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Extra! Extra! The Meta Keywords Tag is Dead. Finally!

I just read this news snippet by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Land that Yahoo Search No Longer Uses Meta Keywords Tag. Apparently the news came during the Ask The Search Engines session at SMX East in New York yesterday.

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Google is a Market Leader – Is anyone keeping up or even following?

Generally speaking, our World is changing and it is hard for most of us to keep up with new developments, specifically when it comes to technology. In the World of Search, it is much the same and you have to keep on re-inventing yourself. If you don’t, you are constantly lagging behind and you have to work much harder to gain back some ground. Well, this is true, even for the leader in Search.

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Virtuosa Newsletter on Ben’s Beautiful Email Newsletters

In recent years email newsletters have become one of the most important traditional online marketing strategies used to drive leads and traffic to a company’s website. Ben’s Beautiful Email Newsletters is a website dedicated to publishing creative and innovate company newsletters.

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Journal of Marketing – Retail Brands

For those of you who couldn’t join us at today’s Mega Brand Forum you really did miss out! It was a great event, with wonderful insights and engagement from the Brand custodians and the Brand Champions.

There are however two more events coming up this year presented by The Journal of Marketing, so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.

  • 29 October: Retail Brands: How they stay on top
  • 26 November: The annual conference

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Top Brand Mega Forum – Discovery Health

Suzanne Stevens is the General Manager: Marketing Services at Discovery Health and highlighted this about the brand:

  • Discovery is a brand that has started in a product environment, 1993 company was established.
  • We are in fact a very young brand.
  • Using the discovery qualities to evolve our business
  • At the core of everything that Discovery deliver is a clear vision, purpose.
  • Our reason for being is to make people healthier and enhance our lives.
  • We are extremely aware of the emotional and direct impact that we have on peoples lives.
  • Nature of our business is that it reaches people at a critical point in peoples lives.
  • Constantly listening and monitoring to what our customers are telling us.

Question from the audience: How to you deal with the fact that by not settling peoples claims you are perceived as thieves?

Suzanne: This really is a very complex industry and people don’t really understand how health care work. We pool peoples money and the way we pay out claims are regulated by very strict rules and regulations. Also you need to consider that there are really various stakeholders from the doctors /medical staff to the patients, it’s not that simple.

Enver Groenewald – GM Advertising Revenue @ Strategic Communications, Avusa Media LTD:If the Vitality program for some reason stopped to exist would your brand still thrive?

Suzanne: Absolutely Discovery can stand on its own two feet. In every dimension we track ourselves, on financial level, service level and product level.

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Top Brands Mega Forum focus on BMW

A great and impressive speaker Xoliswa Ndungane, General Manager BMW Brand (South Africa) quickly made an impact on her audience. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We have a manifesto at BMW that says we are here to bring joy, on the back of this three letter word we build a company. We are the custodian of emotions, we are the joy of driving, no car company can rival our history, rival our passion or see our vision.
  • Innovation is our backbone by joy is in our hearts.
  • We will give the world the keys to joy , others promise many thing we only make one promise and that is joy

Andy Rice – Chairman, Yellowwod Future Architects: How do you manage a  local market strategy with such an international brand?

Xoliswa: We have input in that strategy, we are not all the same target audience and especially in South Africa that is very true. So we can take global strategy and apply to local markets but we have to add what the local market is looking for. We have always tried to make it our mission although we follow the global strategy it needs to apply and appeal to the local market.

Dr Thomas Oosthuisen – BrandWealth: Your Product design has fundamental impact on your brand, why is it so that difference between Mercedes and BMW is becoming less?

Xoliswa: At BMW we have always been about performance, we don’t built cars for sissy. The reality is that this is a very male brand. But our competitors focus more on elegance. And the fact of the matter is that we rather see it as they becoming closer to us rather than us becoming closer to them.

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Top Brands Mega Forum talks to Avis Rent-A-Car

Some key point from Wayne Duvenage, Chief Executive of Avis-Rent-A-Car during his time in the hot seat:

  • Brand principles are very strong, driven by ambassador program. You can ask anybody in our organization from the tea lady to top executives and they will all be able to tell you.
  • Our Brand promise, are you trying hard enough? People have to step up to the plate…
  • Our Brand is very consistent,
  • It’s important for us to listen to our customers, we have a culture of working hard and playing hard.
  • Spend 2 and a half million a year to measure our customer service, all across the board from sales, reservations etc.
  • We want to make sure that our Customer Service Index is moving to 90% and is constantly there
  • Differentiating factor for us is our people, they are our ambassadors of our brand

Enver Groenewald – GM Advertising Revenue @ Strategic Communications, Avusa Media LTD: Anything you have done differently for international visitors coming for 2010?

Wayne: 2010 is going to be a sell out, but it’s also going to be a tough period for us because we can’t buy extra cars for just 6 weeks. But our focus is really on brand awareness for our international travelers. Making the whole experience quicker and more effective. There will however be a slight  25% price increase over the 2010 period, and we wont be able to offer any specials.

Jeremy Sampson – Group Executive Chairman, Interbrand Sampson Group: How do you as an international brand connect with the local market?

Wayne: We spend a lot of time understanding our markets, building our databases, we identify new markets all the time. The fact is most of our product innovation happens in South Africa.

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Top Brands Forum – Questions for Sun International

Andy Rice – Chairman, Yellowwod Future Architects wants to know: Why after 26 years still so much confusion between Sun International and Southern Sun brands?

David Coutts-Trotter, Chief Executive (Sun International): There remains some confusion I agree but we are trying to create some strong association to the Sun brand. I think within the trade there is good knowledge, but the general public remains a challenge.

Jeremy Sampson – Group Executive Chairman, Interbrand Sampson Group: Do you have a post 2010 strategy?

David: I think it is one of our big challenges, but I believe we have strong locations and we are confident that we can fill them. We do believe that after 2010 you will see more international visitors in South Africa that will be great for the industry in general.

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Sun International in the Hot Seat

Sun International – David Coutts – Trotter, Chief Executive

History of our brand – Sun International as organization formed in 1983 when Southern Sun was in the process of spliting the brand.  During the mid 90’s the casino industry become a very challenging business with illegal slot machines throughout the country. From there on the industry evolved to the regulated industry it is today.

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BP Southern Africa Q&A by Brand Court

Question from the Audience: What were the risk with using Gary Bailey as Soccer sponsorship for 2010?

Tristao Abro, Brand & Insight Manager: Marketing (BP Southern Africa):
Gary is a white soccer player your right and one of the challenges for us was to consider if  Gary is representative of whole of South African market. And we believe so and that is why we have chosen to use him.

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