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The Bastion & Flowe digital command center is working remotely but will remain fully functional. 

As per the President’s announcement (on 23 March 2020) of a total lockdown in South Africa, Bastion & Flowe has already prepared and activated emergency contingency measures to ensure that key functions and members of the team will be able to work from home with the result that none of our client’s campaigns or projects will be adversely affected.

All campaigns will continue to be run, monitored and optimised as per normal. 

If you’ve read Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’ iconic book “Built to Last” (Harpers, 1994) you’ll be familiar with their concept of reject the tyranny of the “OR”  and embrace the genius of the “AND”. Obviously, in this instance, they were talking about what makes some companies visionary and steadfast whilst others whither and die, but it’s an expression that could equally hold true for the clash of advertising disciplines, specifically between the worlds of traditional and digital media.

Insofar as the ongoing debate of the pros and cons of various advertising media is concerned, there are invariably three different groups that hold distinct positions:

  1. The Tech Turks who tell us that digital is where it’s all at,
  2. The Righteous Fundamentalists who insist that traditional advertising media is still the only way to go, and
  3. The Savvy Centrists who embrace the genius of the “AND” and reject the tyranny of the “OR”.

As far as my own position is concerned, I’d like to think of myself as a Savvy Centrist with a digital bent, and I’ll tell you why.

Tech Turks are far too quick to shout out slogans like “print is dead” or “old school advertising is no longer relevant”, their justification being that digital marketing delivers more results at a fraction of the cost and every aspect of the campang is measurable down to a granular level (which is another problem in and of itself, but that’s a discussion for another day). What they fail to mention is that traditional media such as TV, Outdoor and Print are far more effective than digital media in creating brand credibility. Most traditional media has the unique ability to graphically show and creatively shout out just how strong the relevant brand actually is.

There’s a basic rationale here.

Even though the internet can be a scary place, any person who has just a modicum of digital skills is capable of posting an ad on Facebook or Gumtree. On the other hand, it is also fair to say that it is only those brands with a bit of substance and plenty of means who occupy media such as billboards, print or television.

Before the Righteous Fundamentalists get ahead of themselves, there’s a simple fact that they have to accept: In most cases, when done correctly, a digital marketing campaign will deliver optimal returns on marketing investment. I say this with absolute confidence, not least of all because Traditional Media is incapable of providing accurate numbers when it comes to calculating a return on investment.

There is a lot more detail one could go into but it’s pretty obvious that the most effective way one should approach the conundrum of Digital versus Traditional is to embrace the glory of the AND and do BOTH, budget not withstanding. I say this, not because I think it, but because I know it from practical experience.

 

The case for AMPLIFICATION:

In an attempt to measure the effectiveness of a true “omni channel” marketing approach, we partnered with Provantage, a Johannesburg-based advertising agency. The basic objective of the exercise was to ascertain what “lift” or AMPLIFICATION a digital campaign could exert on entries to an existing competition running across a selection of Traditional Media channels for and on behalf of a well known safety footwear brand.

 

The basic concept of the campaign was to drive entries via specific USSD strings linked to the different media channels, which included Out-of-Home Billboards, Transit TV, Community Radio, National Newspapers and a selection of popular Magazine Titles. (USSD, commonly referred to as “Quick Codes”, is a communication technology used to send text between a mobile phone and an application program. It is an acronym for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data).

 

We used the USSD method instead of an SMS call-to-action so that we could accurately report on the number of entries per province and limit the risk of duplicate entries by allowing each mobile phone number to only enter the competition once. 

  1. EXECUTION:
    After an initial period of six weeks using only Traditional channels, we deployed two different digital campaigns on Facebook, specifically targeting consumers who were most likely to see a SINGLE Out-of-Home Billboard in Johannesburg and ANOTHER in CapeTown.  Although the digital message and creative look was exactly the same as the Traditional advertisements, the digital campaign had the added advantage of allowing users to submit competition entries via a website instead of USSD.
  2. AMPLIFICATION RESULTS:
    (The following results are exclusively for USSD competition entries and EXCLUDE entries generated from ONLINE entry forms).

    1. The Digital campaign targeting users likely to see the Cape Town billboard increased the weekly USSD entries by 91% .
    2. The Digital campaign targeting users likely to see the Johannesburg billboard increased the weekly USSD entries by 73%.
      It’s important to note that the average percentage of USSD entries per week for the non-amplified billboard in other provinces stayed the same or dropped. 
  3. CONCLUSION:
    The idea that digital marketing makes Out-of-Home and other Traditional media channels irrelevant, is simply nonsense – improved campaign performance results are achieved when Digital is used to amplify these channels. It is the job of Digital to RE-INFORCE the Traditional Media messages and it does this incredibly well, allowing users to interact with a brand at a time and place that’s convenient for them to do so. Digital provides the intimacy whilst Traditional Media provides the brand credibility.

 

There is a caveat, however.

If it is your intention to use Digital to amplify an existing Traditional Media campaign, it MUST be configured in such a way that each Traditional Media asset is amplified ONLY to consumers that are most likely to see (or hear, as in the case of Radio) the asset.  Failure to do this will give you skewed results.

This is borne out by similar studies we have conducted with other Traditional media such as TV and Community Print Publications which have yielded very similar amplification trends. We found that the best results were obtained when Digital amplification was configured in such a way that each Traditional Medium was amplified to a BESPOKE AUDIENCE – an audience that is most likely to have seen the advert in that particular medium.  This effectively means that each specific Community Print Publication magazine or Television programme slot has its own specific amplification audience.  

In the world of Digital, this means that you have to use Audience Targeting and NOT “Placement Targeting” – just because you are on a specific website does not guarantee that you are reaching the right person.  I apply the premise of Personal Prime Time, where, through clever targeting techniques, we advertise to a user at the most opportune time IRRESPECTIVE of where they may be online.

All the statistics point to the fact that the most successful marketers of the future will be those that embrace the glory of the “AND” by delivering messages across all marketing channels in an integrated approach. In today’s world, consumers are moving seamlessly across all of the so called “typical channel borders”, every second of every day, Big Brands (meaning those who can afford it) should make sure that their marketing does the same. It’s a luxury smaller brands simply cannot afford and it’s powerful.

Franchise marketing teams already know that running and managing campaigns for a business with multiple locations and/or stores is a time-consuming job, with each store and location presenting its own individual needs and challenges.

Very few people understand these challenges better than brand managers and marketing teams of franchised brands. These modern-day ninjas are tasked with promoting the brand and driving strategic promotions, they also need to ensure that all marketing from the franchisees is consistent, and complies with their brand rules.

This was a simple task if we rewind to 20 years ago, but with the rise of social media and the internet, the stakes have never been higher, with one Facebook post from a single franchise having the potential to start a PR nightmare with irreversible consequences.

Before we dive any deeper into the realm of franchise marketing, let’s look at what it really means to own a franchise.

Franchisees are small business owners creating value and jobs in their communities. Like any other business, their main aim is to make a profit, so that they can continue to pay their staff and the very important franchise royalties.

When it comes to online marketing, many franchisees are frustrated with the mother brands’ national campaign strategy, as it may not suit their immediate needs. This often means they embark down the dangerous route of “rogue” or unapproved advertising campaigns.

Rogue marketing is a huge risk for any brand as there is limited to no control over the message and quality of creative, often resulting in brand CI (the corporate identity or branding rules) and best practices not being followed. Resulting in campaigns which are not thought out thoroughly and more often than not it creates a nightmare for the mother brand’s marketing and PR (public relations) team.

So, is there a way to control the online marketing franchisees publish?

Rouge marketing

The simplest means of addressing this issue is to forbid franchisees from doing any kind of advertising themselves, ensuring that all marketing goes through the mother brand’s marketing team or in-house agency. Although depending on the size of the group and the number of franchises they have, most franchise marketing teams quickly find themselves overwhelmed.

This can result in delayed campaigns, increased costs and ultimately frustrated franchisees. Can you imagine the difficulty in telling a passionate small business owner who has risked their life savings that their ability to market and grow their business is either severely impeded or completely prohibited?! It is for this very reason that franchisees do what I like to call “rouge marketing”. It’s their money livelihood after all…

I would like to propose that a franchises’ marketing team should rather employ tools that allow them to set up a managed process where franchisees can advertise through, giving them a quick and easy way of reviewing ads and approving or rejecting them. With a managed approval process (preferably automated) it is much easier to manage the brand than it is to police the internet to find “rouge” content, that can not be retracted once published.

As an alternative to employing an army of “digital policeman” who troll the internet every hour of every day looking for rogue content and filling in endless takedown requests, consider a small investment in an automated solution where franchisees can still feel like they are in control and publish their message quickly and easily, whilst actually it’s the marketing team who has all the control from behind the scenes.

I have compiled a list of my top 5 tools that can help control and regulate franchisees marketing with minimum friction.

  1. Create a consistent Facebook content experience whilst still allowing your franchisees to post to their own page 

    Facebook location pages makes it possible to, as an alternative, allow every store to open a Facebook page, each with different versions of your logo as their profile picture, as well as incomplete profile data or even old or past promotions as their cover image. You as a brand manager can set up each store as a location page on the brand’s main FB page.The pages can all be linked to the main page and if you change the profile image or cover art, it will automatically update all the other pages. There are also a number of other marketing advantages to this, but most importantly for me was the ability to manage them all from a single interface and clean up all the old and abandoned pages that just confused customers.

  2. Manage social media content 

    Gain is extremely simple to use and connected to all the popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. As a user, you can create posts or ads and schedule them all from the same window. Once said posts are scheduled, the marketing team can preview the content and approve it for publication or request changes all within a matter of seconds. Best of all, nothing will get posted without your approval.

  3.  Free professional looking content in a template 

    Pablo is an old favourite of mine! It supplies predefined size templates where a user can use free professional stock photos and quickly overlay text. The feature I love most on this tool is the “insert logo” feature, which with the click of a button can overlay a banner or brand element that creates consistent content experiences. Once done, you can export the image and post it to gain for approval. Simple right!

  4. Create email alerts for when your brand is found online 

    Talk Walker alerts is a nifty tool and acts like your personal internet detective who constantly crawls the internet for keywords that you define. I like to use my clients’ brand names and sometimes even my competitors just to keep tabs on their activity. Once set up, you receive daily emails with links to the content in question.

  5. Pre-approved marketing creatives and targeting with machine learning optimisation

    Lead Gener8or tool can define a bespoke target audience per store and lock advertising geographical areas to prevent any cannibalisation. Once completed, franchisees can execute pre-approved marketing campaigns as and when they wish on any of the integrated channels (SMS, Email, Facebook, Google and Youtube), without any further involvement required from the marketing team.

    Powered by big-data machine learning, campaigns are automatically optimised while in flight. Marketing teams can monitor all campaigns in real time. This tool really is a game changer for franchise marketing teams and brand managers.

With these tools correctly implemented into your business, the digital headache of your franchise’s marketing team can subside and focus on what you do best, delivering results!

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