heart of each point above. So it’s no surprise these are also foundational elements of building trust, both as individuals and as organisations. None of us are getting out of here alive, so we may as well enjoy it while we can and build relationships that make it all worthwhile. 🙂

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Emerald continues to support SMME’s

The Vaal SMME Exhibition Conference, now in its second consecutive year, will be hosted at Emerald Resort & Casino. This year’s conference aims to assist SMME’s in procurement, sourcing and supply chain processes who are dedicated to both the public and private sectors.

The two-day conference, to be held on 14 and 15 November 2019, is expected to be attended by 150 hosted small and corporate businesses from around the Gauteng region. The event will comprise exhibitors together with formal conferences. The hosted entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers, develop new business partnerships and ignite their collective business power.

“The aim of this year’s conference is to educate the attendees on digitisation, what it means to their businesses and what it means to be digital entrepreneurs,” says Milelwa Mrwetyana, Financial Manager at Emerald Resort & Casino. “The conference presents an opening for small to medium businesses to understand current business trends and forces that are shaping the local SMME sector.”

Attending businesses will gain insightful understanding into subjects and concepts that include the 4th Industrial Revolution, state of the Vaal region economy (Fezile Dabi and Sedibeng Districts), collaboration and stimulation of local trade, insightful industry topics, local SMME exhibitions and offerings and of course those crucial networking opportunities.

Vaal SMME Exhibition Conference

Date:               14 – 15 November 2019

Venue:             Emerald Resort & Casino (Emerald Arena)

Time:               08:00 – 17:00




“Local businesses provide vital support and create essential job opportunities for the local community,” concludes Mrwetyana. “Buying local boosts the economy and it has been proven that the money is twice as likely to stay in the local community and purchases are doubly more efficient in terms of keeping the local economy alive.”

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000





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Nudging the media odds ever in your favour

SPARK Media recently hosted Dr Carl Driesener, Senior Marketing Scientist from the Ehrenburg Bass Institute (EBI) to share his learnings on how marketers and brands can better target their customers for more effective bottom line results.  

“We’ve learned so much about effective marketing over the years thanks to our association with EBI,” says SPARK Media’s CEO Gill Randall, “and there’s never been a more important time us to implement these guidelines for businesses to succeed in the current economy.”

Dr Carl said that targeting is like adding salt to your cooking, a little makes it delicious but too much makes it inedible.

His top five tips are:

  1. Be inclusive, rather than exclusive, – the premise behind tight targeting and segmentation is that different brands appeal to different customers.  In reality, we know that the world doesn’t work this way!

There is very little difference between competing brands and all category buyers are your potential customers.

  • So, target all category buyers, not some idealised “brand” profile.
  1. Make your target market description evidence-based.

Don’t work on assumptions about what the customer-base looks like

  1. Avoid targeting only your heavy buyers.

Heavy buyers do deliver volume, but growth comes from the many light and non-buyers, because there are so many of them.

(Counter-intuitively, heavy users need less ad exposure, as the brands are already part of their regular behaviour and therefore more salient.)

  1. Buy media on reach (big numbers) rather than indices –
  • Seductive over-indexing often hides the fact that the channel still delivers small numbers.
  • Always check raw numbers – large audiences are still the primary focus.
  1. Don’t sacrifice reach or continuity of exposure for engagement.
  • High impact campaigns are often expensive and only reach limited numbers!

What are the implications for media?

Go for bigger media – they reach more of everyone.  Evaluate your choices on effectiveness first – i.e. How many sales/feet through the door and efficiency second – cost per conversion.

“As a South African sponsor of EBI, we remain committed to bringing these evidence-based learnings to our marketing industry,” concludes Randall.


Established in 2015, SPARK Media, a division of CTP Ltd, are experts in retail and location-based marketing solutions. The company owns and represents an arsenal of print products that deliver locally relevant, effective audiences for advertising clients. SPARK Media are Strategic Partners in Audience Research and Knowledge and offer ‘Insights that Ignite’.

Leadership changes and updates from the Marketing Association of South Africa (MASA)

MASA closed off another impactful year at its recent thirteenth Annual General Meeting, detailing important contributions to the marketing profession and industry. These include the completely overhauled Professional Marketing Designations South Africa programme, the introduction of the MAPs Products and Brands research initiative to replace AMPS, and helping to safeguard marketing self-regulation through the establishment of the new Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB). 

 MASA also announced a leadership change. Current CEO, Greg Garden, who has contributed significantly to MASA and its achievements, announced that at the end of his three-year term he would be handing over the baton. Greg assured MASA of his unwavering and ongoing commitment to the association and his full support to achieve a smooth change of executive leadership.

Greg will give increased focus to leading the Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) and the MAPS project, whilst continuing to work closely with MASA into the future in full support of its purpose and goals.

To ensure continuity and business as usual, MASA announced that its current Chairman, Sechaba Motsieloa, had accepted its request to serve at an Executive level as Interim CEO to bridge any gap until the appointment of a long-term CEO. The recruitment process for a new permanent CEO will commence immediately under the guidance of Sechaba.

“MASA has grown in strength over the past three years,” says Greg. “We have a heavy-hitter Board of top marketers made up of highly recognised individual members and corporate CMO’s – the strongest in our history. As a Professional Body and Association, we have made several significant strides in terms of key deliverables to our members and the broader marketing industry.” Amongst others these include:

  • The repositioning of MASA as the only SAQA recognized and approved Marketing Industry Professional Body, with Marketing Designations registered at the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical levels. MASA has established itself, based on strong governance structures, processes, and content, as one of the most credible non-statutory Professional Bodies within the South African business landscape.
  • MAPS, the new marketers Brands and Products Survey has been developed by the Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) with strong direction and guidance from MASA. Subscriber funding has been raised to enable MAPS to launch at the start of 2020.  Moreover, MASA has established very positive co-operation with the Broadcast Research Council (BRC) and the Publishing and Outdoor media bodies to work towards the delivery of joint collaborative research in the interests of better and aligned and integrated data for all marketing and media stakeholders.
  • MASA was foundational in protecting the critical principle of Self-Regulation in advertising and communication for the Marketing Industry.  With the regrettable demise of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), MASA worked closely with the Association of Communications Agencies (ACA), the IAB, and other key role players to rapidly establish the new Advertising Regulations Board (ARB) which has ensured the continuity of marketer’s Self-Regulation.
  • MASA continues to work on the development of a more sustainable industry funding model to support self-regulation, media, products and Brands marketing Research, and other critical and future proofing industry initiatives.

“MASA exists to elevate the professionalism of marketing and represent and protect the business interests of marketers” says Sechaba. “It has a strong and clear strategy with well-defined goals and priorities for 2020 and beyond. It is well placed to increase its impact and enhance its contribution to the marketing profession, and I call on marketers at both individual and corporate levels to become members and give MASA greater support”

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SPARK Media invites Lumen to conduct Eye Tracking research

International attention technology company Lumen uses eye tracking software to understand the reality of visual attention on memory and ability to recall messages.

 SPARK Media, having just released its ROOTS research which shows that many people recall reading their local papers regularly for news and shopping information, will now add another crucial layer to that knowledge for marketers using latest technology. The outcome will assist marketers in evaluating local papers against an attention metric.

“Just because you can see something doesn’t mean that you will see it. Lumen’s eye tracking technology helps us understand what people look at – and what they ignore,” explains Mike Follett, Managing Director at Lumen.

“The Lumen team will be here in November to conduct an attention study on SPARK Media’s local papers as well as our Caxton Magazine titles, to understand the reality of what gets noticed and given attention in our print media,” explains SPARK Media’s Marketing Services and Research Director, Debbie McIntyre.

According to Follett: “Unless people look at an ad, it will never work. So attention is important. Advertisers can boost the impact of their ads by developing engaging and compelling ads but they can also make sure that their ads are placed in places that are most likely to be seen. We find that ads placed in relevant media environments that compliment the ad message because they sink with the task orientation of the reader, get more attention and recall.”

“SPARK Media want to help advertisers improve their understanding of different ad units to better apply metrics to their ROI strategies and to improve design to increase attention levels. Our intended outcome with this research is to get more insight on how to evaluate this,” adds Debbie.

The research and findings will be presented to the industry early next year.


Established in 2015, SPARK Media, a division of CTP Ltd, are experts in retail and location-based marketing solutions. The company owns and represents an arsenal of print products that deliver locally relevant, effective audiences for advertising clients. SPARK Media are Strategic Partners in Audience Research and Knowledge and offer ‘Insights that Ignite’.

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Sizzling Summer at Emerald!

The year is entering its last quarter and Emerald Resort & Casino is turning up the heat with their latest mind-blowing Casino promotion – Sizzling Summer – leading up to the holiday and festive season.

Green and Gold cardholders get the opportunity to play for a brand-new Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX every week when they earn 50 points while Diamond cardholders can set their sights on a fantastic Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Turbo GLX when they earn 100 weekly points.

“Our latest Casino promotion gives players the opportunity to participate in exciting Slots and Table action, competing for prizes valued at over R1.4 million in cars, cash and Freeplay,” says Tanuja Gangabishun, Marketing Executive at Emerald Resort & Casino. “The concept is exceptionally easy; earn points when playing both Slots and Tables weekly and earn tickets for the Wednesday weekly draws.”

The final of Sizzling Summer and the draw for those two magnificent Suzuki’s happens on 4 December at 13h00 and 21h00. In this draw and across all card tiers, every 1000 points accumulated across the entire promotional period, 26 September to 4 December, gets players one ticket. Additional free/bonus tickets will be added for each week of participation.

This massive promotion follows closely on the heels of the Resort’s last promotion – Birthday Bonanza – where two lucky winners drove off with a VW Polo Trendline valued at R374000 and a VW Tiguan TSI Trendline to the value R374 000.

The promotion is open to Emerald Rewards cardholders only. Sign up to the Rewards programme is free.  For more information contact 016 982 8189/90 or visit the Emerald Resort & Casino Rewards Desk.

For all up to date information on events, promotions and happenings at Emerald Resort & Casino, visitors are encouraged to stay close to their Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit for more information on any of the events mentioned here.

Emerald Resort & Casino is a licensed gambling venue. Winners know when to stop. Only persons over 18 are permitted to gamble. National Problem Gambling Counselling Toll Free Helpline 0800 006 008.

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000





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What’s a life without Likes?

Andrew Dabbs, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop

In the past few months many people may have read that Instagram and Facebook have been running trials in Canada and Australia respectively to hide the number of Likes, reactions and video views that are made to public posts. The intention is to rethink how users engage with these platforms and to make the social networks less stressful. But this goes against using the main currency that Facebook have used for the past decade, the Like.

This new tactic creates some very interesting questions for marketers because the Like has been the vanity metric that most businesses and individuals have sought for so long. With the rise of influencer marketing over the past few years, how will this influence the influencers and how will these individuals be measured? Will they use the opportunity to see, which will really just be a good guess at best, how they can actually become accountable for sales? In a developing ecommerce environment like South Africa, this will be an interesting challenge.

But maybe we don’t need Likes anymore. With the decrease of organic reach “community managers” are using Likes, reactions, shares and views as their main metrics. It is possible that Facebook and Instagram are onto something. Given lower engagement rates they could be doing themselves a service by dropping these metrics before businesses lose faith or have further questions of their platforms.

As Facebook and Instagram keep growing (this without any third party verification of their actual numbers) and continue to compete with traditional media channels for reach, perhaps this will be the new currency they use. We know that video views are a little sketchy already and there has been the question – What is the value of a Like? This being said, maybe Facebook and

Instagram have outgrown small to medium businesses in favour of chasing large corporate budgets, resulting in a change or approach. In essence change is good and as the largest social networks they need to adapt.

It will be very interesting to see if user engagement changes if those ‘Like’ numbers are removed. Are individuals more attracted to a post or page because it has lot of Likes, or are they truly interested in the content of what is being published?

Engagement has always been the better measurement, and personally I would like to see the measure of ‘Likes’ gone as it really does not mean anything to anyone except maybe our lovely influencers. What would happen to all the models of Instagram and Facebook? Perhaps they’ll need a change in career with no filters!

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SPARK Media hosts Michael Charton in #RWC forgotten Bokke vs New Zealand tales

#RWC2019 fever is in the air, and if you’re a rugby lover or history enthusiast, this one is for you. Join SPARK Media and master storyteller, Michael Charton, for a captivating tale about the forgotten Springbok tour of New Zealand more than 80 years ago.

Taking place at the Bryanston Country Club mid-October, Michael’s story breathes new life into the famous rivalry between rugby’s two giants: the All Blacks and the Springboks. It celebrates rugby’s amateur era and the associated gentlemanly conduct.

“For fans across the globe, the Springbok – All Blacks rivalry is long standing, marked by high anticipation each time these two giants clash. The 1937 tour in particular is a fascinating story to hear and told so expertly by Michael Charton, the founder of Inherit South Africa, a platform for sharing untold South African stories,” says SPARK Media CEO Gill Randall.

“Michael is also the author of My Father’s Coat, a bite-sized narrative of South Africa. We’re looking forward to hosting him, our clients and agency partners to what promises to be a very insightful evening.”

If you’d like to reserve a space please contact Shaundre at


Established in 2015, SPARK Media, a division of CTP Ltd, are experts in retail and location-based marketing solutions. The company owns and represents an arsenal of print products that deliver locally relevant, effective audiences for advertising clients. SPARK Media are Strategic Partners in Audience Research and Knowledge and offer ‘Insights that Ignite’

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Emerald proudly hosts the CANSA Rainbow Breast Walk

On Saturday, 26 October 2019, Emerald Resort & Casino will once again be hosting the annual CANSA Rainbow Breast Walk in order to honour breast cancer survivors and raise the awareness of this disease.

According to statistics from the National Cancer Registry (NCR) 2014, the top five cancers affecting women in SA include: breast, cervical, colorectal, uterine and lung cancer. Both breast and cervical cancer have been identified as a national priority with increasing incidences occurring.

“Approximately 19.4 million women aged 15 years and older are at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Tanuja Gangabishun, Marketing Executive at Emerald Resort & Casino. “These are staggering numbers and awareness needs to be increased dramatically!”

The CANSA Breast Walk is a 5km walk and all are invited. Traditionally, everyone is asked to show their support by wearing pink on the day. Emerald Resort & Casino prides itself on being the entertainment destination for the entire family, and as such the event is even extended to our four-legged, furry friends who are welcome to join their owners for this 5km walk.

Date:               26 October 2019

Venue:             Emerald Resort & Casino

Time:               Registration 07:00 Walk starts: 08h00 until 14h00

Price:               R150 per person, Children under 12 years R50 per person

“We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to once again make a difference and increase the awareness of this disease. I encourage everyone to contribute to The Cancer Association of South Africa in their personal capacity on their website*,” says Tanuja.

For all up to date information on events, promotions and happenings at Emerald Resort & Casino, visitors are encouraged to stay close to their Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit for more information on any of the events mentioned here.


Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000





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rooi rose announces second season of rrRadio

rooi rose magazine, part of Caxton Magazines, is proud to announce the second season of rrRADIO, the first, free Afrikaans podcast channel for women, launching on 8 October 2019.  “The response to our first season was overwhelmingly positive from our listeners”, says  rrRADIO Executive Producer and Deputy Editor of rooi rose, Hannelie Diedericks. “It’s been amazing to see the downloads and impression numbers; across the channel; double every month and I can see the growth trend continue with the new additions we have planned for season 2. We are aiming to reach 30 000 to 40 000 impressions per month by the end of 2019.”

rrRADIO Season 2 will consist of 4 series:

  1. Dans met die rooi rok (Dance with the red dress)

Category: Serial fiction

20 Episodes

Episode length: 30 – 40 minutes

In this enthralling and suspenseful series, narrated by well-known TV and radio presenter, Bettie Kemp, we are introduced to Amelie du Raan.  Amelie walks away from her abusive boss and husband and moves to an old house in the countryside with her children. Here she is confronted with ghosts from her past. The first episode will air on 10 October.

  1. Ka-tjieng! (Ka-ching!)

Category: Financial advice

10 Episodes

Episode length: 30 – 40 minutes

Our seasoned financial journalist, Anet Schoeman, and various experts help listeners to make sense of all the possible financial pitfalls that they may come across. Each episode will tackle a specific topic which is relevant to every busy, modern woman’s life and financial wellbeing. The first episode will air on 18 October.

  1. Tussen Ons 2 (Between Us 2)

Category: Female health & wellness, body positivity

20 Episodes

Episode length: 25 – 40 minutes

In the second season our specialist journalist, Mariette Snyman, talks with various experts and inspirational women about how women can feel happier in their bodies, regardless of their age, background or body type. The first episode will air on 8 October.

  1. Tee & Taai Toffies (Tea & Sympathy)

Category: Celebrities, lifestyle, relationship advice

10 Episodes

Episode length: 45 – 60 minutes

Celebrities open up to our veteran journalist Ilse Salzwedel about their lives. In the second half of the episode they attempt to give relationship advice to listeners. We promise a listener’s experience filled with compassion and humour. The series will continue on 23 October.

RrRADIO is available wherever you listen to podcasts and can be streamed directly from

E-mail for more information.

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