There is a wonderful quote in the book "The Monk who sold his Ferrari" by Robin Sharma, which goes as follows; "when all is said and done, no matter what you have achieved, no matter how many summer homes you own, no matter how many cars sit in your driveway, the quality of your life will come down to the quality of your contribution". I invite everyone and anyone to join me on this most exhilarating, exciting and incredible journey of genuine love, compassion and contribution. James Fernie : Director, Uthando South Africa
With just a few days before we mark Youth Day in South Africa, these words struck a chord. I was born in the same year that saw a day take place which changed the course of our country's history - the 16th June 1976 is a day that honours the deaths of hundreds of Soweto schoolchildren who participated in a protest against the then current school education system.
To commemorate the lives of these young individuals, Uthando, a unique non-profit and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited company, will be hosting a benefit concert at the Barnyard Theatre in Willowbridge this coming Saturday. As well as project exhibitions, performing groups include Dance for All, Happy Feet Gumboot Dancers, the Noah Choir and Thokozani Brothers, all brought together by master of ceremonies Siv Ngesi.
To book call 021 914 8898 or visit www.barnyardtheatre.co.za
On the 10th April:
1633 Bananas first went on sale in London when the herbalist, Thomas Johnson, put a bunch of bananas in his shop window in Snow Hill, London. However, it was not until the late 19th century that bananas were regularly imported into the UK. A banana skin was excavated on the south bank of the River Thames dating back to around 1500 suggesting at least one specimen found its way into the country in Tudor times.
1820 The first of the British settlers arrived in Algoa Bay on the Chapman.
1929 Birth of William Booth in Nottingham. He was the founder of the Salvation Army.
1847 The birth of Joseph Pulitzer in Hungary, He established the annual Pulitzer Prizes.
1849 A US mechanic, Walter Hunt, patented the Safety Pin in the USA. An English inventor, Charles Rowley, also patented a safety pin on 12th October of the same year, unaware of Hunt's invention.
1858 Big Ben, the bell within the world's most famous clock, was cast in White Chapel in the East End of London. The bell weighs 13,5 tons (12 metric tones). It was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the then Commissioner of Works, who was a large, tall man, known as "Big Ben".
1912 The Titanic set sail on its maiden and final voyage from Southampton
1993 Chris Hani was murdered.
Here's some instant wisdom on the quality of your life - from Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin's book:
Structure your days so you can get the most done with the least effort.
Sometimes a nap is the most productive thing you can do.
You score no points for martyrdom. If you don't enjoy the majority of your days,
change something now.
Working hard is a lot more tolerable if you get to choose when you do the work.
When you're the boss, you're the only one who will notice if you work too hard.
Work the way you want to work.
Everyone deserves to have a nice day.
~ ~ ~
Jaco, a freelance videographer and photographer, is one of 60 volunteers who will be assisting in the cleft palate repair operations of a chosen group of Rwandese children. The mission is the initiative of the Smile Foundation, a South African NGO that assists children with any type of facial abnormality, to receive free corrective Plastic and Reconstructive surgery within South Africa.
As the video cameraman for the project, Jaco will be producing a short documentary on the mission, which lasts ten days. It is often a highly emotional experience for the children and their parents, as only 10 can be accommodated for the surgical procedure, yet many more apply and show up at the screening, hoping to be chosen.
We wish Jaco and the team of volunteers all the best as they undertake an extremely worthy initiative.
Social media has helped transform the press release and given it new life, a vastly larger audience and a huge role in generating traffic to your organization's Web site. As such, search engine optimization (SEO) is important to the success of today's press release. Optimized press releases attract consumers and influencers, as well as journalists—and pulls them into your story. To get the biggest bang out of SEO, you may need to change the way you write your release. Some basic, traditional best practices still apply, but here are five tips to keep in mind to optimize your releases:
1. Choose the Right Keywords
Search engines think like your audience. Before you begin to write, know the keywords or phrases that will drive them to the news release and motivate them to click through to pages on your Web site. Do basic keyword research on sites like Google AdWords, Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery.
2. Use Your Heads
Use one to two keywords in the headline and subhead. Search engine spiders read left to right, so take that into account as you compose your headlines and your first paragraph. Use no more than 200 characters in the summary or subhead.
3. Optimize From the Top Down
Spiders also read from the top down. Using keywords in the first two paragraphs makes a much bigger impact than using them lower down. As you write, think in sound bites, like 140-character tweets.
4. Don't Over-Link
As with keywords, don't overdo anchor text, as it causes confusion and dilutes the impact of the links themselves. Offer two to three links for a 400-word press release.
5. Use Multimedia
Research shows that press releases with pictures, video and other multimedia get at least 80% more search traffic than text-only releases. They're usually more appealing and interesting, too. You'd be surprised how easy it is to create your own video or add visuals that support your product, message or campaign.
The original article appears here
Working in the 'soft sell' area of the marketing mix, this more personalised approach makes a lot of sense.
His concluding comments also struck a cord: "In an age where everyone is clamouring for consumers' attention, as a marketer, it's possibly a good idea to start paying more attention yourself. Community radio is proving a stubborn - and growing - exception to the impersonal and detached world that surrounds us. It's rekindling many of the happy associations we all grew up with: memories of playing soccer with friends in the street, riding bicycles around the block, walking the dog and visiting neighbours. This makes listeners far less likely to "tune out" or avoid your advertising breaks. That probably makes it the ideal place to start your advertising campaign for 2012."
Definitely food for thought. Read the full article on MarketingWeb.
About 3 weeks left before my Certificate in Wine exam and am rather overwhelmed by all the theory I still need to tackle.
Being a mom and running a business leaves time for little - I might have to resort to the cramming from my student days, but let's see how much I can absorb between now and then!
The blind tasting sessions have been educational and surprisingly hard work, but my confidence is slowly increasing, thanks to several winery visits over the past 10 days. Armed with a wine evaluation sheet and my aroma wheel, I tasted a selection of (mostly) single varietal white and red wines at these estates:
Saxenburg: small, intimate tasting room with rather exceptional red wines. After tasting five wines, of which the Pinotage surprised me most (in a good way - I thought it was a Cab), I found myself walking out with a bottle of their Shiraz 2006, bought for R145.
Favourite wine tasted: 2006 Shiraz - R145
Asara: quite different to Saxenburg, this tasting room is much bigger, set against beautiful views of the damn and vineyards. I paid R30 to taste five wines from a fairly wide list of 19 options. As I will be examined on single varietals only, I had to regretfully skip the flagship Bell Tower Estate blend but still enjoyed sampling their Cab, Shiraz and Merlot, plus the unwooded Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Favourite wine tasted: 2011 unwooded Chardonnay - R55
Raats: back to small and intimate, I was invited to this tasting as part of a group who meet regularly to sample wine and 'kuier'. Led by Gavin, the assistant winemaker, I was fortunate enough to taste fantastic examples of Cabernet Franc (first time for me) and Chenin Blanc, the two varieties in which this small, family-owned and run winery specialize. The Raats de Compostella 2008 blend was incredible, with black berry fruit and dark chocolate rolling over my palate like velvet, but sadly, at R577 per bottle, it was a little outside my budget.
Favourite wine tasted: 2008 MR de Compostella - R577
Bergkelder: I tasted a selection of four red and four whites from the Fleur du Cap and Plaisir de Merle brands, kindly arranged by Michael van Deventer from the Vinoteque Wine Bank. I can proudly say I pretty much aced the whites, but failed dismally when it came to the reds. I felt compelled to race into the Bergkelder's wine shop - lovely selection on offer at reasonable prices - and buy several red wines, for 'practise purposes'!
Favourite wine tasted: 2009 Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon - R97
As my skill in writing tasting notes is still a serious work in progress, I have not included any here. Hopefully with the next round of visits my prowess in expressing what I see, smell and taste will have improved.
Until then I have decided to host a blind wine tasting party. A fun, companionable way to taste, guess and enjoy wine.
Why do it? Well I may be a communication professional in the wine industry, but that doesn't mean I know everything there is to know about wine. Which I've recently discovered is a complex, fascinating subject.
So to prepare as much as possible, and to try and enjoy myself along the way, I'm going to be a tourist in my own backyard and visit as many wineries as possible between now and the 21st November (and meet with some experts in the industry). There are so many on my doorstep that I never have the chance to visit (because I'm working in the wine industry but not living it:), I couldn't think of a better way to practise and improve my tasting skills. So first a bit of work, and then off to winery one - still to be confirmed.
For interest: I will be using this simple yet useful Aroma Wheel to help me with my taste descriptions for red and white wines.
Wow it's been a busy time at Refresh PR. With back-to-back events in September, starting with the Ackermans group charity project on 2nd September to celebrate 95 years as a household brand, followed by International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day on the 9th September, and culminating in the 37th Nederburg Auction on 16th & 17th September, there hasn't been time for too much else. Apologies to our website for the lack of attention in recent weeks - hope to make up for it in the coming months. Here's to the last few months of 2011 as we count down to the holiday season.
Refresh PR at the Nederburg Auction
A new television advert campaign flighting from the beginning of September across local TV channels will place international Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day firmly in the spotlight leading up to the day, 9 September 2011.
The advert creative, conceptualised and produced by Root|threesixty (The Design Engine), highlights the beauty of life without FAS and the role a community plays in the raising of happy, healthy children that will one day make a difference to this country.
From the ancient African proverb, 'It takes a village to raise a child', the deeply rooted cultural philosophy, which emphasises the values of parental care, family relationships and concern for others, is the theme for the ad.
"As the driving force behind the prevention of FAS in South Africa, FASfacts is keen to raise awareness for the problem amongst expecting parents and encourage individuals, who might otherwise overlook the issue, to be involved and thus play an active role in the upliftment of the greater South African community or 'village'," says FASfacts CEO, Francois Grobbelaar.
With the help of the Living Way Adult Skills Training campus near Kommetjie in Cape Town, FASfacts and its respective creative teams employed mostly untrained actors and crew assistants from the Masiphumelele community.
Senior accounts director, Alda Smith from Root|threesixty comments, "We wanted the advert to convey the strong sense of community that underpins the campaign's core message and highlight the important role all adults play in FAS prevention and why FAS prevention is so important for all."
Although I never ever assume to know everything, one drawback of being so involved in your chosen profession is that you start to automatically assume that everyone else around you also knows what PR is and isn't.
I was rudely shaken from my PR bubble during a recent conversation with someone about PR, publicity, sales and marketing, and realized that many people still confuse these roles. I'm sure other PR professionals will agree that there's nothing more frustrating than being asked to account for sales results, or lack thereof, based solely on the outcomes of a PR or publicity campaign that is not linked to a specific sales or marketing strategy, because it is assumed that the PR or publicity activity will do the marketing.
Not so - it's all about integration. PR and publicity is meant to complement the marketing function, and it's importance and context is determined by the overall strategy. Even the great social media channels like Twitter and Facebook are not replacement marketing activities, but rather additional ways of communicating your message as part of an integrated whole.
I came across this simple yet effective analogy a while ago whilst preparing a talk on PR for a networking event:
- If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying 'Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday', that's advertising.
- If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that's promotion.
- If the elephant walks through the mayor's flower bed, that's publicity.
- And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that's public relations.
- If the town's citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they'll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that's sales.
A more detailed overview of the marketing mix, including inbound and outbound marketing, is available on Managementhelp.org.
If, like me (well up until yesterday), you're not sure what a Segway is, think back to your last shopping mall trip, where you may have seen a security guard or two gliding around on rather strange-looking two-wheeled 'scooters'.
Very popular in shopping malls as a quick, energy efficient way to get around, Segway, world leaders in two-wheeled electric mobility, have taken their concept outdoors. The off-road version of the original Segway is optimized for outdoor use and is a completely novel, slightly adventurous way to enjoy a hike.
It only took me a few minutes to get the hang of one of these clean, green, eco-friendly machines, thanks to Craig Marshall from Eco-Discovery, which offers guided electric off-road adventures at selected locations in the Western Cape.
After only one minor mishap with my colleague - we still don't know how those wheels connected - we were off with Brian Pickering from Nature Discovery to see some of this beautiful area of Grabouw, which straddles the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
I could tell you more, but that might be spoiling it. Suffice to say I had an absolute blast and would definitely recommend it. Have a go - for just R80 you can book a demo ride with Eco-Discovery in July and August.
Next up - an adventure wine tour!
The team at Refresh PR feel very fortunate. As well as being days away from moving into our brand spanking new office, we've also just signed on two new clients:
Plush Professional Leather Care is a proudly South African brand specializing in the manufacture and distribution of a wide range of quality leather care products and accessories, while Malanot Wines is the brainchild of Swartland-born winemaker Marius Malan.
We are thrilled to be working with both brands in establishing a sustained presence within the respective target groups and supporting the marketing and sales activities. With a third potential account in the pipeline, I believe that our teamwork approach, ability to take initiative and good old plain hard work ethic, is standing our team in good stead. To adopt Seth Godin's thoughts about taking initiative and responsibility:
"The amazing thing is that unlike taking an apple or a chocolate bar, there's no loss to the rest of us. After you take it, we all benefit. There's one other thing you can take at work, easily and with approval: responsibility. In fact, they sort of have to go together. One without the other is a mess."
And so armed with this philosophy, we look forward to entering our new office space with the enthusiasm, energy and commitment that all our clients know us for, and perhaps a bottle or two of bubbly as well!
As the custodian of several Twitter accounts, including one in my personal and one in my business capacity, I found these do's and don'ts for communicating in the social media space relevant and useful. Titled 'Beware the Bitter Twitter', it's written by Ericka Chickowski and features in the February 2011 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine:
Social networks can be great communications tools, but take a misstep and you could end up doing your company more harm than good. Perhaps the biggest mistake business people make is posting while in the wrong frame of mind. There is a good rule of thumb everyone who 'tweets' should live by: "Don't Twitter while you are bitter." Of course, there are plenty of other mistakes that social networks make each day. Here's what to avoid:
- Push out political rants because something in the news really ticked you off.
- Mingle personal announcements with marketing messaging.
- Focus on hard-selling your company's products or services.
- Automate cross-posting of the same content across numerous channels.
- Impulsively air grievances with customers, partners or even competitors on a public forum.
- Leave your friends and followers hanging when they comment on your links or give you a shout-out with an @ message.
- Let your accounts lie fallow.
- Engage friends and followers in political discussion relevant to your industry.
- Create separate accounts for personal friends and for business associates.
- Consider posting relevant opinions, links and photos about your industry that will truly interest friends and followers.
- Tailor your strategy to the proper channels to avoid annoying Facebook users with Twitter hashtags and Twitter followers with incomplete tweets.
- Take time to think before putting up content that could be referred to by search engines even after you've deleted it from your account.
- Make an effort to engage frequently rather than just foisting your marketing message on them.
- Try to offer new content frequently. If you don't have time to commit fully to all channels of social media, think about focusing on one where you can go all out.
© Entrepreneur Media Inc.
Wow there's a lot happening this week in Refresh PR's world of clients.
Tomorrow we have the first panel selection session for the 37th Nederburg Auction taking place in Stellenbosch. Just over 300 fine and rare SA wines have been submitted for this year's event, and will be tasted blind over the next few days by a panel of wine experts, including winemakers, viticulturists, Cape wine masters, wine consultants and judges and sommeliers.
Over on the other side of Cape Town, at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, we'll also be in attendance at the Cape Town casting session for the 2011 Miss Earth South Africa, an initiative that aims to empower young South African women with the knowledge and platform to create a sustainable difference through environmental work.
Watch this blog space for more information on the selection and interview processes for both events - we'll be posting feedback on our Facebook page and provide real-time Twitter updates. Click on the icons on our home page to access the links.
To rare wines and beautiful women with an environmental conscience!
Micro-messaging: A Possible Future
This article is a return to a topic, emerging on the internet, that has implications for how PR practitioners and marketers operate. That issue is the rise of a new internet addressing system called Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Few paid attention to IPv6 until the last internet addresses under the old system (IPv4) were handed out this year. Eventually, many of us will move to the new system and when we do, it will change the way we communicate. The new addressing system will restore the internet to the way it used to operate. Each device -- cell phone, tablet, desktop computer, laptop, etc. -- will have its own unique address shared with no other device on earth. This means we can start tracking devices and their internet addresses, associating them with people and beginning tailoring "personal" relations messages rather than "public" relations. Don't panic, though. The ability to do that is years away in the US and most countries, except for China.
Why read the article? It provides a view of a future that young practitioners and marketers might see by time they are in mid-career. The time to start understanding the implications is now.
I love the myriad of trees we have 'inherited' from the previous owners, but in our quest to safeguard the front of the house, as well as keep our children and the dogs safe from the road, we have had no choice but to lose a few of the beautiful big old trees.
Thankfully we didn't have to become tree murderers. Trees SA were more than happy to remove and relocate three of the trees.
I naively thought that it would be a quick process - wow what an education to see these guys at work. Three days of preparation, countless spades and shovels, more than a few inquisitive neighbors and two cranes later, the trees are safely re-planted at their new 'homes'.
It's a good feeling.
For me the highlight of the article was her comment on media relations. Gone are the days of a print press release - nowadays journalists expect content that encompasses all the multimedia digital assets. As PR's we'd be stupid to ignore this, particularly on the mobile front - 60% of mobile phone users in SA are able to browse the Internet on their device. Time then to invest in a mobile site - check out the guys at Thumbtribe - they're doing some seriously good stuff.
Read Sally's full article here.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed before 2011 has even really begun, am easing myself in to the year and look forward to attending the 17th Annual Winemaker and Distillers Mass in Stellenbosch on 27th January.
Looking into the history of this international annual celebration, Burgundytoday.com has an interesting anecdote: "Every year on the last weekend of January, the winegrowers in Burgundy celebrate and give thanks to their patron, Saint Vincent. Legends abound as to the origins.
It is said that one day St Vincent stopped at a vineyard to chat to one of the wine growers. His donkey started nibbling the young shoots on the vine with the result that the following year, the crop was far more productive. The Saint's donkey had invented pruning!
Maybe it is just that the time of the celebration corresponds climatically to the transition between the hibernation of the vine and the beginning of the new growth or 'Vincent' is a derivation of 'vin sang' or blood of the vine. However you like to interpret it, this is a celebration which has been going on since Medieval times."
The Mass, which starts at 11:00, takes place at Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Paul Kruger Street, Stellenbosch and the collection will go to the Stellenbosch Hospice.
Stellenbosch's esteemed rugby circles saw former and current rugby legends mingle together at a recent celebration held at the town hall to honour one of the rugby greats from old, Dr Danie Craven, who would have been 100 years old this year.
A statue of Doc Craven and his beloved dog 'Bliksem' at Coetzenberg Sports Grounds in Stellenbosch
The Gikas men rub shoulders (nearly) with Schalk Burger and John Smit
According to a post from Cape Town Daily Photo, Doc Craven was arguably the best Springbok coach ever, and has been recognized as one of the world's top rugby administrators. He once famously said; "When Maties and Western Province rugby are strong, then Springbok rugby is strong."
The 'new normal' in communication's rules of engagement is commonly attributed to Wall Street's post-recession investment returns. But technology has created a New Normal for corporate and brand communications' too says Ruth Golembo, MD of Lange Strategic Communications.
Speaking at the recent AMASA meeting in Cape Town, Golembo said the internet has emerged as the best propaganda tool ever and in its wake thrown open a whole new world of media and marketing channels.
Aside from the once new - and increasingly normal - social media channels, digital marketing opportunities today include billboards which can personalise messages to each receiver.
She says clever new uses of out of home media have been a necessity because consumers can more easily hide from advertisers due to PVR and selected newsfeeds.
"In addition to the changing channels, consumers too have changed. They are no longer the gullible masses marketers and communicators used to talk to. The new normal in communications has given the voiceless a channel through which to chat back to brand and corporate communicators and the advent of citizen journalism has completely changed the playing field for mainstream media commentators and trendsetters," she said.
To simplify the debate, she summarised the most dramatic changes for strategic communicators into five new rules of engagement as follows:
1. CUSTOMISE - both the channel and the message now needs to be customised more than ever before. Because target markets are able to more easily select what they want to read and what they want to hear and see on television, communicators need to customise the message into something which is relevant to them.
2. GET REAL - because consumers have become far more astute in the wake of the information era, authenticity has become key when communicating. It is very much easier for the truth to out in this New Normal- era than ever before. Perceptions need strong proof points to become reality these days and the more truthful and authentic a communication is, the better the chance of it being credible and believed.
3. TELL STORIES - a great way of cutting through the information overload's clutter is to tell real stories that strike a chord with consumers and it's become a great way to connect consumers and brands. A brand like Johnnie Walker for instance uses the great stories of success of various high achievers around the world to inspire others to Keep Walking. Its newest campaign is Walk with Giants, currently flighting on TV in South Africa, which tells for example Formula One champion Jenson Button's tale of success despite many setbacks and even the Richard Branson story of his empire which started in a phone booth in London is told by the brand.
4. SIMPLIFY - while this has always been one of the rules of good communication its more pertinent now than ever before. An interesting example of how communication can be so detailed and complicated that it baffled even the most astute financial investors, is the ENRON debacle in the USA. Enron's market accounting was an "open secret". The company communicated very well and prior to their downfall were one of the darlings of the stock exchange. But theirs is great example of making too much noise in their communications - they made it all too complicated and none understood the implication of their accounting models until it was too late for the company to change.
5. EXPECT BACKCHAT - one of the most important rules of the new normal in communications is that brands and corporate communicators no longer own the message. Nowadays everyone has a voice and can respond to all communication messages, tear them apart, make fun of them, make them their own and discredit them. In the past journalists were hugely authoritative but nowadays citizen journalism is the New Normal. Bloggers and tweeters and once seemingly innocuous commentators like Arianna Huffington who established the Huffington Post as an alternative voice now can seriously affect public opinion.
Golembo said in summary that the new normal in communications - in-line with the new expectations created in financial services of single digit returns - had created a different value set when it comes to strategic communications and has made open, honest dialogue by brands and corporations more essential than ever.
From a PR perspective the intense preparation beforehand resulted in a well-organised team who worked together to anticipate news angles and manage pre-auction, on-the-spot and post-auction media queries and requests. Motivational speaker Keith Harrell says; "Today's preparation determines tomorrow's achievement" - I firmly believe in that.
So what do we do with the resulting publicity? Aside from the standard follow up, much time is spent evaluating the coverage achieved across print, broadcast and online mediums. It is well-known that in the PR industry a constant bone of contention is how to evaluate the value of publicity and determine a return on investment. Traditionally one looks at the AVE value to determine extent of exposure and a return on investment, however I tend to agree with Lorrine Araujo of Letsema Communications, that "all AVE really measures is the cost of media space, and what the company has "saved" by choosing not to advertise".
Does it really measure the concrete contribution by PR to the overall business objective?
The Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles may have an answer. It has come up with seven key principles that may just change the way that PR is evaluated and measured. Again to quote Lorrine in her recent Financial Mail piece, "The seven key principles are founded on the premise that goal-setting and measurement must be fundamental aspects of all PR programmes. As such, the principles state that measuring outcomes and direct business results must become standard features of all interventions."
These principles make for interesting reading, particularly principle 4 on social media, which I found really impacted strongly for the first time on the Nederburg Auction. I will certainly be examining the conversations and communities, rather than coverage, in striving to provide credibility to the PR activity and how it impacts on the objectives.
A marketing colleague who has just opened an independent consultancy for SME's in the Western Cape has written this interesting opinion piece on the psychology of marketing. It considers human behaviour as a means to understanding the rationale and motivation behind the actions in order to create a product or service with a message that will add value and ultimately enrich.
“We help you to help yourself” – the mantra of the psychologist. A means through which human beings are able to solve their own problems and manage the challenges they face. To come out the other side better off for having interacted with them.
"In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?” - Carl Rogers (A founder of Humanistic Psychology).
Relationships as platforms that benefit people
If marketing is about building meaningful relationships between brands and people and if meaningful relationships are those through which human beings are able to grow and benefit, then the underlying foundation of all good marketing is genuine care for humans and a desire to understand them better so that we can build strong relationships that benefit them.
To do so, every single marketer needs to start by understanding human behaviour better. How can we help human beings, if we don’t spend time getting to know them? As marketers we are real people with real fears, needs, desires and aspirations. How much time do you spend analysing your own behaviour? Next time you are at a store shelf, consider where your eye travels. Why did you pick the red tissue box over the blue? Why did you start shopping up the left side of the store and not the right? Why did you choose a basket and not a trolley? Why did you pick that store? Remember, however, that your own perspective is not the only one and it is for this reason that we must seek out the views of others, either formally through established researched methods or informally through less structured means.
Winston Churchill once said, "Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must first believe.” Become more self aware, it’s the start of understanding human behaviour.
To begin understanding how humans are motivated, we can borrow a few of Sigmund Freud’s learning’s and his psychoanalytic approach. Beneath every need or behavior, are motivators that are seated in our subconscious minds. To begin to understand what these motivators are, we need to ask the question “Why?”. Why do people buy stain remover and is it as simple as their need to remove stains? Or could it be that they are motivated by the need to feel confident, wearing clothes that look good so they can feel good? Or possibly they are motivated by time and the need to spend less of it cleaning and more of it living?
As marketers, if we look at human behaviour with a “Why?” lens we begin to understand the underlying motives for behaviour, enabling us to connect with human beings on a much deeper, more subconscious level. It is because of a real understanding of what motivates their customers, that many small companies have become successful in spite of having no marketing experience or formal marketing efforts. There is very often a passionate founder who understands and believes in an inherent human truth and has been marketing to this subconscious need all along, albeit with less sophisticated tools. It is by asking “Why” that we gain the insights with which to build a sound strategy for our brand.
If we scratch a little at the surface of human motivators, we discover a set of even deeper forces at play – the values and beliefs that exist in every human being. It is these values and beliefs that influence how we think and are expressed through our everyday behaviour. It is on this premise that the model of Spiral Dynamics was built as it examines how human beliefs and values act as filters through which people think and are indirectly expressed in the way they behave (and consume). As marketers we need to understand and identify these thinking filters in order to know why people behave the way they do.
An individual’s ethical standpoint and belief in their own personal ability to make a difference will likely influence their adoption of “Green” practices and whether they lead the trend or follow it.
Marketing to the mind – the early days:
In the days of Edward Bernays (Sigmund Freud’s American nephew), the discovery of the workings of the subconscious mind was put to somewhat exploitative use to manipulate consumers into thinking they needed something they didn’t so that big American corporates could sell more products and services. Bernays did this very successfully in the early 1900’s and many have described him as the “godfather” of advertising and public relations. One better known example was his ability to significantly increase the number of American female smokers by positioning cigarettes as “torches of freedom”, cigarettes began to represent female empowerment and every woman wanted one! Trouble is, he thought that marketers could control consumers by tapping into their subconscious desires and manipulating these to the benefit of the big business. He has been quoted as saying: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Fortunately things have changed in the past 100 years and the pace of this change rapidly increasing as consumers take control and start to co-create brands through more reciprocal and interactive relationships – we are seeing the next phase in the evolution of marketing emerge:
Informing -> Controlling -> persuading -> supporting (platforms that benefit)
Good marketing today is not about manipulating. Good marketing will leave consumers and brands better off for having connected with one another. Brands that support consumers by enabling them to improve themselves and their lives because of their interaction with the brand are those that will build long term, meaningful relationships with their consumers. These brands become active platforms, because it is through the brand that people benefit.
As modern day marketers, we do not exist to convince consumers they need stuff they don’t. Today we need to connect by understanding people better, to really care about them and to add true value to their lives.
As marketers, we are serving people. Ask yourself - what is your personal marketing mantra and are you adding true value to peoples’ lives?
Written by Colleen Funkey, director, Funkey Brands
I really became hooked during the SWC - I found it more interesting to follow soccer commentary from fellow Tweeters than the commentators themselves, and it also proved to be extremely useful if I wasn't near a television or radio at the time! The fact that we can choose to listen to each other rather than outside mediums is a sign that the social media phenomenon has tipped the scales in a huge way towards citizen journalism. Traditional media influence as we know it has shifted and as PR's it's imperative that we're aware of the influence of social media and embrace it, or risk being left behind.
Back to Twitter, as a recently joined member of the Twitterhood I found this post by Philip van Zyl interesting as well as entertaining - a few ground rules to bear in mind perhaps?
Beautiful 2010 displays greeted me in the sales and conference centre and were a wistful reminder of the past month, which, looking back, seemed to pass far too quickly in a haze of colourful, completely Afrocentric soccer activity – a distinctly successful PR campaign with the vuvuzela as its unique angle that cast this country firmly into the international spotlight.
And so, in the aftermath of Footie 2010, a chilly morning in Paarl greeted various representatives from the wine media fraternity, who staved off the frost with a tasting of approximately 50 wines across the selection on offer at this year's 36th Nederburg Auction.
In a fitting tribute to the auction's heritage, which showcased just 15 wines in 1975, several very rare old vintages are included in the mix for buyers this year. Media were afforded the opportunity to sample a few of these gems, including a Chateau Libertas 1967, which Neil Pendock summed up as a "fine old Burgundy". Former Wine magazine editor Christian Eedes gave Zonnebloem's 1974 Shiraz a score of 18 out of 20, while the older Noble Late Harvests found favour with Beeld's Nonnie Dedekind. She described the Nederburg Eminence and Edelkeur wines as the 'vuvuzela of Nederburg'.
Comments from other media guests about the high quality, rarity and standard of this year's wines lead me to believe that this year's offering of 162 items will hopefully do well under Anthony Barne's hammer on Sept 3 and 4 – perhaps also thanks in part to a bit of soccer 'gees'?
We are thrilled to be working with Diale and Malmsey Rangaka of M'hudi Wines.
This unique family-owned wine estate, which derives its name from the Setswana word "Mohudi", meaning "harvester", was recently the recipient of the 2010 Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA), which rewards outstanding black tourism entrepreneurs.
M'hudi Wines offers a distincly Afrocentric experience through wine tours, small events and conferencing, wine workshops and tastings. They also focus on wine export - current destinations include the United Kingdom (Marks & Spencer), 42 states in the United States and Switzerland.
Take five minutes to watch the You Tube video on their website, which summarises their journey and experiences, with commentary from Jeff Grier, very aptly.
Look forward to taking on the challenge of growing M'hudi's profile together with this very dynamic and driven family.
If you have an appreciation for exclusive, rare wines, enjoy a preview of some of the vintages on offer at this year's Nederburg Auction at one of the public tasting events.
As only licensees may bid on the Auction, which takes place on September 3 and 4, the pre-tasting is the ideal opportunity to select the wines you'd like to acquire, which can be purchased on your behalf by your local liquor outlet, wine shop owner or supermarket wine buyer.
The Cape Town tasting takes place at the recently opened Upper Eastside Hotel, Brickfield Road, Woodstock on Thursday evening, 15th July, and the Johannesburg tasting takes place on Wednesday evening 21st July at the Southern Sun Grayston Hotel, corner of Rivonia Road and Grayston Drive in Sandton. Both tastings start at 19:00 for 19:30.
Tickets cost R120 per person and include sparkling wine on arrival and snacks afterwards. Bookings through Computicket
Refresh PR received a huge compliment yesterday. Tasked with organising an Amazing Race event for Stellenbosch-based global fleet management company MiX Telematics, the marketing manager, who is from Germany, commented; "You guys should be German – that's how organised you are". High praise that's much appreciated!
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The nurses of the Stellenbosch Hospice were recently treated to a delicious afternoon tea, hosted by the d'Ouwe Werf housekeeping team to thank them for their dedication and commitment to the local community. "We feel honoured that d'Ouwe Werf recognizes the work we do and appreciate their generosity in sharing the afternoon with us", said Suzanne Schneider, head of Patient Care at Stellenbosch Hospice. The Stellenbosch Hospice gives medical care for people with terminal and chronic illnesses such as cancer, high blood pressure, and social issues. For more information contact Ingrid Marti at the Hospice on tel: 021 886 5994.
Photo caption (from left to right):
Back: Phumla Thembela, Moreen van Wyk, Lindy Mkuzo, Suzanne Schneider, Yvonne Joubert, Irma Kriel, Elize King, Carin Wiid
Middle: Anna Eksteen, Francina Beerwinkel, Clara Basjan
Front: Ruth Ntikinca, Bernalene Brand, Varenzia Lakey
My sister is an interior designer with Keith Design and judging by these pics has outdone herself with their latest project. She managed the entire design and decor portfolio for the brand new 5-star Fairmont Zimbali Hotel, which opened its doors earlier this week. Well done! I await my invite to experience the new establishment first-hand.
Read this on Seth Godin's blog - a nice, simple mantra for your business and personal life:
The number of people you need to ask for permission keeps going down:
1. Go, make something happen.
2. Do work you're proud of.
3. Treat people with respect.
4. Make big promises and keep them.
5. Ship it out the door.
When in doubt, see #1.
Check out this link for achieving gorgeous round eyes using Jane Iredale makeup - it really works:
Selection tastings of the 36th Nederburg Auction took place recently at Oude Libertas, Stellenbosch. Members of the panel comprised well-known winemakers, Cape Wine Masters and wine enthusiasts, including Margaret Fundira, Business Manager of Anchor Yeast that tasted the Chardonnay and Red Blend category.
The final wine line-up results will be released shortly.
- Media Testimonials
“It is such a pleasure to work with Lesley and Chantelle from Refresh PR. They are always so quick to respond to our urgent briefs and queries, and ensure we receive all our product requests ahead of deadline. Nothing is ever too much trouble, and they go out of their way to provide the best possible service, always delivered with a big smile!”
Lauren Watters, Junior Beauty Editor, The Pretty Network
"Her numerous years in the PR industry has helped Lesley Gikas develop a keen understanding of how the magazine industry works and how best to assist journalists in offering readers information tailored for their needs."
Nicole Sparrow, Assistant Editor & Beauty Editor, Longevity Magazine
"I am delighted to be able to share my thoughts on Lesley Gikas and Refresh PR. Lesley is an incredibly efficient person – in fact, she is always one of the first to respond to my beauty briefs. She is a breath of fresh air as she is always upbeat and enthusiastic – no request in too big. All those attributes have been entrenched in Refresh PR’s philosophy and approach to business and it’s great to see the company grow from strength to strength because of these traits."
Caro Verster, previous contributing beauty editor for Women’s Health South Africa, now living in Canada
"I have worked with Lesley over the past couple of years and she has always made sure that all our arrangements for the Nederburg Auction shoot went smoothly. Not only is she highly professional; with her warm and easy going personality, she is also a pleasure to work with.”
Marius van de Wall - Producer of Fiesta
"Lesley has handled the media publicity for the Nederburg Auction for three years now and grown exponentially in experience, understanding of media demands, the personalities that make up that component and general professional service over that time. Her efficiency and willingness to assist has significantly simplified the reporting process, as well as the host of logistics that correspond to getting the media to Paarl for the two-day event."
Nicola Jenvey - freelance business and wine writer
"Lesley has been the media ‘go-to’ person for the Nederburg Auction for the past three years and in my experience during that time she has been unfailingly professional, efficient and effective. Her promptness and willingness to help when responding to requests for information and images really does facilitate the media’s job of reporting on the event."
Diana Procter: Wine Journalist for Ideas/Idees magazine and The Witness
“We enjoy working with Refresh PR. They always answer our briefs on time and respond with products to suit the theme”
Rooi Rose Editorial Beauty Team