Digital content creation trends for smart brands to build on in 2020 and beyond – #BizTrends2020

Year-on-year social media platforms tighten the squeeze on how their algorithms prioritise content across timelines in favour of user-experience, which in turn means companies and brands pay more for that space and the smart ones are changing their strategies. Content creation, customer interaction and brand communication online are turning more towards claiming a niche in various communities and evolving messaging from there, unlike sending multiple messages across the web in the hopes that some of it resonates.


Researchers predict that internet advertising will account for 22.7 percent of the total ad market with a value of over 700 million U.S. dollars by 2022.

Brands are seeing more value in focused and targeted strategies that lead to increased community engagement. The advent of 5G and the growth in video consumption will lead to the creation of more visual content that customers can utilise and easily share. There will be more investment in collaborating with content creators whose messaging can be easily linked with certain brands without a major change in narrative.

Short-form brand video ads

New entrant to the banking industry, and challenger brand (in its own right), TymeBank, had one of the most focused social media adverting strategies in 2019; where the brand displayed its card in short-form video format. These GIFs flooded timelines, mine and my immediate circle, resulting in improved brand recognition among social media users in a crowded marketplace. Their smart tactics from artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning to the intelligent use of big data saw them surpassing the 600k customer mark in less than a year.

This short-form, snackable, video content strategy will continue to grow as more brands see value in breaking down their messaging to take advantage of increasingly fast-paced timelines in a hyper competitive attention economy. Video is also one of the most competitive spaces among social media platforms with each trying to out-manoeuvre the other, which creates a gap for brands who understand their customers’ consumption patterns and interests.

Intelligently analysed digital data will be the great differentiator among brands that glean useful insights from those that utilise information at face value.



Increase in branded video content and collaboration

Researchers predict that internet advertising will account for 22.7 percent of the total ad market with a value of over 700 million U.S. dollars by 2022. The growth of 5G, increased use of Stories across social media and the spread of video content will lead to more brands creating original video content and collaborating with video content creators.

Unlike written content, video is more engaging and ensures that people interact with content longer than other mediums across digital platforms. As more brands realise the need to create current, shareable and continually useful content, we will see more quality videos. Some of these will be on the brand’s platforms which – for brands themselves – reduces some of the relative noise they compete with across social media.

With some content creators already working on quality video content, it will be easier for brands to plug into that rather than starting from scratch. Specialist content creators, from video to podcasts, will find it easier to collaborate instead of creating content for a brand outside of their existing portfolio and niche.

Black Twitter and other niche communities

South African brands have begun asking questions about niche communities and some have been successful in engaging with Black Twitter, which is largely characterised by political content. With the maturity of social media in South Africa, especially on Twitter, there is also growth among niche communities that develop around multiple interests.

Smart brands, armed with digital data, will craft their messaging around specific communities with the aim of better targeting.

Year of the micro-influencer (again)

Zara’s #DearSouthAfrica campaign was one of 2019’s most followed trends that had micro-influencers at the centre of it, which talks to how brands are now beginning to adopt a different strategy compared to the celebrity-influencer format. Micro-influencers whose content is focused around specific interests will be included in more campaigns, as brands and their industry peers realise increased value in this ever-growing space.

Smart communicators who will win over audiences across digital in 2020 are the ones that will be seen as enablers, as catalysts for the people they collaborate with and as brands that understand the communities they engage with.

Some micro-influencers create content around things they are passionate about, instead of messaging that a brand is interested in pushing. This is how micro-influencers remain unique and the reason why brands in 2020 will include them in their strategies instead of bigger names.

Intelligent data analysis differentiates

Data has been used by some brands to replace human truth and insights that inform strategy, in 2020 this has begun to change with the growth and influence of niche communities. Intelligently analysed digital data will be the great differentiator among brands that glean useful insights from those that utilise information at face value.

The maturity of social media has ensured that people organise themselves better, more effectively, into niche communities. Brands that invest in community understanding and collaborate will experience increased uptake and interaction, which will lead to more useful data.

There is a growing trend towards enabling content creators and communities to build on their existing efforts in collaboration with brands, instead of the brand taking over completely. Smart communicators who will win over audiences across digital in 2020 are the ones that will be seen as enablers, as catalysts for the people they collaborate with and as brands that understand the communities they engage with.

Finding and creating opportunities to collaborate easier with community insiders will enable brands and their communicators to build on their messaging. There are already content creators whose niche communities find them credible and as long as brand messaging matches the platform, this will be an easier choice. Collaboration, not just finding platforms to advertise, will enable better human connections with those that will lead their industry peers.

This post by Mongezi Mtati was featured on BizCommunity’s #BizTrends2020.

Focus on the Smallest Viable Market: This Is Marketing by Seth Godin

Marketing has come a long way from the days of targeting as many people as possible and hope that some might fit the perfect customer or client demographic. In fact, Seth Godin’s latest book, This Is Marketing clearly speaks to focusing on the smallest viable market. It opens the reader up to a world of possibilities.

This Is Marketing - a book by Seth Godin
This Is Marketing – a book by Seth Godin

If you have followed Seth Godin’s thinking over the years, you realise that This Is Marketing derives a lot of its inspiration from some of his other books. He takes it leaps ahead this time. From the idea of Tribes to Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin demonstrates how marketing has evolved and continues to be about the community you seek to serve. In this book, marketers are persuaded to listen more, to create meaningful connections between their brands and the people they have identified as their customers.


Listen and see

All marketers purport to understand their customer, to have a handle on who their potential clients are and to have messaging that reaches the right people. Some brands get it wrong about their customers, about people in general and this is because most companies don’t invest enough on learning about who they are targeting.


“Marketing isn’t a race to add more features for less money. Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve”, says Seth Godin.

He goes on to share how companies that are devoted to understanding the culture of their audiences are more likely to win than those that focus largely – and mostly – on product improvements.

The more we listen and truly see our customers, the more likely we are to communicate authentically and create a marketing message that resonates.

The Smallest Viable Market

We have long been segmenting our customers, analysing demographics and communicating with people based on these. Or least who we believe are the most relevant people. The market we choose needs to be smaller, more specific and clearly defined.

Your work is not for everyone, it shouldn’t be and the more clearly defined your audience the smaller that community is. Part of the challenge Seth talks to is the fact that marketers dilute their messaging by trying to be more inclusive, while missing out on the opportunity to connect better with the right people.


“It’s impossible to create work that both matters and pleases everyone.” – Seth Godin (This Is Marketing)

From: This Is Marketing

Invest in trust and earn enrollment

Many brands invest getting their message out there, in making promises that they fail to keep which causes damage and destroys the affinity that people had. The opposite is to build trust, to encourage connection and to create unmatched customer experience through positive action. Especially when the worst happens. 


 “The goal isn’t to maximize social media numbers. The goal is to be known to the smallest viable audience.” – Seth Godin (This Is Marketing)

Trust, Seth Godin suggests, leads to enrollment. In this case the idea of enrollment is when people lean in, when they effortlessly connect and become part of the change you are working towards.

This book signifies a shift in marketing, in how we interact and connect with people for change to happen. Whether that change is to make a sale or to increase newsletter signups, this book has a compelling message about why you should focus on a small audience and grow that community. It also comes with a unique code to join a community of peers from across the globe who are changing the status quo in marketing.

Entrepreneur Magazine Feature: Marketing Your Startup

The September 2017 edition of Entrepeneur features some marketing lessons we got from building WordStart and doing some client work. We often get so focused on clients that we forget treat ourselves and our startup as the client – or better. I know that things certainly fall through the cracks with focus sometimes all over the place.

This piece takes many hits and misses into account, as well as some experiments that we embarked on outside of budgets where we were able to collaborate and test some ideas.

I would love hear your what works for your marketing. What hacks do you have that we can learn from?

Entrepreneur magazine piece - September 2017 Get the September edition of South Africa’s Entrepreneur magazine, look out for page 59 and come share your thoughts. Or tweet me on @Mongezi.

Lifestyle Makeover Feature on Destiny Man

A little over two and a half years ago I took on the challenge of changing my lifestyle, of getting healthier, fitter and more active – I had no idea that the journey would end up on Destiny Man. The February 2017 issue of the prestigious men’s magazine, in stores now, features some of the things I discovered along the way.

At the time of starting with my very short run – which felt like I had just done the Ironman – I had no idea that the path would lead to being more effective at work, to making new connections with people who would have never been on my radar under normal circumstances.

Leaps of Faith by Mongezi Mtati On: Destiny Man, Feb 2017

As it happens when you start on a new journey to change your life, there are always obstacles and rude awakenings. In my case, ice-cold damper in my deep slumber was a running app that was recommended by Phetheho Mosia whom I’m sure got a thrill from mild disappointment. The article talks to how I discovered that shortness of my Ironman run and walk, but it’s great that the awakening occurred when it did.

You’ll also discover how important it is to have key goals for your new lifestyle and somebody to crack the whip and in my case it’s the obstacle racing Peter Peele. He manages to push long past I’ve exhaled my last breath and only fire goes through my chest. So yes, I’m surrounded by legends who push me. I wouldn’t call them friends when huff, puff, limp, curse the day I met them and imagine the finish line.

Lindsay Grubb cracks the whip when I slack with the writing which has proven to be invaluable and boy is that absolutely helpful. Documenting some of these stories needs magician’s eye and she just may be the unmentioned secret inspector at the literature department at Hogwarts.

Thanks to Marco Caromba, Duncan and the Jozi X team for allowing us to use the park for the pictures and the adventure experience that you’ll see in the piece. They host some of the most challenging obstacle course races that will make you want to get fitter and they are also the friendliest bunch you’ll ever meet at these activities. Their BattleRush events introduced us to the adrenaline and the bug of obstacle course racing. Check them out here.

This past weekend marked the fastest – relatively uphill – half marathon (21.1km for the non runners) that I have taken on.

Please get a copy and share your thoughts.

Support your marketing and become a thought leader

With the economy being as it is, more companies cutting budget for communications and the saturated marketplace, how do you further differentiate yourself and support your marketing?

This is one of the questions I constantly grapple with and I shared my take in the January 2017 issue of Entrepreneur magazine. Please take a quick glance below, get yourself a copy before they run out and share your opinion.

Become a thought leader - by Mongezi Mtati

Become a thought leader – By Mongezi Mtati on Entrepreneur

 

Asics delivers a pair of Gel Nimbus 18 within 24 hours

After being in a bind and writing about Asics and Tekkie Town, where neither of them took the time to respond after I sent back a pair of running shoes. As it happens in these instances, I wrote about it and ranted a bit here, which was followed by the all-important and standard tweet.


Asics South Africa
Asics very quickly responded to the tweet where Dawid Visser took over the matter and owned it – with an apology. I appreciated how no one was badmouthing the other inside Asics, where resolving the issue was more important than who had not taken it upon themselves to act on an email and calls.

[Add crickets at Tekkie Town here]

The Asics sales manager, Craig also phoned to apologise on behalf of the brand and their management. They took it all seriously, especially the fact that it went public where most brands try to keep these matters private. It all seemed sincere, as though Craig and Dawid wanted to help and they did.

One of the expectations that I had, which very quickly changed, was that they would want to investigate with Tekkie Town and spend more time keeping me waiting. Instead, Dawid asked me about sizes [I’m a UK size 14 ;-)] and told me that the version I had bought was now out of stock and that he would send another one.

Asics Gel Nimbus 18

After talking to Dawid and sending him my humanly impossible running shoe size, they delivered a brand new pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 18 within 24 hours. It’s always great when a brand goes expectations and shows care where many others have disappointed their customers.

Thanks Asics. I’m taking this new pair for its first Soweto Marathon.

Asics and Tekkie Town – A world of pain and no response

Leading up to a 21km run in – April 2016, after much procrastination, I bought my umpteenth pair of Asics running shoes from Tekkie Town in Boksburg. It was the first time that I bought from Tekkie Town and they turned out to be reasonable in comparison to other Asics stockists. The next day, I took this shiny new fiery orange pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 16 for a half marathon and sustained injuries that took to me days to recover from.

Tekkie Town complaint

Asics complaint at Tekkie Town

Some runners would say brand new running shoes aren’t great for races, as though they should be broken in and taken for some runs first, which I attributed the nearly broken legs to. Truth be told, I never had that problem in a pair of Asics. Five runs later, the problem persisted and I phoned Asics to find out what the issue could have been. This was not getting any better, I would suffer for a day or two before getting back on the road because of injuries.

On 4 May 2016 – a lady by the name of Kiera Powell took my call at Asics and she assured me that she would take care of the issue and that the call would help to speed up the process. She further advised that I return the shoes to Tekkie Town because they needed to assess the quality of this new pair of Gel Nimbus 16. According to her, the quality of the cushioning can sometimes deteriorate if the shoes are stored for too long. She also advised that I send an email with my details and a picture of the shoes which will form part of their assessment, which I very quickly did.

Emails to Asics South Africa

Emails to Asics South Africa

Part of the assessment includes images that the store sends to the manufacturer where they ascertain whether there is damage or not. That said though, the stockist – Tekkie Town in this case – knew exactly how to take the images. I’m no expert at photography or running shoes and I trust their just judgement.
Running shoes
The next step was to take the shoes to Tekkie Town in Boksburg – limps and all – and these were received by a friendly store manager who advised that the Asics consultant would assess the shoes and make recommendations. Anton said he would call me in a week and that went the same way as the emails from Asics, but when I eventually got a hold of him about two weeks later – he was just about to dial my number. Just about. Had I just waited another five minutes, he would have called with feedback to say the Asics consultant saw the shoes and they would revert with feedback.

Asics running shoes

Kiera Powell, had still not received my email or the report from Tekkie Town – she probably still hadn’t until I sent a tweet to their account finding out if she works there. These things get stuck in the mail, calls aren’t answered at Asics and well……the internet loses stuff and all.

By now, the old pair I was replacing began causing more injuries with every run that was meant to help mitigate the situation and it was better to buy another pair than to wait for Asics and send them more emails. Instead of not training, I got a new pair about a month later because there other one is still held captive. The assumption is that they completely taken the shoes apart and they are giving it thorough inspection. In fact, Anton left Tekkie Town and the new manager took on the case, also promised to return my call and she hasn’t.

Part of the theory is that it may be the wrong type of pair that the Asics Nimbus model was not right, but in fact I used a similar model for over a year. The one that this pair was meant to replace was also a Nimbus and it was as dream to run in.

Asics and Tekkie Town, when you read this – if you ever get to – please ask your labs and scientists how close they to concluding this case, it has now been four months. You have already phased out some designs and brought new ones in.

At the time of writing this, now in August 2016, I sent to tweet to Asics South Africa whom I think alerted Kiera Powell of the problem and she called but the issue still

Community Manager Appreciation

Recent months have seen brands get their fair share of social media criticism, from Uzzi going viral because of xenophobic attacks in Alexandra, the ‘bestie’ post by Appletiser to KFC in Braamfontein, where community managers needed miracles to dowse the blaze. These are just a few of the instances that made it onto the radar.
Social media - mobile

On a normal day, social media community managers work their magic wands on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and the rest of the social web around brand reputations and fuming customers. My latest post on Marklives covers some insights from seasoned social media strategists who built some award-winning communities and campaigns. They all agree that trust and being more human – yes, even as brands – is what wins over brand-speak and policy.

They also maintain that the responsibility lies with both the brand the social media who represent them online.

Have a look at the post on Marklives here and get chocolate for that community manager on your way to the office.

Five startup lessons

Since everyone feels the need to offer entrepreneurial advice to startups, anywhere from motivational the odd motivational talk to how you should build, it’s hard to know what to take and what not to. The August 2015 issue of Entrepreneur magazine has a piece with some of the most timeless advice that I received from seasoned entrepreneurs. These continue to be relevant and some I wrestle with from time to time.

Have a look at the piece below and grab yourself of Entrepreneur:

Turn Critics Into Brand Evangelists

In recent news, a certain deep-fried chicken franchise went viral for the wrong reasons and if you followed the story, as I did for a while, you would have realised that the brand tried to engage. The unfortunate part was that as viral news stories go, the brand that’s a villain gets it the hardest.

I’m not saying I didn’t go to KFC a few times after the stories spread. You know. . . . . just to test at a few branches whether it was all true. How could I write about it if I didn’t test the chicken myself?

Meanwhile, there are brands whose communities grow, who are committed to adding one memorable customer story at a time. Brands like Rocomamas that I wrote about on Marklives. And yes, once again, I had to see whether any of what Brian Altriche, founder and chief operating officer of RocoMamas, told me was true. The hardest part was taking the stairs instead of elevators

The hardest part was taking the stairs instead of elevators and sitting out the next weigh-in later that week.

Read the piece I wrote on Marklives.com and find out how RocoMamas creates a street team of evangelists behind their burger shop and restaurant.