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South Africa’s Covid-19 Tracing app – would you download it?

Jarred Mailer-Lyons, Head of Digital at The MediaShop

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, scientists are working around the clock to develop a cure, and on the other side of the spectrum – independent developers and multinational corporations are working at the same pace to develop apps and services related to contact tracing. Closer to home, President Ramaphosa has encouraged his citizens to download SA’s Covid-19 tracing app.

Despite the influx of Covid-19 related apps recently, there seems to be a general census globally that there is a lack of transparency with certain apps when it comes to the collection of personal data.

Of course, multibillion dollar organisations like Google and Apple have very strict guidelines about compliancy regarding the protection of personal information and I am quite sure that if you do a Google search on data protection laws that govern any of these multinational tech giants you’ll be able to find a long list of reading material which may provide some reassurance to some.

But what’s interesting and I speak from personal experience, is that these tech giants have created a sense of trust with their consumers when it comes to their data protection policies – of course there are those instances when it comes to a breach in their data protection and privacy which make some a little more weary than others but the question is, has it ever prompted you to take any action by closing your account or unlinking a profile?

Probably not – and the fact is that sometimes as consumers and even more so South Africans we’re a little more trusting than others and that’s because we have some sort of expectation that reputable organisations like these tech giants, banking institutions and even online stores will respect our right to privacy and they very much do for the most part, that is of course under their control.

We do however live in a world where, when it comes to technology there is unfortunately no guarantee that any personal information that is stored on some cloud is actually 100% safeguarded, and in South Africa it really is no different. Just a few days back, news broke that Experian, a consumer, business and credit information service agency suffered the largest and most significant data breach South Africa had ever experienced – exposing personal information of approximately 24 million South Africans and nearly 800,000 business entities to a suspected fraudster.

So what does this all mean for the average citizen who is potentially going to be required by law later down the line to download the South African Covid-19 Tracing app and use their Bluetooth to track who they have been in contact with… well thankfully the technology is backed by the cutting edge exposure notification system that has been created by Apple and Google. The technology uses Bluetooth to notify users if they have been in contact with someone who may have tested positive for Covid-19.

When it comes to tech, there are always going to be advantages and disadvantages with varying technologies but the advantage of a Bluetooth based system, in terms of privacy, is that it doesn’t depend on collecting location data, and so the individual identities of people are not supposedly tied to contact events. Rather the tracing apps that come into contact with each other through this technology would upload random tracing numbers which could be matched back at a later stage once someone tests positive for Covid-19. Not a surprising approach by the SA Government after the passing of the POPI Act in July 2020.

Currently the app uses Bluetooth and geolocation to collect a user’s personal information and that is then stored within their mobile devices in a model that is known as self-sovereignty identity. The technology is essentially used to manage digital identities which means that the individual users have control over the manner and method in which their personal information is kept and used because the personal data is stored on their mobile device, without the need to rely on a central repository – putting the user in control of their data. Similarly, in the case of the Covid-19 tracing app, the personal information is saved on the user’s personal device and not on a centralised private or government owned database – meaning that the personal information never physically leaves the device and, in a way, protecting the privacy of individuals in line with the POPI Act.

What’s particularly interesting is that the Covid-19 app is a voluntary based one and only for download on smartphones. You’re probably thinking well not everyone has access to a smartphone in SA but we’ve definitely come a long way over the past couple of years with the past two years being at an all-time high for smartphone penetration. We saw an increase by almost 10% between 2018 and 2019 reaching 91.2% of the SA population, according to the ICASA report 2020.

Sure, it’s not the entire population that has access to smartphones but it’s a very significant portion which make sense as to why this route was chosen and we know how often people are browsing on their mobile devices. If we just take a look at the latest Global Web Index report in 2020, the average time spent on a mobile device in SA is sitting an all-time high of 4:06 on average. Of course, data has always been a contentious issue due to the rising costs which has somewhat excluded a large portion of the population from having access but the fact that telco networks have zero-rated the download and usage of the app also make it more widely available to the SA population.

We know that the roll out of a Covid-19 app is not the end solution, it’s not the cure or even the vaccination that will keep this pandemic at bay but for me it’s an opportunity to understand how this pandemic can affect you and those you come into contact with. For many, it’s always difficult putting into perspective the effect it will have on you, your family, friends, community and country until it hits home.

So regardless of whether the app ends up containing the spread of the virus, for me it’s about actually seeing the spread of the virus captured through data as opposed to coming into contact with someone who is infected and being completely blind to it. The app will give a realistic view of the spread in real time.

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Are relationships more important than brand quality and price?

Louise Hefer, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop

I was driving past an informal settlement not so long ago. The vibrant energy that emits from the sidewalks is tangible with the hustle and bustle of street vendors and people going about their daily tasks.

What I always find interesting is the close proximity of each hawker to one another. In this case, I was looking at four hawkers selling similar items ranging from fresh fruits, peanuts and amagwinya to skopas (my personal favourite) while sitting roughly two metres apart from each other. This made me wonder – in such a close proximity, how do you ensure a person buys your product over someone else’s, especially when there’s no real differentiation?

Normally in cases like this, we’re quick to look at international case studies and best practices. We call on the big brands like Nike, Apple and Amazon to help us navigate and look at how they might approach certain scenarios. We don’t necessarily always notice what’s right on our doorstep, pulling insights from people that sit right next to us or that we might come in contact with.

Consumer needs and decision-making processes don’t vary from when they buy something from the formal sector to when they buy from the informal sector. I do believe there’s a lot of take-outs we can apply across the board, instead of always referring to international best practices. It’s important to speak to a few people to try and get some understanding of the dynamics when engaging in such a scenario.

When looking at the hawker scenario, most of the time the starting price for any product is the same between the four different hawkers. So, what then makes a person buy from the one and not the other? It basically boils down to two factors; the quality of the product (especially when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables), and the relationship with the hawker. We can easily translate this scenario into any environment where consumers have to make purchase decisions.

The quality of a product over another has a huge impact on the decision-making process, especially when money is tight. The product needs to deliver on every cent spent and ensures it doesn’t disappoint. Moving from functional delivery to emotional delivery, the relationship a person has with a brand is another important factor to keep in mind. If they feel comfortable with what you’re saying and how you’re making them feel, they’ll naturally gravitate towards you without thinking about it too much. Yes, price will always play a factor but we shouldn’t discount (see what I did there?) the actual product and relationships.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you know there’s no real differentiation in the product you offer compared to your closest competitor, and there is no room for improvement on product quality, the last and ultimate chance you might have with a person is based on your relationship with them. Do they like what you’re saying and how you’re saying it? Do they feel comfortable in your presence and is there a sense of trust? If you manage to get this right, there’s little that anyone else can do to break that bond!

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Never underestimate the power of showing that you care

Megan Walker, Senior Media Strategist at The MediaShop

The Oxford dictionary defines loss as “the state of no longer having something, or as much of something; the process that leads to this”.

When I was recently asked to submit an article for the blog, with a submission deadline in September 2020, it won’t surprise anyone that as potential subject choices ran through my mind, all things Corona Virus were at the forefront.

This topic has been done to death some might say…and yes, many articles have been written on the losses faced and those still to come as a result of the social and economic impacts of Covid-19. Including the many ways we humans have suffered both physically and psychologically, and are subsequently reflecting on the changes to our world. Many of which will have lasting impact.

My subject choice may not be new, but this article is a chance to share my personal perspective. I write from the perspective of someone who experienced the loss of two friends through the course of lock down; and personally, got sick, tested positive and experienced a rough three weeks due to the Corona Virus.

But it’s not the fact I got sick that is the crux of my article – what I want to voice is my perspective as someone privileged to work for a company that has not just demonstrated dedication to managing the physical fallout of Covid-19 in terms of job security, client management and company sustainability; but also to the emotional and physiological health of its employees. The recent series of webinars on ‘Managing Stress and Loss’ that have been facilitated by the company, with some amazing guest speakers, is the most tangible demonstration of this CARE and concern.

The new ‘socially distanced’ way of working, and being away from our colleagues can make us feel lonely. But on the flip side, history tells us that society can be socially cohesive in times of crisis. By encouraging us to think less about our own interests and more about the interests of others, a shared sense of togetherness has been created. This in itself has led people to look past their differences and collectively respond to the challenges they face.

On a personal level, my own colleagues within the Cape Town office have been nothing short of amazing in showing their true colours. There have been countless examples of everyday care which I have been privy to in the past months. Times where the team has had each other’s backs when someone needed help with work load, or to get advice or bounce an idea off someone, or just to lend an ear when someone needed to de-compress. And the result of this is, that we all feel bonded to each other more than ever before.

This aspect of demonstrating care is not just relevant in our one on one interactions or personal interactions; but also, its more important than ever for BRANDS. Accenture Strategy’s Global Consumer Pulse Research , revealed that consumers, across all generations, care about what retailers say and how they act. At this time of intense uncertainty, the key attributes that underpin trust in a brand are different than even a month ago. Building trust and loyalty in a time of crisis can make or break a brand. When asked what factors make consumers trust brands more, the top three responses focused on the well-being of customers, the well-being of employees, and not taking advantage of the crisis to maximize profits; in other words – CARE.

Organisations showing up for their employees is one of the top reasons that consumers trust any given brand. Recent data shows that during uncertainty, workers are looking to employers and managers to lead even more than they are looking to governments and other organizations for direction.

And consumers are watching. A recent Qualtrics survey shows that 54% of them say they are concerned with how employers are treating their employees in this time of crisis. Better treatment fuels brand trust, with 48% indicating they trust brands more when they take care of their employees. And the same holds true for genuine concern demonstrated (not just expressed) by a brand for its customers.

In the face of the Covid-19 crisis, brands must figure out how they can help, and what actions can be taken that are consistent with their values and abilities. Brands have an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of trust with consumers. It’s logical that if a person genuinely feels a sense of care and community from friends, family and colleagues that it strengthens our bonds and commitments to each other; that brands demonstrating genuine care will benefit from strengthened customer bonds and loyalty too.

To borrow from the words of the British chancellor Rishi Sunak, I believe that those that rise to the occasion will be able “…to look back on this time and remember how, in the face of a generation-defining moment, we undertook a collective effort, and we stood together”.

Demonstrating CARE may be an important human and consumer insight that is more relevant than ever right now – but it will always be important, therefore let this shared sense of care be one of the new habits that continues long into the future.

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Womandla: The Revolution shall be Tweeted

Sinenhlanhla Jalibane Digital Campaign Manager at The MediaShop

Strength, resilience, freedom, risk, power and intelligence are some of the words that describe the power and force of women.

History has shown that women united brings about change. Throughout history, women have taken to the streets to protest for their rights and equality https://www.thelily.com/five-womens-marches-throughout-history-that-triggered-political-change/

In our own country of South Africa, the 1956 Women’s March played a vital role in women becoming more visible participants in not only the anti-apartheid struggle but in proving their worth and influence as vehicles of change. The march also made several female leaders visible in the struggle against apartheid, particularly Lilian Ngoyi and Helen Joseph. These women showed that there cannot be change and reconstruction without leaders who are willing to take risks and have a lasting effect on their citizen’s lives, regardless of gender!

The pressure for upcoming generations has always been how do we follow from these great women who have passed the baton onto to us? The women who dared to fight against gender norms and pay equality. Well, it seems that these great revolutions have now moved from the streets to the hashtags…

The next generation has carried on the legacy of these women and brought about change through social media. Movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, founded by women and for women, offer a greater voice to tackling issues related to Gender Based Violence, Gender Inequality, anti-Black racism and many more.

Women defy adversity and precarity and they have proven this by springing back from any crisis or challenge they are forced to confront. The women of 1956 set a good example of resilience which the female founders of movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo would have faced head-on. The globe has shaken and these movements not only show resilience, but strength and power in a world still dominated by men. They ensure women’s voices are heard and that today everyone knows about it.

With all the current movements and causes taking place around the world, governments are starting to recognise and prove that they stand with women to eradicate inequality, Gender Based Violence, and many more issues. Our President, Cyril Ramaphosa has asked everyone to play their part in the Women Empowerment campaign, with the goal of achieving new behaviours by 2030. Part of this campaign will be to achieve gender equality and busting stereotypes of women in the workplace. Equality goes beyond just women being in managerial positions or fair treatment at work and equal pay.

There is a long history of gender imbalance but the tide is slowly turning and it’s good to note that a change over the years has been made and seen. The MediaShop has also risen to the challenge, ensuring that change within the organisation happens. The company has shown the change women have been longing for, of not only having women in leadership and management positions but of women taking part in everything the organisation does. Our Park Advertising Umsebenzi on Friday, 14th Aug showed this growth and change.

Women across industries, backgrounds and the world, have one thing in common and that is challenging power structures and creating long-lasting impact. Many names come to mind when thinking about women who’ve created long-lasting impact, including Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Harriet Tubman and Winnie Mandela.

Social media is a platform that is aiding the rising awareness of social change and bringing about justice for women as they continue to challenge stereotypes. There is still a lot to done but the fist is raised towards this struggle and thumbs are vehicles of carrying this message for all women, ensuring that across all spheres, our voices are being heard.

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Self-care Sundays and how brands can get involved

Tsholofelo Mmusi, Junior Media Planner at The MediaShop

We often think of self-care as that well-deserved two-week holiday once a year or perhaps twice a year if you’re lucky. We often live for the ‘next holiday’ or ‘hold on for leave’ without realising that we need to rest regularly, because our minds and bodies do not postpone stress that is built up from our daily lives. The mind cannot wait for a two-week holiday that is six months away! And with the new setup of working from home (which has blurred the lines between work and home time), self-care is an essential – now more than ever!

Over the past few months, self-care or self-love Sundays (#SelfcareSunday) has been trending on social media, with different personal care brands leveraging on the hashtag by having social media influencers use their products to pamper themselves and show the brand as purposeful, in aid of personal wellbeing.

One particular partnership that worked well is @artofsuperwoman and MSLONDON Cosmetics, where different products were featured on Instagram with a short write up of each and an option to purchase the product right from the post. While there is great potential for various brands to use #SelfcareSundays to drive awareness and trial use by audiences, #SelfcareSundays has proven that it’s not just what a product can do, but rather what emotional experience it brings to an individual.

There are many other brands that can leverage from the hashtag, as people do different things to unwind and feel good about themselves. Other brands or products that could showcase under the hashtag are:

Musicians – Artists can push their music as a tool for relaxation and dancing which is a great form of self-care.

Hiking trails – Some people prefer to being outdoors in order to feel calm and peaceful, so this is a great opportunity for the likes of Hennops Hiking Trail and others to be showcased as self-care tools, of course within compliance of the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Authors- “Reading gives us some place to go, when we have to stay where we are” according to Mason Coley. A good book is sometimes all that one needs to escape in a healthy way.

The lockdown has exposed us to a new normal, and with the number of COVID-19 positive cases increasing on a daily basis, we are certainly all affected even if we’re not infected. We need to take care of our minds and our bodies right now. The lockdown has also given us new roles – I personally have become a trusted cook and a baker, (please don’t ask me what I ate before this lol). Others have become cleaners, teachers, and even principals in their own right.

In an industry that is nothing short of pressurised, I realised the importance of being intentional about taking time to care for myself and do what I love; giving my mind and body the rest it needs. We all know that you cannot give from an empty vessel. We need to refill and refuel in order to be able to give ourselves and our creativity to the world again.

With more people realising the importance of being intentional about taking time to take care of themselves and do what they love, more brands are finding ways to sell not just the product, but their brand’s emotional attachment and experience too.

Sundays are the perfect days to self-care as it allows us to wrap up a week and start the new week on a fresh clean slate.

 Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you: Anne Lamott

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The Monkey Bread Tree

Jedd Cokayne, Business Unit Director at The MediaShop

Jedd Cokayne says not all brands are created equal and that a distinctive brand will be the most successful during 2020.

As we move into the latter part of the year, we reflect more and more on the events that have taken place that determine how we live our lives, do business, how we conduct ourselves when leaving the house and consider safety procedures we have to follow in order to stay safe and healthy. The virtual watercooler chat is all about social distancing, sanitising, modulated education and the main topic of course is what the remainder of 2020 will look like. For me, the biggest changes are around the inability to interact with my friends and family, work colleagues and clients and not having the opportunity to go to the bush. Cabin Fever is truly setting in.

While I ponder over when I will ever get to the bush again and the fond memories I have of my travels, I think of one of the most iconic silhouettes on the African landscape – the Baobab tree, also known as the Tabaldi, Bottle tree, Upside Down Tree or the Monkey Bread Tree. The Baobab can grow up to heights of 20m and carbon dating indicates that it may live to be a staggering 3000 years old.

With an entire ecosystem within it from birds nesting in the branches to baboons devouring the fruits, Bush Babies drinking the nectar from the flowers and elephants eating the bark, this is one of the most distinctive trees in Africa easily recognisable by travellers around the world.

This distinctiveness leads me to the content of this article and the upward battle all brands are facing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have read so much about marketing in a recession, how brands are reacting to new consumer behaviours and potentially what the new norm is, but what many brands are forgetting is the one thing that makes them stand head and shoulders above their competitors – that which creates their distinctiveness and potentially further develops brand loyalty.

All brands like to think they are unlike any other, but that’s usually not the case. What does make a brand unique are its distinctive brand assets. These act as an invaluable shorthand for a brand, it’s a cue for consumers to bring all their previous experiences and associated meaning of a brand to the fore and influence that purchase decision.

Now more than ever, distinctiveness is key to helping a brand stay afloat in very tough economic conditions. We forget how important various brand assets are in keeping the brand alive in the eyes of the consumer whether it is a name, a slogan, unique value proposition, visual characteristic or a logo, all of these things make a brand unique.

But how do we determine what a brand asset actually is from the various brand elements within a company? Each brand element needs to be unique, authentically associated and well known to consumers while representing the brand. Assets seek to reinforce the brand’s core values and convey the benefits it promises to deliver.

While brands are trying to develop new ways of working because of the pandemic, this is an ideal time for them to consolidate and identify those distinctive assets that will not only help them survive the current situation but also reinforce it and become competitive again in the future.

  1. Ruthlessly audit your existing brand elements or what you perceive to be distinctive. Remember to include historical icons etc that may still ring true for the brand.
  2. Your consumers are a great gauge of what is distinct about your brand, get feedback from them and collect data that can help in the future.
  3. The faster people make the association between individual brand assets and a brand, the more likely your market share will grow and not just your category awareness.

The below table is from the Ehrenberg Bass Institute (EBI) for Marketing Science and a great way of assessing brand assets and determining if they are worthy of highlighting or casting aside.

Once those brand assets have been identified and developed, leverage them and reap the rewards.

  1. Use them consistently across all marketing campaigns, channels and touchpoints available.
  2. Evaluate them often and rely on real feedback from your target market.
  3. Keep an eye on competitors and ensure you are agile. They are happy to hijack your ideas especially if they aren’t protected.
  4. Be smart when you introduce a new brand asset and ensure you run it with the brand name until you can measure the brand association.
  5. Take ownership of the brand.

Within a short space of time the marketing rule book has changed and what worked yesterday may not necessarily work today or tomorrow. The key to success is adaptability and the reliance on your brand’s distinctiveness to influence the buyer’s journey.

We previously mentioned that consumer behaviour has dramatically changed over the past four months but by utilising brand assets correctly with nurtured messaging at a decision-making juncture, will help consumer’s link the benefits and value propositions of your brand at the point of purchase and help protect your brand through the turbulent waters of 2020.

So, as we face this one day at a time spare a thought for the Monkey Bread Tree and all the changes they have had to endure and adapted accordingly over the thousands of years they have been around.

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Stop Hate for Profit?

Moti Grauman, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop

Moti Grauman from The MediaShop says advertisers that have halted their spend on Facebook to ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ is ambiguous.

While the intent is clear, i.e. corporates need to stop supporting an organisation that is alleged to allow hateful content on their site for the sake of profit – it may also imply that stopping hate is in itself profitable.

Actually, it’s a bit of both, and savvy advertisers will know exactly where they stand.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign has for all intents and purposes built up significant steam. There are according to the Movement’s website almost 400 companies participating in the initiative, who are pulling their ad spend during July or, and in some cases, beyond. This supposedly accounts for an estimated 98% of Facebook’s $70 Billion annual ad revenue.

The obvious question is will it make a difference and force Facebook to take more responsibility for the content that it allows to be published?

It would seem, according to a recent article on Gizmodo, that participation means different things to different companies and that the impact of the initiative is likely to fall short as a result. The article reports that a number of companies will pause their ad spend on Facebook while still advertising on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook). Other brands will exclude Instagram but continue to make use of Facebook’s Audience Network – you see the conundrum. For some global companies their stand may mean pausing US Facebook ad spend while continuing their advertising in other countries.

The result is that any impact will be severely mitigated as a result of ad revenue simply being redirected rather than stopped altogether. And this makes perfect sense. Why would any brand with responsibilities to their stakeholders stop advertising on a platform for an entire month or more if the results of that ad spend were significantly positive? Of course, positive results could be “undone” if the mere association with a platform made their brand look bad. To some, it’s not a question of believing inherently in the Stop Hate for Profit movement, but one of saving face. Effective advertising through the platform can continue while distancing itself from the Facebook brand.

No matter which side of the fence you sit, there is a question that needs answering: “Can (big) brands afford not to have Facebook in their media plans? And therefore: “What are the costs of taking a stand?”

Grace Kite writes on Marketing Week that: “for some companies social media is critical while for others it makes very little difference.” That’s obvious, but the key is knowing where “you” are.

The product type, and the target market are predictably the strongest determinants of the importance of social media.

For some brands, social media is really very effective at driving sales, but for others it isn’t effective at all. Econometric studies show that ROI is much more variable for social media than it is for almost all other channels.

That isn’t a bad thing in itself. It just means that advertisers need to ensure they can reach the right end of the ROI range or else reallocate spend to other channels where returns are more reliable.

Facebook’s own research doesn’t address when it’s best to use the channel versus not, so evidence from econometrics projects is helpful. This uniquely allows a comparison of effectiveness across media channels and untangles indirect effects like a TV ad driving people to click on a Facebook ad. With a more accurate view of ROI in hand, it’s clear there are some types of advertisers that should consider avoiding social media even in normal times.

It is low interest categories like insurance, politics, banking and toilet paper that see small effects of social advertising and therefore investment that sometimes doesn’t pay back. On the other hand, high interest categories like beer, TV, and video games see much bigger effects.

As Matthew Chappell from Gain Theory put it: “There does appear to be some statistically significant skew towards higher interest goods like cars and high interest FMCG plus, as you’d expect, companies who sell more online do better on social.”

The demographic of the target audience matters too. Younger people are more likely to be persuaded by advertising on Facebook versus other channels. In our experience, the converse is also true. Older people are much less likely to be convinced on this channel.

And then there are some social media campaigns that get an ROI boost because they have a long-lasting effect on sales. We’ve seen video rich social campaigns work like TV in some cases, with effects lingering for more than six months.

This is a feature of social video that we as an industry need to understand better. As linear TV audiences decline and ad-free subscription TV grows, the role of social video in brand building will become more important.

In the examples we’ve seen, YouTube has been a key platform in driving long term effects rather than Facebook. If this is a wider pattern, it could be driven by view-through rates being higher on YouTube and sound being switched on by default, but there is much still to learn.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see whether any of the brands that boycott Facebook this month report declining sales as a result. This could well be the case for Coca-Cola, North Face and Adidas, which have relatively young audiences that play in relatively high interest categories.

Other brands might not notice the difference, especially with the effect of Covid-19 and associated lockdowns still reverberating through the economy.

Either way, all brands considering investment into Facebook need to experiment and evaluate, and not only using the platform’s own tools. Dispassionate analysis that can compare social against other media channels which will help marketers navigate these turbulent times.

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RECMA identifies one South African agency in latest release

Being recognised as the best media agency in your country is a fantastic achievement. Being recognised as a top contender on a global scale is even better. Being the only South African media agency on that global list is the best!

 Global research company RECMA, which evaluates the performance of media agencies around the world, has identified The MediaShop as number nine on its Top 16 Standalone agencies that are part of groups. This is a phenomenal achievement considering the calibre of independent media agencies in South Africa.

The study also confirmed The MediaShop’s market share at 14.6% of the South African market, a higher share than any other international agency listed in this Top 16.

The Debrief, released on the 16th July is a specific analysis separate to its annual performance ranking of 900 media agencies around 50 countries. The MediaShop, while partly owned by the IPG Group, is a mostly locally owned and a standalone agency.

“As a majority locally owned media agency, The MediaShop is a proudly South African business that is well known for pioneering and innovating thinking,” says shareholder and board chairman Bonang Mohale. “In a market as unique as South Africa it’s imperative that any media agency is able to make autonomous, quick and decisive decisions for clients based on its local current climate at any given point. This is just one factor that sets The MediaShop apart. As a collective we’d like to congratulate The MediaShop team for once again placing the agency firmly on the world map of media agency excellence.”

The MediaShop:

The MediaShop is South Africa’s most established, most awarded, most transformed media agency, and member of the Nahana Communications Group of specialist agencies, each with their own independent structures, cultures and management teams, and a desire to work together where synergy exists.

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Made in… purpose

Arisha Saroop, Managing Director of The MediaShop Durban

Kantar’s Covid Barometer research shows that South Africans want brands to be purpose-led and practical, using their resources to help and inform during the global pandemic we find ourselves in.

Arisha Saroop, Managing Director of The MediaShop Durban shares a few examples of global and South African brands that have reinvented to be more purpose led.

The Covid-19 crisis has left its mark on virtually every single industry around the world and on all levels from a social, health and economic perspective. As some economies ground to a halt and others are still recovering from imposed lockdowns, there is no doubt that this pandemic challenges our ordinary and brands, like individuals, are being forced to re-examine every aspect of their daily operations, find new ways to survive, adapt, offer purposeful existence and maintain relevance within our new reality.

The majority of clothing and accessories stores were initially considered non-essential, and employment in this already struggling sector fell by 58.9% from February to April this year as per Business Insider research – it’s no wonder then that this sector had to take the leap of adaptability during these unprecedented times.

With no social gatherings fighting for RSVP’s – couture wardrobe and designer accessories have taken space at the back of the cupboard. Given the increased need for personal protective items; international and local design houses have evolved their offerings to stay relevant, purposeful and to deliver a supportable service.

Internationally, Tommy Hilfiger has donated 10 000 T-shirts to Covid-19 front line healthcare workers – in an effort to provide a change of clothes for those between shifts or just to freshen up from their daily PPE wear. In addition to this, they’ve launched a special capsule collection with 100% of sale proceeds going towards pandemic relief efforts.

Renowned French luxury conglomerate LVMH, known for their handbags and champers – swopped their leather and bubbles by converting three of their perfume manufacturing facilities, usually reserved for Christian Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain fragrances, into hand sanitizer production factories. These were given at no charge to the largest hospital system in Europe and to French authorities. Keeping staff employed and responding to public interest is what has kept this luxury brand purposeful and relevant.

It didn’t just stop at production though as one might have assumed; British brand Burberry has vouched to use its global supply chain network to deliver over 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS, and additionally, Burberry is also funding research into a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford.

Closer to home, Polo South Africa’s shirt factory in Atlantis Cape Town, recently pledged to provide 250 000 reusable and washable cotton face masks to essential service providers and at-risk commuters. Even though the masks are not medical grade, these indispensable items provide safety in reducing the virus spread. L’Oréal SA recently introduced a new range of hand sanitizers under its natural brand Garnier that will be donated to the South African Covid-19 Solidarity Fund to assist frontline workers. Iconic couture designer Gavin Rajah under his NPO White Light Movement trains victims of gender-based violence to make fabric face masks – the profits from the sales of these items assist them economically and the families they support.

Kantar’s Covid Barometer research provides insight into consumer behaviour that South Africans want brands to be purpose-led and practical, using their resources to help and inform.

Each of these brands have shown purpose in their adaption; either by utilizing their resources for alternate production or supporting a just cause towards the fight against the invisible pandemic – this has no doubt been for the greater good of the consumers and the brand.

This proactive reaction has kept the lights on for businesses in many aspects – by keeping their staff employed, supporting the local economy, producing essential items, staying relevant and most importantly, adding to their existence and purpose!

For consumers, such adaptions and purpose driven production translates to brands that care. A renewed brand purpose is reassuring during times of crisis, as consumers may not be buying today – however when we do return to “business as usual” we will remember and reward brands that offered meaningful sustainable support.

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The MediaShop and Nedbank deliver next level media thinking

In a recent campaign, The MediaShop and client Nedbank displayed just how great minds think differently, while delivering some next level media planning for a South African TV first.

DSTV viewers were quite surprised when they experienced a completely new form of advertising while pausing their favourite series on DStv’s Catch Up service. In a first for the South African television industry, DStv launched its ‘Pause Screens’ function where, in the Catch Up environment, viewers are served an advert when pause is pressed on the remote. The MediaShop together with client Nedbank were quick to take advantage of this new concept by purchasing the first Paused Screen campaign.

According to Gareth Grant, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop, Nedbank has always been willing to test new and innovative platforms that others may not. Over lockdown The MediaShop progressed this idea with the DStv Media Sales team. “Being first to market for Nedbank and ourselves was important because together as we consider both companies thought leaders and pioneers within the media industry. To make it easier, the DStv Media Sales team have always been a real pleasure to work with, not only through this process but with everything that we throw at them.

We were exceptionally pleased with the results of the campaign. We know that viewers make use of the pause facility often, whether on live TV or within the Catch Up environment and this is a fantastic way to make use of that on-screen time! Suitable Catch Up series were selected based on the target market and each delivered their fair number of impacts*.

We practice what we preach when we say that we believe there is always a better way to connect our clients’ brands with their consumers. As respected specialists in the industry and as demonstrated in the Nedbank campaign, together with pioneering clients we’ve delivered revolutionary solutions.”

*Impacts – A measure of viewing to commercial spots. Impacts are added together to give the total number of impacts delivered by a particular advertising campaign.

 The MediaShop:

The MediaShop is South Africa’s most established, most awarded, most transformed media agency, and member of the Nahana Communications Group of specialist agencies, each with their own independent structures, cultures and management teams, and a desire to work together where synergy exists.

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