If you didn’t attend Silversoft’s webinar this month, you missed out! A candid chat about the impact that the “COVID-era” has had, and will continue to have on consumers, clients and advertising industries for the foreseeable future. Moderated by Mike Stopforth, with a panel of industry heavy-hitters; Andrew Brand (CEO, 99Cents), Pepe Marais (CEO, Job Public), Monalisa Zwambila (CEO, The Riverbed) and Lynn Madeley (CEO, Havas South Africa), we wanted to highlight some key thoughts and insights from some of the best minds in the industry.

Watch on-demand webinar.

Stopforth rightly points out that “COVID” has become a catch-all phrase that encompasses a few things; Lock-down, behavioural change and overall business challenges, and something that has affected all South Africans in different ways. The “new normal” has also become a popular phrase for many businesses during this era, but as Monalisa Zwambila rightly points out, it is difficult to define a “new normal”. This is still being established for many which will take time, and, will vary from business to business.

What is the new normal?

Agencies, now more than ever, need to ensure that their clients remain relevant. Briefs need to be interrogated and agencies need to ensure that client laggards are being challenged to market to a consumer with a new mindset. Brands need to show up in a way that is meaningful and agencies need to ensure that they are aligning more strategically with their clients to ensure that these new consumer needs are met through executing on effective campaigns that still benefit the client’s bottom line.

Shift in consumer mindset

It is undeniable that there has been a rise of a much more discerning consumer, one that demands of a brand to be more purpose-lead. South African consumers are very dynamic, and have been affected in many different ways. This is something that advertisers must keep in mind during the COVID era.

Andrew Brand, CEO of 99Cents, started his business during a global financial crisis and believes that agencies and brands need to now – more than ever – demonstrate their value to consumers. No “fluff” with a greater drive to be as lean and transparent as possible. This has been the secret behind 99Cent’s success.

Branding is purpose. A sentiment that Pepe Marais strongly believes. The only way to move forward is for brands to not only ensure that they have a purpose, but also that they take true action to build all campaigns and messaging around this purpose. Lip-service is not going “cut” it anymore. “Perhaps COVID has come to raise the consciousness of business – to move into a higher order of doing business. Consumers buy into what they believe in, not what you are selling”, says Marais.

Technology and automation

One aspect of “new normal” that is undeniable, is the increased use of technology for many. Informal meetings around the water cooler have been replaced with online meetings. WhatsApp has become the follow ups on emails and new tools for remote collaboration have been implemented.

Technology has the ability to transform a lot of what we do. Andrew Brand points out that a lot of what we do is not a science, it is an art. Technological advances in agencies is not about replacing humans, but rather ensuring that they can perform their tasks efficiently. Reducing mundane tasks is key, not replacing the creative thinker or the creative process.

Working from home as a new normal

A poll conducted during the webinar revealed that 60% of the audience felt that working from home had not been a deterrent to their day-to-day jobs. Employees are being more efficient, are responding to client needs effectively and most are adapting to this way of working. But, humans need interaction. Madeley and Marais both believe that moving forward, the “work-from-home” vs “office based” models will be blended. Office space will not be as necessary as before and could be the perfect way to balance productivity with interaction.

Another COVID-era trend that has been accelerated, is the availability of talented freelance workers due to many retrenchments and agency downsizing. South Africa has been behind the curb until now when it comes to the willingness to utilize a freelance/contract workforce – which is likely to change. With a shift in focus, agencies are slowing starting to realise that if you have the right people working for you, it doesn’t matter if they are permanent or freelance staff. A lot of agencies have had to downsize, therefore increasing the talent pool of skilled people on the job market. Freelancing provides huge value to a client. There will always be a need for full time staff – a way to ensure quality work is produced as well as continuity and culture. The gig economy has been around for a while, perhaps now it is being fast-tracked.

How have agency processes changed?

Lynn Madeley doesn’t believe that agency processes have changed per se. What has changed are the roles that certain people play within the agency. “The COO has become the most important person in our business” Lynn adds. Zwambila adds that instead of retrenching staff in her business within portfolios like eventing, she has utilized these employees in different roles such as client service. Of course the way in which agencies are working has changed; having to quickly adapt to an online world, but core business processes have remained largely the same.

Is now the time to advertise more or less?

Pepe Marais believes that now is the time to advertise better! We are in the business of advertising, not process. We have become admin people rather than Ad-men or Ad-women. Whether budgets are shrinking or not, agencies need to do better work. In this digital world that we live in, we need to be cognisant of the fact that advertising is not about impressions, but rather engagement. Marais hopes that COVID will bring us back to creativity. “Maybe now is the time to bring art back to advertising?” Marais says.

Final remarks and advice for surviving COVID

Andrew Brand:
“A lot of change is still to come, but more will stay the same. People are slow to change, but there are a number of valuable lessons coming out from the COVID and BLM movements. It’s the ultimate reset button, and many agencies and employees will survive this storm.”
Pepe Marais:
“The more you go into service, the more naturally you make money. Human beings and agencies need to go back to adding value and authentic purpose to their lives, and the brands that they work with.”
Lynn Madeley:
“Exercise, eat well, talk to people and find structure in your day. I am a huge believer in health and wellness during stressful times.”
Monalisa Zwambila:
“Humans are resilient. We will probably see that we are all stronger than we thought we were and use this strength as a pivot to do the things that we thought we were incapable of.”

It’s a strange time to be entering adland; with the industry constantly transforming and restructuring to meet consumer demands. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ensure an agency’s success in this period of change and instability. Or, so it seems anyway.

The Drum has teamed up with Deltek, to host a webinar that discusses what a successful agency looks like today, citing purpose, creativity and profitability as some of the key drivers behind adding value to a business.

While brilliant campaigns and creative ideas are an effective currency, they can’t be activated in isolation. Establishing the above key factors with brilliant creativity will elevate an agency further and help to make them stand out from the crowd.

Speakers on the webinar include representatives from creative consultancy firm Radley Yeldar, who will share their company’s journey of harnessing technology to drive innovation. Other conversation points will centre on the importance of cultivating a balance between creativity and transparency to ensure results can be met and understood meaningfully.

The session will take place on November 21st at 11am GMT (13th Hrs South Africa), register your interest here to avoid disappointment.

Register below

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“A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.” George Patton 

 

Tackling succession planning and career mapping can be a mammoth task. Often, we find ourselves needing to get the basics right such as a performance management in the business, training initiatives and to a certain extent hope that will be enough.

Sadly, it is not. Succession Planning and Career Mapping are vital for retention strategies of a business and can no longer be the ‘cousin’ we leave outside in the dark.

Join Kathryn Gordon on Thursday the 5th April @ 10h00 where she will give us insight into a Career Development & Succession Planning software tool that encompasses all aspects of career mapping for employees and succession planning for HR and executives.

Some highlights include: 

• Demonstration of a Development Management software tool with 9 box matrix and domino lists
• Metrics and ROI offered by such a solution
• Points to consider when selecting a Development Management solution
• Implementation timeframes and methodologies
• Sneak peek as to pricing models used by vendors.

Register below to receive the Webinar recording

Learn how Deltek CRM can help your Business Development team with:

  • Monitoring their pipeline
  • Finding and nurturing client relationships
  • How to position for winning
  • Project estimates (profitable projects)
  • Collaboration

Download this 20 minutes Webcast here

 

“Why companies who are winning the war for talent are embracing technology to help them be competitive”

 

“Compensation is key to positive all-round experience for our employees”

Employee compensation can be a significant expense for most companies. Optimising your compensation spend with the confidence that the right people have been paid the right pay and communicated to accurately is vital to establish both loyalty and engagement from your employees.

Join Gerry O’Neill, MD of Curo Compensation on Thursday the 15th March @ 10h00 where he will give us insight into a comprehensive Compensation Management software tool that encompasses all aspects of awarding compensation including internal communications.

Some highlights include:

• Demonstration of a Compensation Management software tool from budget allocation to sign off
• Metrics and ROI offered by such a solution
• Points to consider when selecting a Compensation Management solution
• Implementation timeframes and methodologies
• Sneak peek as to pricing models used by vendors.

Download the Recording below

 

Every project carries risk.  And simply maintaining a list of identified risks doesn’t give you true insight into the impact those risks will have on your project.

To achieve that level of understanding, project teams must have access to a robust tool for risk analysis. But which tool offers the most sophisticated analysis and reporting, all while still being easy to use? In this week’s White Board Wednesday we’re diving deep into what makes Acumen Risk different, and why you should consider making the switch from the competition.

Download the Webcast Below

 

“Why companies who are winning the war for talent are embracing technology to help them be competitive”

 

The secret behind an organisation achieving a greater level of success is its robust performance management. The key to your organisation outperforming your competitors is to improve the morale of your employees, increase their overall productivity and create a sense of loyalty amongst them through performance management.

After countless hours of research, you’ve finally come to the conclusion that your organisation needs to implement a performance management system. Now, you might be tempted to stick with your HRIS’s performance management module, but with a clunky user interface and often bad user experience this option could prevent you from optimising user adoption moving performance away from compensation conversations.

Join Kathryn Gordon on this On Demand Webinar where she will give us insight into a Performance Management software tool that encompasses all aspects of Performance and incorporates both continuous feedback and personal development plans.

Some highlights include: 

• Demonstration of a Performance Management software tool from initial goal setting to closing
• Metrics and ROI offered by such a solution
• Points to consider when selecting a Performance Management solution
• Implementation timeframes and methodologies
• Sneak peek as to pricing models used by vendors.

 

 Request the recording of this webcast below

Would you like to improve your project management and improve your resource utilization in 2018? If so, let us help you do it! Join Brian Sullivan, who has 15 years of experience successfully implementing Project Planning & Resource Planning at firms, as he explains:

  • What does mature project management look like and how can your firm get there?
  • Why should you implement and expand a project planning & resource management strategy at your firm?
  • How can implementing project planning and resource management this year impact your firm’s bottom line?
  • Tips and Tricks learned from principals, project managers and team members from around the globe that have implemented successful project & resource management strategies.
  • Next Steps after implementing a better project management and resource management process and solution

Register here

Many companies use key performance indicators (KPIs) to keep tabs on a project throughout its lifecycle. But too often the KPIs a company chooses are not helpful when it comes to tracking integrity, progress or performance. Some track too many, some track too few.

Join us to learn how you can ensure your business is tracking the ‘right’ metrics and building successful schedules. We’ll cover common scheduling pitfalls, planning best practices, and which KPIs provide actionable information that keep a project on track for project, and profit, success.

Key highlights include:

  • How to find the root of project problems using the right KPIs
  • The top proven project planning best practices
  • Tips for incorporating cost and risk-based metrics
  • How to make better decisions with project benchmarking

The Project Management Office (PMO) is an essential function for project and program success. And organizations with established PMO approaches have shown drastic increases in success as measured by key performance indicators.

Join us to learn five tips for increasing the effectiveness of a PMO, and how it can provide added control to an organization.

Key highlights include:

  • The basic methodologies behind a PMO
  • An overview of the different types of PMOs and how to find the best fit for your organization
  • Key trends in project management that are driving greater efficiency and effectiveness of PMOs at organizations of all sizes