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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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Local pub and grill Gas Monkey moves to Emerald!

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that Emerald Resort & Casino welcomes the popular and iconic, Gas Monkey Pub & Grill to the Resort! The move is currently underway with an expected opening towards the end of September.

Taking over the previous space that Sports Bar and Breeze occupied, Gas Monkey are in the process of converting the Breeze area into the new dining and bar space while the Sports Bar gets transformed into a space for music, entertainment, DJ’s and dancing over weekends.

“Visitors to the Resort will see some large scale changes happening where Breeze and Sports Bar used to be,“ says  Mark Hands, Resort Director at Emerald Resort & Casino. “Work has already begun on the transformation and we expect Gas Monkey will be serving their very first signature dishes and drinks as soon as the end of September.”

According to owners of Gas Monkey, Graham Duncan and Shawn Delport, discussions with Emerald Resort & Casino have been ongoing for over 12 months as they had outgrown their current location and with the further need for social distancing, things just did not stack up.

“It is a rare opportunity to be able to work with a brand like Emerald Resort & Casino and we intend to grow Gas Monkey even further given the opportunity that we now have. Over and above this new space being a lot larger than our old one, there are a number of other advantages to the move. These include introducing a children’s play area, a large outside area under the Lapa which will not be affected by the rain or cold, the opportunity to have live entertainment again, separation of the dining area from the dancing area and more importantly a much better experience for our valued customers.”

The menu has had an overhaul too with many new dishes added. The dining area will focus on family and the new menu reflects this dining experience. “We’ll also be taking over the wood fired oven outside to serve pizza, which is a totally new aspect to our offering.”

As before, signature dishes include various delicious Jaffles and Monkey Pots of different sorts. The speciality Gatsbys and Signature Burger is something that everyone must try, not forgetting the popular Hulk/Monkey juice. The pub and grill is renowned for this secret alcoholic slushy which is bound to get visitors coming back for more. Yet another first on offer will be their thirst quenching cocktails, available on tap.

“The whole ethos of Gas Monkey in terms of catering to families, fits in so well with our views and offerings that families have come to expect at the Resort,” concludes Mark. “We look forward to working together closely with Graham and Shawn to provide our guests with even more entertainment and culinary experiences.”

Graham concludes: ”We would like to take a moment to thank Emerald Resort & Casino for this great opportunity and especially our loyal customers for their support over the past three and a half years, we truly appreciate everyone’s support and hope to see everyone enjoying themselves at our new venue and home – soon.”

View all of the Health and Safety regulations* on the Emerald Resort & Casino website at www.emeraldcasino.co.za

For all other up to date information visitors are encouraged to stay close to their Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit www.emeraldcasino.co.za for more information on any of the events mentioned here.

*https://www.emeraldcasino.co.za/covid-19-updates/health-and-safety

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000

Website                       www.emeraldcasino.co.za

Facebook:                   http://www.facebook.com/Emerald.Resort.Casino

Twitter:                        https://twitter.com/emerald_resort

LinkedIn:                     https://www.linkedin.com/company/emerald-resort-&-casino/

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Emerald reopens leisure adventure!

As South Africa moves into Lockdown Level 2, Emerald Resort & Casino is pleased to announce that numerous leisure activities have now reopened to the public. Here’s what visitors to the Resort can expect under Lockdown Level 2 conditions!

“It’s amazing how we took leisure activities for granted before the onset of the pandemic, especially here in South Africa, where we are so used to an outdoors lifestyle,” says Tanuja Gangabishun, Marketing Executive at Emerald Resort & Casino. “We understand and have keenly felt the impact that lockdown has had on the tourism industry and are exceptionally grateful as we seem to be getting over the peak of the pandemic and can now move into a less restrictive regime.”

Besides the casino, all of Emerald Resort & Casino’s various accommodation offerings are open for leisure stays to anyone within South Africa. This includes the Hotel, Bush Lodges and River Resort Chalets. For those staying over and feeling hungry, breakfast buffets will be manned by a Chef while the Hotel room service is available.

Leisure activities include:

  • Game Drives, already open, operating over weekends and Public Holidays
  • Animal World Zoo reopening on 28 August 2020. Operating times 09:00 and 16:00 Thursday to Sunday.
  • Pins Bowling reopening on Friday the 21st August. Operating times 11:00 and 21:00 daily.
  • Wall climbing and putt-putt reopening on Friday the 21st August. Operating times 10:00 to 17:00 Friday to Sunday

Restaurant and fast food options include High Stakes, Cappello, Wimpy and Sausage Saloon.

Kidzone, Izone, Thunder Alley and Aquadome however, remains closed for the foreseeable future and the Resort does not yet have a firm date as to when this popular indoor waterpark and kids activities will reopen.

All information and rates can be found at Emerald Resort & Casino’s “Resort Experiences” webpage.

For those that have missed great food at the Resort, High Stakes, Emerald Resort & Casino’s premier restaurant has also reopened its doors over weekends only for now, serving up popular and mouth-watering dishes on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 21:00 and Sunday 11:00 to 18:00. Popular Vanderbijlpark grill and pub, Gas Monkey, will open their doors towards the end of September, taking over the space previously occupied by Breeze and Sports Bar.

“While we are able to open more leisure activities, our safety protocols are still in full force to protect our guests and team members,” concludes Tanuja. “Welcome back to Emerald Resort & Casino where adventure awaits more than ever!”

View all of the Health and Safety regulations* on the Emerald Resort & Casino website at www.emeraldcasino.co.za

For all other up to date information visitors are encouraged to stay close to their Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit www.emeraldcasino.co.za for more information on any of the events mentioned here.

*https://www.emeraldcasino.co.za/covid-19-updates/health-and-safety

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000

Website                       www.emeraldcasino.co.za

Facebook:                   http://www.facebook.com/Emerald.Resort.Casino

Twitter:                        https://twitter.com/emerald_resort

LinkedIn:                     https://www.linkedin.com/company/emerald-resort-&-casino/

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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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South Africans are challenging their leadership while supporting each other more

We’re almost into the last quarter of 2020 and it looks like South Africans are feeling a light at the end of the tunnel, according to South Africa’s Good Things Guy Brent Lindeque.

 “Yes, South Africans remain angry at the situation we’re in, they’re displaying their frustration and disgust at local and national government’s seemingly endless blatant corruption more vocally. We’re seeing a lot more online active citizenry these past few months from ordinary South Africans calling our politicians to account.

As individuals, I’m seeing more and more South Africans calling on each other to support local small businesses in their area, a charity or even just to visit a restaurant for a meal and now a beer (yay!)”

Since lockdown began in South Africa, the Good Things Guy’s various platforms have received hundreds of emails, SMS’s WhatsApps and direct messages on a daily basis from South Africans of all walks of life and in varying forms of distress seeking financial aid or emotional support. “Since we entered Level 2 Lockdown those requests have slowed slightly which tells me that South African’s personal circumstances have either slightly stabilized or marginally improved from two or three months ago. We of course still have an insurmountable unemployment and poverty issue in this country which is going to take a very long time to alleviate.”

Mental health has been another massive concern of South Africans with offline and online therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists being completely overwhelmed as we try and navigate the many emotional rollercoasters we’re experiencing on a daily basis. “The positive out of this is that mental health is no longer a taboo subject,” says Brent. “South Africans as a collective are talking about their depression and anxiety more openly and are dealing with it more directly.

Maybe it’s the declining number of cases, or that more areas of the economy are breathing a little easier or maybe it’s even the promise of Spring and warmer weather around the corner but I’m certain that for the remainder of 2020, we’ll be seeing growing economic activity, increasing local tourism and more of the incredible Ubuntu we know that only South Africans can bring.

Let’s get this country started again, emotionally and economically, by supporting local and each other as much as possible!”

The Good Things Guy can be found at www.goodthingsguy.com, on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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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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Emerald hosts first ever virtual Casino draw

For the first time ever, over a period of two evenings, Emerald Resort & Casino hosted their very first virtual winners draw that saw the culmination of the Revved Up casino promotion.

Over the two evenings, excited guests logged onto Facebook and YouTube, watched and experienced the thrill of winning, as Emerald Resort & Casino gave away a VW T-Cross 1.0 TSI Highline, Polo Vivo 1.4 Trendline and over R165 000 in cash and FreePlay to their Green, Gold and Diamond Rewards Cardholders.

“During these turbulent times, safety remains our priority, but we have really missed all of our visitors and guests at the Resort. With this in mind we decided that the best way to celebrate the reopening of the Casino would be to host our first virtual draw,” says Tanuja Gangabishun, Marketing Executive at Emerald Resort & Casino.

“The Casino Promotion, “Revved Up” where gamers earned points into the draw and the opportunity to participate in exciting Slots and Table action, gave us the perfect opportunity as the promotion had already ended and it was time to celebrate our Rewards cardholders.

The Casino is open every day from 08:00 to 21:30 and I’m pleased to announce the launch of our newest casino promotion, Mega Points Chase, where R250 000 in cash and Freeplay are up for grabs. The final draw will once again be livestreamed on Saturday, 12 September,” says Tanuja.

With the Hotel and Bush Lodges now open for leisure travel within the province, Emerald Resort & Casino takes pride in delivering a great guest experience. The company has been working hard behind the scenes to create environments where guests and team members feel safe, comfortable and are still able to enjoy themselves.

“Congratulations to all the winners! We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the Resort as the lockdown restrictions ease and even more activities are opened,” concludes Tanuja.

View all of the Health and Safety regulations* on the Emerald Resort & Casino website at www.emeraldcasino.co.za

For all other up to date information visitors are encouraged to stay close to their Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit www.emeraldcasino.co.za for more information on any of the events mentioned here.

*https://www.emeraldcasino.co.za/covid-19-updates/health-and-safety

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

Website                       www.emeraldcasino.co.za

Facebook:                   http://www.facebook.com/Emerald.Resort.Casino

Twitter:                        https://twitter.com/emerald_resort

LinkedIn:                     https://www.linkedin.com/company/emerald-resort-&-casino/

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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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