We are a good way into the 1st quarter of 2017 and already the year promises to be as tough as it can be a charmed year for business.
We took some time to chat with some industry practitioners who dedicate some time to engage the students here, namely Ali Hussein Kassim and Njuguna Mugwe. We wanted to know what tricks or pointers are likely to shape conversations and strategies among marketers, ad agency executives and PR practitioners in Kenya and particularly Nairobi this year. This is what they had to say.
- More reliance on research
Brands are now realizing that with the dynamism that digital has brought into the communications arena, never before has there been a need to know exactly what consumers want, how they want it, where they want it and when they want it, in a bid to remain relevant while driving sales. Never have we had so much data to make sense out of nor the means to generate even more data. Companies are increasingly feeling the pressure to engage their own in-house researchers to make sense out of all this data, in order to efficiently convert it into relevant brand messaging. Interestingly the demand for tools and skills especially for online data is still low, yet the need is overwhelming.
- Growth for Digital
By now we can all agree that there has been a fundamental shift in the way communication is done thanks to the internet and digital. More people are spending more time online. Therefore to engage these people, brands must also move online more decisively. 2016 was a big year with more brands testing the waters of social media and the larger internet. 2017 will see more companies take time to understand these new channels and see how to use them more effectively thus increasing their spend on digital platforms. As spend on digital continues to rise we hope to see more brands getting personal with us and engaging consumers in their journey in a more human approach. The opportunities to sharpen our game in this area this year are boundless.
- Marketing Automation
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.Not only is this a cost effective and time saving tactic for companies but it would ensure that your product is top of mind to those who are already within your marketing funnel. On the flip side this implies more job losses in a sector that’s barely getting a hold of itself as Media spend decreases and media businesses and those affiliated try to survive the wave of ‘digital disruption’. For those keeping up with trends and consistently investing in training opportunities, this is a great opportunity to grow and benefit from the first wave this new age in media and brand communications.
- Conversations and investment in content based strategies will drive business:
Did you know that search engine algorithms rely heavily on 3rd party content to improve your SEO rankings? Yes, it’s true. The more people there are talking about you on their spaces, the better your search results rank. So it’s not enough to have a killer set of Keywords any more. More and more often we are hearing business executives decrying the lack of tangible results when engaging bloggers and influencers’, yet the value of their conversation for your business and nascent as it may seem, is almost priceless. Also brands are realizing that short video and pictorial presentations take their brand visibility very far in digital spaces, therefore content creators are increasingly valuable in the brand communications sector.
On the face of it, 2017 is likely a difficult year whose, only saving grace for a few of us, is the upcoming general elections and the increased liquidity due to campaign spend. But for many of us, a depressed business climate and advances we are barely keeping up with are a real threat. But within this storm is the need for solutions, tools and re investment of resources which in itself is a great opportunity to not only survive but thrive in 2017.
“The secret of success in business is in detecting where the world will go and get there FIRST” ~ Bill Gates
What are your observations and expectations for 2017? As always we at the International School want to hear from you and share out resources to equip industry professionals with the best tools and skills that will raise the profile of brand communications in Kenya!