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Dr Iraj Abedian -Top 10 Economic of 2010

Dr Iraj Abedian CEO, Pan-African Investment and Research Services takes a very close view on the economy and what will happen in 2010.

  • The end of recession in South Africa
    Credit extension fallen sharply and will reverse in 2010
  • Further dollar weakness will mean stronger demand for gold, and general commodity price appreciation
    US dollar is on a one way track
  • Continued rand volatility with an appreciated bias
    This complicates business planning and exports
  • Increased electricity and water tariffs, and other public utilities, leading to higher cost-push inflation.
    Last 25 years South Africa has underinvested in our public infrastructure and it’s impossible to catch up with that in a year or two
  • Expect tariff increases and a lot of political debate around it
  • The return of ‘high deficit’ fiscal regime with prospect of rising taxes. However public debt is relatively low, and foreign public debt is relatively small, immunized against Rand volatility
  • Fairly stable monetary policy with low interest rates
    Interest rates failing at last
  • Rising demand for ‘social delivery’ in the face of public sector’s limited delivery capacity
  • The return of macroeconomic policy uncertainty
  • Growing focus on economics of income disparities
  • 2010 Soccer World Cup will showcase South Africa’s infrastructure resilience

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Dr John Ledger – Focusing on the Environment

Dr John Ledger – Associate Professor of Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg looks at 2010 as the year of biodiversity and what that means for all of us:

Energy ideas

  • After 2010 how are we going to cope with household and business energy needs? Get hold of a solar water heater
  • Look at the possibility to invest into a small systems to use sun energy
  • You need to convert your lighting to energy efficient lighting
  • Wood – use wood burning stoves rather than open burning fires

Environmental ideas

  • Respect water and how we use it
  • Education is at the basis of everything – need future generations to understand how fragile our planet is
  • Support Eco warriors – the people that work tirelessly for the environment
  • Johannesburg Zoo – a jewel in this city, support it and likewise establishments

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Martin Rosen – Let’s go surfing

Martin Rosen the MD, Mega Vision Media admits early on that he is actually a retailer at heart and not really a marketer. Martin believes that 2010 is like a big wave approaching South Africa.

  • The people that catch the 2010 wave will be innovative, opportunistic and aggressive – ambush marketing will not work. The people that take advantage of the world cup need to come with something really original to be able to stand out.
  • Everybody in South Africa will play a role in how the people that visit our country will perceive South Africa. Real opportunity to prove to visitors that we are good host and run a first class show.
    Advertising is all good, the real experience will be in the queue all across the country. In the service levels that people will experience when visiting the country.
  • You can’t con people in media anymore- the real tools are so much more powerful than mass media, facebook, linkedin, twitter, myspace. In agencies not big enough shift from traditional spend to the digital arena. Mass media is playing a less important role. Revenue in mass media is gonna dry up.
  • Great brands will always exist, people can really compare and talk to other people about services.
  • When you look at new toys out there like mobile marketing, ecommerce, social media. There is a real lack of understanding and a shift is needed from traditional marketing spend to digital/ new media tools.

It’s important to use all of the tools to our disposable to ensure that the people who visit our country really get to experience the countries hospitality as this will build a legecy for post 2010.

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Lebo Biko, 5 Marketing Trends & 5 Opportunities for 2010

Lebo Biko – Managing Director, BBDO Consulting identified 5 Marketing Trends and 5 Opportunities looking towards 2010.

5 Marketing Trends and Ideas

  • Consumers new value equation from impulse and indulgence to value and simplicity
  • Brands will have to redefine and re-articulate their essence
  • Business should be marketing: yet marketing is not always business
  • Definition of consumer equity will need to take into consideration the intangibles – more on meeting unmet needs
  • Giving is the new taking and sharing the new giving

5 Marketing Opportunities for 2010

  • The 2010 FIFA World Cup has immense opportunities for both country and brand – build next 1994 moments
  • The soccer spectacular will build legacies for brands that are not just external- great opportunity to motivate staff
  • Brands that connect with soccer will build a new emotional connection with their existing and potential market
  • Accelerate the brand externally towards measurable results, legally – use the 2010 as springboard

Keys to success for 2010 and beyond

  • Be prepared for the most unlikely events
  • Think the unthinkable
  • Focus on value but never forget values
  • Have a story to tell
  • Be adventures
  • Be proactive
  • Be revolutionary, incremental changes is backward changes

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Prof John Simpson, The impact of the Recessions on Brands

According to Prof John Simpson (Director, Unilever Institute for Strategic Marketing, UCT) consumers behavior lacks quite considerable from what economist tell us is the current state of the economy. So although there are talks about the recession being almost over consumers don’t experience that, in fact the complete opposite. Specific research on how consumers are experiencing the recession will be important for marketers especially looking to 2010. Specific groups have been identified, looking specifically at LSM 5-10 that is making up 80% of spend:

Strugglers are low on confidence and low on financial flexibility
Struggling to survive which has great bearing on what products and brands they buy. Most of them spent money on food. Highly resourceful to stretch their money – bargain hunters. Low Brand loyalty. Have also influenced culture, can’t share anymore.

Brands are very important to them, all about me and me. Don’t compromise on brand image

Young Family
Being hit very hard, sacrifice a great deal. Going more and more towards house brands. They are developing intense dislike of shopping. Looks at the future rather than today.

Older Black Middle Class
Brand is still important, not going to give up anything, brands are still important. Self image and brand are very important.

Prime Timers
Lifestyle spending money on, and to try and improve on it. Not going to change my lifestyle.

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Derek Carstens 10 Ideas for 2010

LOC for 2010′s Chief Marketing Officer Derek Carstens started off The Annual conference focusing mostly on the positive aspects of 2010 and what this could mean for all of us.

  • People seem to think that this 2010 is not taking place in our own country, do not wait for an invitation to your own party! This is the biggest thing that has happened to our own country in the last 10 years, and we have worked hard to host this. Be excited about it and take part
  • Take emotional ownership of the event – yourself, your company your industry. Getting in to the spirit of this event. Get into the Gees! Get informed about this event so that you don’t miss out on this event. Our team needs our support – get behind it. Frances time where nowhere but they won it in France.
  • Use the event to rally staff and build morale – take the initiative with staff have football Friday, football competition and fly our flag. Will be amazing what this can do for your staff.
  • Do not waste time, energy and money on Ambush Marketing – you will get found out!
  • Buy tickets – you can’t beat being there. Don’t miss out on the experience of 90 million people in one of the wonderful upgraded stadiums. There is nothing that beats that feeling, the vuvuzule’s are gonna be happening. It will be a life changing experience.
  • Get your lips around a Vuvuzela and your body into a Bafana shirt.
  • Host a public viewing event
  • Think of how to fill void post 2010

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10 Experts giving 10 Ideas for 2010

On Thursday you can gain the edge over everyone else before the start of the new year by attending this year’s Annual Conference. 10 leading trend experts, all in specialist areas have been asked to come up with then things for 2010.

In every way, 2010 is a landmark event for South Africa as we host one of the world’s great sporting events. What most South African business people need is intelligence, a blueprint, a GPS system that will point out opportunities and pitfalls. This event is sure to provide some interesting insights and impressive ideas.

The team at Virtuosa will be attending the event hosted at the Wanderers Club and once again keep you up to date with live blogging and tweets. So if you are not able to be there in person be sure to follow us on the day.

The line up of speakers includes:

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Update to Bing & Google in a Race to Conquer Social Search – Yahoo now also in negotiations

This is a follow up on my previous post “Bing & Google in a Race to Conquer Social Search“.

According to Search Engine Roundtable amd Reuters report, Yahoo is reportedly in similar negotiations with Twitter as well and it is clear that all the search engines find the content within Twitter to be valuable.

Thanks to @seroundtable & @rustybrick

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Bing & Google in a Race to Conquer Social Search

Only a few hours after Microsoft announced deals with Twitter and Facebook to integrate real time data into Bing’s search results, Google’s Marissa Mayer announces at the Web 2.0 Summit that Google Social Search will be launching in the coming weeks.

There has been so much said about this in the last 24 hours, and it is hard to keep up with all the blogs, news and article mentions. Let me try and summarize quickly…

Yesterday Microsoft announced sealed agreements to access real-time content from social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to boost search engine results in Bing. According to Microsoft executives at a presentation at a San Francisco Internet conference, Bing is hoping to take on current dominant search leader Google in the sphere of Social Search and will have access to Twitter’s entire store of public data in real time as well as content from social networking site Facebook. At the same conference, it was also announced that a standalone Twitter search service will be offered at Bing, with some ranking technology other than sort by date involved, and that shortened URLs will be expanded. And finally, there would be some integration within the regular Bing service itself.

Only a few hours later, Google’s Marissa Mayer announced Google Social Search will be launching in the coming weeks. This feature will allow you to see results for queries from people in your social network and will work only via your own Google Profile. In your profile, if you add add links to social networks you’re a member of, such as FriendFeed or Twitter, Google will scan who you are connected to and give your results from those people which will then be integrated in to regular results. Google emphasised their goal of creating the most comprehensive, relevant and fast search and believe that their search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, looking forward to having a product showcasing how tweets can make search better in the coming months.

There has been such talk for some time and even though Bing (MSFT) beat Google to it by first announcing the integration of real-time data into search results, it is clear that this move from both indicate what the future of Search holds for us. Social Integration. Real-time data in Search results! This indicates the importance of consumer perception and the value of comments made by the average consumer and the trust they have regarding brands and products.

This is somewhat confirmed by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg saying that The Future is Social, Not Search. While Google is by far Facebook’s biggest rival in terms of Paid Advertising, it was clear that no love is lost between Google and Sheryl Sandberg, an ex-Googler. Sandberg said that Facebook is leading the net from the information age to the social age, where people will be finding their important answers not through Google but through their friends. As for search, Sandberg said Google would still have a place in the future, even if it’s not very big.

The face of search is indeed going to change and the race to be there first is definately on. The next days, weeks and months will be very interesting.

How will consumer behaviour affect search and the ranking relevance of brands and products in the SERP’s?

My personal prediction is that this affect won’t be seen immediately, but that it will slowly take affect as both Search Engines integrate real time data over the coming months.

For me, the future of Search will neither be Search, nor Social. The future of Search will be “Social Search” – Integrated Real-Time Search, (hopefully) relevant, updated results, as it happens.

How Bing and Google will control what is included in the search results will be interesting to see, but this can only be a good thing for companies doing Online Reputation Management. Hopefully businesses and corporates will be forced to operate in the social spaces more to not only control the conversations, but also add to it, or respond.


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Yahoo To Drop Paid Inclusion Program By Year-End

Alright, so there it is. Yahoo apparently announced that their paid inclusion program will cease at the end of this year. No official statement has been made by Yahoo (not on the Yahoo! Search Blog), but it seems that this was announced via a statement from Yahoo as well as a Yahoo representative confirming the move on a panel discussion moderated by Search Engine Land Editor-in-Chief Danny Sullivan at the iProspect/Range Online Media Client Summit.

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