Belinda Taylor, Media Mind at Cape Town based agency Tag 8 discusses their business alignment with digital media buying agency Atmosphere Orange and their programmatic campaign successes to date.
How has working with Atmosphere Orange boosted your business?
“We currently partner with Atmosphere Orange on the digital aspect for two of our clients. We have seen a real boost in business for both our clients. Personally, I enjoy working with programmatic marketing in the digital space. It has reach and offers such a defined target market across a variety of sites. It’s affordable and it’s trackable. It delivers on a brand’s campaign objectives.
For the one campaign we wanted to drive consumers to their website and heighten the amount of conversions. Using visual media and real time bidding (RTB) through MediaMath we got the highest conversions they had had throughout the campaign, and those conversions originated right out of the RTB aspect.
When a client has clearly defined objectives and KPIs they need to meet, we always motivate for RTB if it aligns with the campaigns goals. Our biggest challenge is communicating to our clients what RTB is and how it works; this is central to them understanding its effectiveness. In order to do so, we provide presentations and use case studies to show its relevancy, how it meets those KPIs and how exactly RTB can achieve that.
Were there any surprises in the process or in the results?
With our one client we had a surprise. It was a long campaign and we found there was a drop in click through rates, which was a result of banner fatigue. We went back to creative to reassess before going live again with the next burst.
Weekly reporting is helpful and we always do an end of phase report inclusive of insights, and we always brief creative on the results we get back from the data.
Using data metrics, we can then redefine a route to optimise the campaign. With the client, we decided to rework the banners and change the call to action. Atmosphere Orange also suggested we use AB split testing with two different calls to action to see which worked best and then further optimisation from there.
Has it changed the way you think about either clients, branding, advertising or your business?
Working with Atmosphere Orange has definitely changed our digital strategy. We started noticing it was more important to communicate its effectiveness to the client in order to understand RTB’s importance.
Most brands see digital as an add-on, but we see it as an ‘always on’ aspect to the campaign. It has the ability to achieve other objectives and it should be integrated within the overall media plan, it makes for a more holistic campaign. We get it, but it helps to remember where the client is coming from.
Digital is second nature to us but the forever changing online environment makes it hard for everyone to understand why it is so important. It’s still a traditional marketplace.
We aim to educate that digital is in fact the closest channel to their target market since it’s part of their habitual everyday life. Its the current trend and all brands should use it to connect with their consumers.”
Brand is made up of quality and service. The logo is the image of the brand, and people remember it through the experience your business delivered.
Your brand is your reputation — the most valuable thing you possess. A strong brand and the trust it engenders are the only aspects of your company that competitors can’t steal.
Brands are also the most powerful business tools in business as they help customers to understand the positioning of products in their market contexts, and encourage customers to come back for repeat business.
The path to brand awesomeness is 1) a promise 2) a personality and 3) unwavering focus on that promise that will ultimately deliver you brand equity.
What remains key for a brand to be successful in its industry is consistency. It must consistently deliver great services and great results from its product lineup or multiple services.
Research into current trends and your own brand’s data will improve your products and services in the creation of a successful brand, and enable the company to compete efficiently. This is why research and development is a must in any business.
What do great brands share?
- a compelling idea that captures customer’s attention and loyalty by filling an unmet or unsatisfied need.
- A resolute core purpose and supporting values. These remain in place even through the business strategy, where tactics are regularly revised to address and take advantage of the circumstances of the changing business environment.
- A central organisational principle. The brand position, purpose and values are employed as management levers to guide decision-making. This becomes so ingrained in leading organisations that they consciously ask themselves, “How will this decision impact upon the brand?” or “Is this on-brand?” According to Shelly Lazarus, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather: “Once the enterprise understands what the brand is all about, it gives direction to the whole enterprise. You know what products you’re supposed to make and not make. You know how you’re supposed to answer your telephone. You know how you’re going to package things. It gives a set of principles to an entire enterprise.”
- An ability to stay relevant. Leading brands constantly maintain their relevance to a targeted set of customers, ensuring ownership of clear points of differentiation compared to the competition.
Not all brands are successful and successful brands can lose their way, the most common cause being that of lost leadership taking the brand for granted. This usually happens when brand owners treat their asset as a cash cow, eroding the original brand idea and marginalising the customer experience. It goes without saying, a good product is only as good as the accompanying service.
How do you create a great brand?
– Brands should look to relevance, differentiation and credibility. Never lose touch with your customer or ignore a potential new audience. Make your customer real. Determine your ideal customer and market to that person.
Be authentic and consistent in your messaging, visuals, and experience. If you claim customer service is your most important differentiator, then return calls and emails in a reasonable amount of time and don’t leave people in an automated telephone maze to get the help they need. If you claim quality, make sure your products are up to scratch.
Bear in mind that people need to experience things multiple times before they stick. Be clear but be consistent – they need to see your message seven times before they are likely to remember it. The Nike swoosh did not see overnight success, it spent years and lots of money making that mark mean something to people. Don’t expect one ad to get you to your sales targets, or a website to get you all your customers. Branding is not the same as direct response marketing – it takes time and it should be integrated across all your customer touch points.
Brands that communicate unique selling propositions are the most convincing to clients and the easiest for them to remember. Ensure all of your communications – not just advertising and marketing pieces – are consistent with your brand. Everything your company distributes must reflect it.
Continually promote, publicise, and invest in your brand. Building a business brand can be compared to training and conditioning an athlete: The harder he works, the better the results.
Who is a brand manager?
Brand-building skills require creative, intelligent, innovative, adventuresome, nurturing, disciplined and service focused managers. Brand managers are role models who portray appropriate behaviour and act in the best interests of the brand and company. Conversely, they must also challenge convention to keep the brand fresh by questioning what has become the status quo. They must be continually searching out what makes the brand unique. Customer preferences, competitive frameworks and market conditions are incredibly dynamic. Renewing and refreshing the brand to ensure continuing relevance, differentiation and credibility are the most strategic tasks and perhaps the most consuming tactically. Brand managers must determine what cannot change and what must change.
The questions CEO’s should be asking are:
How can my company ensure delivery on its brand promises to customers?
How can I meet sustainability concerns and protect brand value?
And how do I develop the type of workforce associated with a world-class brand?
Ultimately, brand custodianship should not just be left in the hands of the brand manager or CEO. Rather, each and every staff member should carry their own brand loyalty through their every spoken word, action and service orientation… at the end of the day it is people who interact with brands and it is their emotional dynamics that the message is tapping directly into.
As South African e-commerce gains momentum, retailers can expand their reach significantly by adding online and mobile channels.
According to a 2012 report by technology research company World Wide Worx (WWW), e-commerce growth is accelerating. The study predicts that the Internet economy will increase its contribution to the overall economy from 2% in 2011 (R59-billion), to as much as 2.5% by 2016.
The authors say this can be explained at the hand of a ‘digital participation curve’. “It takes up to five years before new Internet users gain the confidence and experience in the medium to become active participants in the Internet economy. With the number of Internet users having accelerated from 2008, the number of experienced users will begin accelerating in 2013.”
This trend will continue until 2018, the authors say.
In the trenches
The experience of Cape-based e-commerce developer Realmdigital broadly corroborates this, says Wesley Lynch, CEO. “South Africans are becoming far more comfortable buying online, with value offerings like Groupon’s group buying playing a crucial role in making it more attractive.
“The natural appeal of e-commerce is the accessibility it gives products, something that store-only retailers cannot offer. The convenience of buying from anywhere in the world and having a physical product delivered at your doorstep is hard to beat.”
The market for digital products has further grown substantially, with music, books and other downloads leading the way, he adds. “The instant gratification of a digital download is even more of an incentive to buy online.”
Academic book retailer Van Schaik confirms excellent uptake of its online presence, www.vanschaik.com as well as a significant change in trading patterns and a net growth in sales.
The company says a massive increase in website traffic occurred after Realmdigital took over its development in 2011. “From 5 000 unique visitors per month 12 months ago, the site now registers on average 340 000 visitors per month,” says digital manager Melvin Kaabwe , adding that the company has had to invest in considerable extra capacity to manage the load.
Besides the effect of a new partner, he puts it down to a combination of progressively cheaper Internet access over time and the proliferation of non-PC devices sold with data bundles.
The prevalence of low-cost BlackBerrys on campuses – for two years the youth’s favourite phone according to the Sunday Times Generation Next survey – has also helped. “We view mobile commerce as key to accessing this market, and a boon for our serious entry into e-commerce as an academic resource. Making the site as accessible as possible to mobile users was one of the formative briefs for the site, and Realmdigital did that for us.”
If retailers dither about the online investment and the additional cost of selling (including distribution to customers), they should consider the spike in volumes they are likely to experience, says Lynch.
While Van Schaik’s increase in online sales has been less pronounced than its increase in visitors (30% up year-on-year in February), Lynch says retailers must not expect to be Amazons overnight. “That is a healthy increase in anyone’s terms,” he says. “In addition, online retail is now pretty competitive, with Kalahari, Loot, Wantitall and others all making their mark – and there can be no clearer argument for getting online now.”
Kaabwe concedes other extraneous factors. “Only about 2% of South Africans are shopping online ‘properly’, in the sense of using credit cards. The course most likely to lend itself to card purchases is the MBA – students are a more affluent demographic.”
With e-commerce finally shaping up to be the force it was always expected to become, real-world retailers will have to work out how to compete with a new generation of leaders – Amazon, Kalahari, Wantitall, Loot and many others.
At the heart of embarking on this new direction will be choosing the right digital partner, one that can greatly assist with working out a winning e-commerce and marketing strategy that will get the volumes to justify the leap into new territory.
With competition intensifying, Van Schaik is currently piloting a number of initiatives that will give it an edge over competitors, including multiple digital entry points to the company’s catalogue, any-device downloads of texts, same-day delivery and extra call centre capacity.
Realmdigital is a top South African e-business strategy and technology partner, specialising in Internet and mobile platforms. Contact Wesley Lynch on Tel: +27 (0)21 975 0959, Cell: +27 (0)82 784 4905, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit www.realmdigital.co.za
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