Branding & media Managers in the eCommerce Era

In the burgeoning eCommerce era of electronic payments and heavy reliance on logistics firms for fulfillment of consumer demand the role of traditional brand managers and Ad industry media planning requires serious scrutiny…

Our discourse on online market places reflects questions such as;

  1. Where are brands defined – online or offline?
  2. In this scenario where traditional bricks ‘n mortar retail distribution networks are declining, what’s the role of traditional media for building and maintaining brand equity?
  3. On a praxis level – what are the budgetary/media spend guidelines for media planners who actually allocate this ad spend?

These questions merely highlight the very real considerations we all face in this feverish climate of change on the product/services marketing and distribution landscape.

Are there clear-cut answers to these questions?

Well, it would seem the jury is still out and their verdicts are likely to vary by market/geographical or socio-cultural disposition – despite globalization and the Internet. Clearly SSA’s emergent markets’ varied cultures have differing rates and development levels… Indeed, cultural acceptance of digitalization is being manifested in surprising and unexpected ways – developed nations are seeing increasing political resistance to globalization and the shift in economic powers to markets where economies of scale satisfies the need for constant growth that underlies consumerism. Arguments about the loss of privacy, fears about data integrity (sic: hacking of databases/customer profiles, etc.) and the manipulation of data are merely a groundswell. Modern marketing has always been about the development of tools/methods to manipulate consumer sentiment based upon consumer profiling.

SSA’s emergent economies, like China – most dynamic eCommerce market, show a greater willingness to espouse new products and service distribution models and technologies. From being near communication deserts, SSA economies have hungrily grabbed at the enabling technologies of the GSM phone revolution and a voice via the mass on-boarding to social media platforms.

eCommerce itself has further highlighted the inadequacies of physical infrastructure whilst revealing the depths of untapped consumer demand pools. So what does this mean for those in the advertising sector and the brand management partners? Obviously we need to adjust to the decline of traditional media such as print, outdoor and TV.

But as lauded to earlier, rates of decline or re-composition vary significantly and blanket solutions will fail miserably. We’re hoping that social media – which is fast evolving into a primary medium for consumer care, will afford a platform for discussions between practitioners on the ground in these various economies. Whilst we are becoming increasingly aware of the power of online “Influencers” – how do we integrate them into campaigns? To what extent should marketing budgets be cannibalized to accommodate digital platforms?

So, if Trump has mastered the role of tweeting as a political campaign tool, how do marketers of detergents, sweets and household wares use Twitter in their campaign mix? Should implementation be kept in-house or should the “digital natives” of the majority Gen Z be kept outside of traditional ad agency structures?

We’re really involved and intrigued by the unfolding dynamics of the advertising and media industry – let’s talk more and hear/feel your inputs on this blog.

At Greenworld our focus is on sub-Saharan W. Africa – we believe that with satellite TV and radio means we’re no longer the Dark Continent – unless we choose to stay silent! Have your say, because everybody from sign writers to screen printers, are experiencing the effects of digitalization…

What is “Local Content”

Many a brand manager bemoans the lack of quality content suitable for their brand’s to be associated with on indigenous TV channels. Yes, alongside NBC imperatives on 60% “Local” content…its truly king!

What’s more curious is the interpretation that for local stations to meet this quota they tend to run only local stuff (news programs, sports, etc.) on their prime time belts… Any wonder that Satellite TV with less than 25% of total eyeballs gets more than 63% of total TV Ad spend!

(c.f. www.pwc.co.za/en/assets/pdf/entertainment-and-media-outlook-2017.pdf)

To my mind, stations should challenge the NBC’s interpretation of “Local”… Does it merely reflect Total Transmitted Airtime/Period? If that’s the case, then any time belt can suffice to met the requirement.

More pertinent is the precise concept of “local” – regardless of the poorly defined attempt to portray national values through a global industry, Media & Entertainment! Is content origination definable by production location – pre or post-production? What about copyright ownership? Methinks that regulators are transfixed with the notion of local by point of transmission.

Incidentally, this concept will be further tested in 2019, as digitalization allows greater room for content versioning. On the heels of the major PC OS software and browser availability in major african languages (Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Swahili, etc), Greenworld and Turner will make content available with vernacular voice-overs. This should allow brands the type of reach presently only enjoyed on radio stations, still the No. 1 electronic medium across all socio-ethnic strata according Nielsen, GeoPoll and other research firms.

This brings up all sorts of possible scenarios – cartoons are the major reinforcement of social values for children, from kindergarten to their early teens. Its debatable if religion and school aren’t competing for 2nd place with TV – especially cartoons, in this function after the family…

Its crucial if local media houses are to survive and foster such values that their allowed every commercial avenue because the global media conglomerates gradually level out cultural diversity. If commercial sponsors can’t exploit these advertising windows they’ll look for other windows and the growth of online inter-app advertising, which even China is struggling to regulate, shows that W. African regulators maybe creating a market in which they have next to no control at all!

Well, that’s my take on the situation. Love to hear the thoughts of fellow practitioners on the issues at stake.

How do you feel this will affect your businesses’ plans, moving forward? Is there a need of greater strategic analysis by regulators on this matter?

Politics of the Media business

Hi. 2018 is about closing and we are all ring to start reviewing what happened – or didn’t happen in the past year to our business plans.

Well, this year end isn’t going to be about merriment for most media industry professionals – the year-end is marked by the surge in political campaign activity as we watch politicos trying to reach-out to the public, something every planner, buyer and content creator has to grapple with as they and brands seeks to access the ever-fluid market place…

Before you switch off and say its none of your business, consider this; In Qtr. 2, 2015 – after the elections in Africa’s most populated nation, business activity in the Media & Entertainment sector dropped by over 50% and didn’t return to pre-election levels till after the 3rd Quarter! (source: PwC – Ovum: Africa Media & Entertainment Report, 2017).

Given the highly publicised role of media professionals such as the Saatchi brothers Thatcher-era UK’s elections and the boost the TV ad-spend during US election campaigns, what’s the role of local media practitioners in campaign strategy, planning and media buying? Beyond outdoor and below-the-line item productions (T-shirts, caps, badges and posters), how is the local media industry making inputs into the major campaigns?

We’d love to hear your comments and anecdotal stories of interacting with the non-cognoscentii who control campaign budget spends… Do they get value for their spend? How do they monitor and measure maximization of this spend? Do they consider their candidates or parties as brands that should be managed?

More on this when you guys contribute.

Later we’ll survey the fast-moving media landscape as Africa plays catch-up with old media (TV, FM radio, outdoor and print), the mobile access revolution is already drawing the eyeballs of the fastest-growing market segment – youths… Online advertising are already here with Google and Facebook controlling 46% of global Ad-spend in 2017, already local affiliates of multinational FCMG purveyors are facing online platforms such as YouTube. How are you planning to create digital content for these platforms? Where are the skill-sets for this type of content creation, planning and media monitoring to found? Will your resources be in-house or out-sourced? Are their ready-made billing solutions that brand managers can grasp and explain to the fin ace departments?

We’d love to hear from you on this blog.