The inaugural Marketing Achievement Awards (MAA) and Marketing Achievement Summit took place at Sun City on 26 and 27 June 2019, starting with a cocktail party on Wednesday evening, followed by the summit on Thursday morning and the awards gala dinner on Thursday evening.
The Marketing Achievement Awards is our client, with Flow doing the PR for the awards and live social media coverage at the event. In addition, Flow CEO Tara Turkington led a reputation management panel at the summit with three of our leading clients.
The Marketing Achievement Awards celebrate excellence in the science and art of marketing. The awards recognise and reward successful marketing initiatives and thought leadership in the South African marketing industry.
Seven Flowstars attended the event, which turned out to be an adventurous and fun-filled journey, with us learning many new things about each other, about our clients, about marketing, wine, tequila and ballroom dancing at Vibes (Sun City’s nightclub where the after-party was held).
There was never a dull moment and we even had a close encounter with the local wildlife as a baboon decided to hang out in one of our rooms and duly investigate what the unlucky Flowstar had decided to bring on the trip, unzipping her handbag, taking credit cards out of her wallet, unzipping her laptop bag and finally making off with a packet of biscuits – but thankfully leaving behind the bottle of tequila after not quite managing to unscrew the lid.
The highlight for Flow was, however, the reputation management panel chaired by Tara, during which a number of Flow clients shared fascinating insights.
On the panel were Phumelela Dhlomo, the Road Accident Fund’s chief marketing officer (CMO) who, from July, holds the same position at the Government Employees Medical Scheme, as well as Luzuko Koti, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s director of communications and outreach, and Heidi Brauer, Hollard Insurance CMO and an MAA council member and judge. Collectively, they represented a cross-section of marketing industry leaders from the government, civil society and the private sector.
A company’s reputation is central to any marketing initiatives, and managing brand reputation is an ongoing and intricate process. The panel discussed how marketers can manage a brand’s reputation in a connected and “always-on” communications landscape.
Tara said: “A solid piece of advice for brands is that you don’t want a story about you without you. In this era, you need your best people on your social media, not the office junior. The Flow mantra is: tell the truth, tell it first and tell it fast.”
To this, Luzuko Koti added: “Reputation, generally, is the most important tool in brand management. Communications is a science – trust your communicators. If you can’t be trusted, if you can’t be listened to and believed, your reputation is at stake. A brand is who you are, it’s everything you live by and it’s something you have to look after. The best strategy to manage your reputation is to tell the truth.”
Phumelela Dhlomo was in agreement: “Yes, honesty is the best policy and engagement. Talk to the people who can help you drive the discussions you want to see happening. Don’t forget to make sure your leaders are on the same hymn sheet as you are, as they are an integral part of managing a reputation. Don’t wait for situations to happen – create scenarios within the organisation and work out what you would do if it were to happen.”
Heidi Brauer shared these insights: “Reputation is what people say about you when you are not in the room – but the room’s changed; it doesn’t have long lead times any more. It’s now. You have to be awake all the time, and honest and genuine. Listen to what people are saying and give them space.
“It’s about building relationships all the time, not just in a time of crisis. It’s about being consistent, having integrity and aligning what you think, what you say and what you do so that when you have to say sorry, you are believable. Don’t speak when you have nothing to say if you want to be authentic. And if you have something to say, then say it.”
After the summit was the awards ceremony, which was a grand and dazzling affair. There was much celebration as South Africa’s top marketers came to the stage to be acknowledged for the excellent marketing strategies they had created for the world-class campaigns that were showcased at this event.