November 2014 - Maverick Mind

If you sell chickens, make sure your chickens are great

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Global Entrepreneurship Week is always an exciting time for entrepreneurs all over the world. It is a time for reflection, taking stock and very importantly, learning from other entrepreneurs. For me, the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week has been a time of introspection and asking hard questions: the biggest question of them all is Maverick Mind’s existence as a business; What value are we adding to society?

My business partner and I, recently met with Pepe Marais, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of Joe Public – South Africa’s largest independent communications group. It is no secret that I have tremendous respect for Joe Public as a business and have become somewhat of a groupie…but that was not why we met. We met to talk about the business of Advertising and Entrepreneurship. Our conversation began, and I immediately jumped to talking about our Company: all the intricacies involved in building a reputable digital agency and where our focus lies. I went on to describe how we are improving processes, our growth trajectory and the challenges of a small agency in the current climate.

Half way into my diatribe, Pepe politely interjected and asked me the very “simple” question: why are we (Maverick Mind) in business? I gave him a half-baked answer: I told him that we are driven by purpose, to create quality work and make our clients supremely happy. The question however, lingered in my mind, haunting me for more than a week. After much thought and introspection, everything became crystal clear: being an entrepreneur is no longer (or was never?) just about narrow economic interests, it is of cultural significance, an endeavour of the human spirit to be the best it can be.

In our harsh economic climate, with a projected economic growth of 1.2 percent for South Africa in 2015, our united job is to create an enabling environment, our job is to create more jobs. Our focus is and should be our clients – growing their businesses, driving results that benefit them and, the economy. We need to produce excellent work. We need to find the smartest solutions. Our deliverables should go beyond private interests. If one grows, we all should grow. Our approach to work is rooted in this passion. As Maverick Mind, we want to be the best we can be.The principle is very simple, in the words of Pepe “If you sell chickens, make sure your chickens are great”.

Q&A with Theresa Vitale GM of IAB SA

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Theresa Vitale GM of IAB SA (been working for IAB since it started back in May 2003 as the OPA, when my interview was conducted via video conference I knew this job would be different and it has been amazing to see the growth not only of the IAB but the industry as a whole.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: The people I work with in the industry and I especially love reading/hearing about startups in the industry!

Q: What guided you in this direction? Was it a moment, a series of events?
A: I have always been involved in media, more on the broadcast side but it was a sort of natural progression towards digital, though at the time of starting at IAB SA (then known as OPA) I really wanted a half day work to focus on my biggest projects in life – my children

Q: What online/offline publications do you read to keep up with developments and trends in your industry?
A: I love business focused magazines (Forbes, Bloomberg & Business Week) I do love the printed editions and being able to page through them (yip I know old school ). Online, my favourites are Techcentral, Ventureburn and Bizcommunity.

Q: What’s the next big thing in your industry?
 A: Augmented Reality

Q: How has the internet impacted your industry/job?
 A: It is amazing an infinite source of any info you require, you can reach anyone (almost) anywhere. Though I must admit I do take time to disconnect and also live in the real world.

Q: How are you using social media or other digital tools to connect with your consumers and readers?
A: Email is the key tool – my direct access to members, IAB steerco and board and everybody who needs any information.

Q: Do you think digital marketers understand social media or other online tools? What about publishers?
 A: I think some do and others just have a social media presence to be there.

Q: What mistakes do companies commonly make when trying to communicate to you using the online space?
A: SMS via email can come across as rude and using twitter to ask questions or complain when one should first try the direct route irks me. It is important to keep in mind the different platforms available if the direct route – email or phone call to someone does not deliver results then by all means go social.

Q: Do you think Digital Marketing is important?
A: Yes, all marketing is important and I think the key is to avoid one dimensional marketing whether it is digital or real world and to rather focus on building relationships.

Q: What advice can you offer businesses or individuals when using digital marketing tools?
A: Stay polite, remember there is a person on the other end, don’t forget to also connect in the real world and be yourself – keep it real.

Q&A with Bontle Moeng founder of BizNis Africa

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Bontle Moeng is the Founder and Managing Director for BizNis Africa. BizNis Africa is an independent online trade and investment news website that focuses on Africa’s 3 major business economic sectors – ICT, Mining and Energy.

Moeng has over 12 years working experience in the online media industry, where she was responsible for successfully managing content and social media platforms for leading global brands. She has a strong passion for creating content that engages and grows online users.

Throughout her media career, she has worked as an Online Journalist, Online Marketing Manager, Social Media Community Manager and Online Content Manager for various companies – Media 24, Big Media, eNitiate, Global Interface Consulting and agencies including: City of Joburg,
SAInfo, ITWeb, Starfish Mobile,
MiWay,
ITNewsAfrica, SME South
Africa, AVATAR, Eskom IDM and Eskom 49M.

Moeng holds a BA Journalism Degree from the Midrand Graduate Institute and a Digital Marketing Diploma from the AAA School of Advertising.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: Writing and Researching relevant content to publish on the website. In addition, I enjoy interviewing corporate executives from various African countries. I gain a lot of insight from their experience. The African population has a wealth of knowledge and is filled with very smart professionals.
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Q: Did you always want to be an online business magazine publisher?
A: Absolutely. That’s the main reason I studied Journalism in the first place. My plan was not to become a Journalist but to understand the industry and launch my own publication. I’m currently fulfilling my passion and purpose.

Q: When did you realise you wanted to be doing this?
A: In 2010 I attended an MBA on Entrepreneurship workshop at GIBS. As soon as I arrived home I drafted my business idea. BizNis Africa was established that evening.

Q: What online/offline publications do you read to keep up with developments and trends in your industry?
A: I tend to read Ventures Africa, CNBCAfrica, Forbes Africa, ITNewsAfrica, TechCentral, Memeburn, MyBroadband, Mining Weekly, Destiny Connect, Business Day and ITWebAfrica on a daily basis.

Q: What’s the next big thing in your industry?
 A: I think Online Content Strategy Techniques will play a vital role across the industry. It can assist business leaders to make informed decisions regarding the value of their websites to their clients and users.

Q: How has the internet impacted your industry/job?
 A: The Internet has changed the global news reporting process. The manner at which journalists gather relevant news and disseminate it to an audience is quicker than in previous years. The Internet has played a vital role in growing the entire online industry. As a result, there are more online business ventures and social entrepreneurs in the world.

Q: How are you using social media or other digital tools to connect with your consumers and readers?
A: BizNis Africa uses social media to share the latest content, spread breaking news and to engage users on topical ideas.
Do you think digital marketers understand social media? What about publishers?
Digital Marketers have a fair amount of understanding the impact of social media for their business. There are more key trends that they need to consider as the industry is constantly evolving. There is no business that can claim to know everything and be able to provide all the answers.

The industry as a whole thrives on sharing ideas and constantly acquiring new skills.
Online publishers need to get more in-depth understanding of social media. Most online publishers have not embraced or used social media effectively. I am confident that digital marketers and online publisher’s attitude towards social media can change to offer a real return on investment.

Q: What mistakes do companies commonly make when trying to communicate to you via social media?
 A: Most companies assume I will respond immediately. At times I’m caught up with editorial deadlines and tend to get back to them at a later time. Perhaps I need a social media community manager that can look after that aspect of the business.

Q: Apple or Samsung?
 A: Samsung has always been my preferred choice. I just love their product design and apps.

Q&A with Akua Koranteng

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Akua Koranteng holds an honours degree in Economics from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and a masters degree in International Finance from the Amsterdam Business School (Holland). Her practical experience has been obtained from working in the Corporate Finance division of the Merrill Lynch office in Johannesburg and working in the Structured Finance-Property Finance division of Rand Merchant Bank office in Johannesburg.

Her current knowledge and understating of the commercial property space and financial industry is indispensable. Akua holds the position of non-executive director on the board of Jones Lange LaSalle (Pty) Ltd and director of Zinza Investments (Pty) Ltd, a Commercial Real Estate advisory and investments company.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: My passion for advising and investing within the Commercial Real Estate industry and being my own boss.

Q: What guided you in this direction? Was it a moment, a series of events?
A: A need for personal growth and defining myself outside of the corporate space.

Q: What online/offline publications do you read to keep up with developments and trends in your industry?
A: Real Estate related content, Financial related content, Africa related content sourced from various providers such as Eprop, SAPOA, Financial Mail, SA Real Estate

Q: What’s the next big thing in your industry?
 A: Capitalising on opportunities outside of South Africa but within the African continent. South Africa is a lot more mature relative to the rest of the continent and as such skills can be used for the benefit of the rest of the continent’s Real Estate aspirations

Q: How has the internet impacted your industry/job?
 A: Facilitated ease of showcasing Zinza Investments service offering within the Real Estate space not only in South Africa but also within parts of West and East Africa. Ease of access to and communication with a broader client base

Q: How are you using social media or other digital tools to connect with your consumers and readers?
A: Regular company related updates via the likes of facebook, twitter and mail-chimp. Traditional email still allows for a more personalised form of communication and individual responses to such.

Q: Do you think digital marketers understand social media or other online tools? What about publishers?
 A: Yes. Yes as both hard and soft copy content are easily available.

Q: What mistakes do companies commonly make when trying to communicate to you using the online space?
A: Communication of info that is at times irrelevant to me. Too much info at times detracting from reviewing entire communication content.

Q: Do you think Digital Marketing is important?
A: Yes it is as its often a quicker and easier way of reaching a wider audience and it also allows for proper categorisation of who to send what to due to follow up interaction (eg tracking who reads what, who clicks on what who responds to what etc)

Q: What advice can you offer businesses or individuals when using digital marketing tools?
A: Keep it short and simple and to the point. Target the right audience with selected content and vice versa. Where more content is required allow for target to request this or be able to access such via an alternate link (link to a full pdf doc for eg).