Advertising: From a Chrysalis into a Butterfly

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Advertising From a Chrysalis into a ButterflyThere’s been a lot of talk about the “death” of advertising, but with an estimated $34 billion spent on Facebook marketing in 2017, that seems unlikely. Rather than “dead” it’s actually undergoing a welcome transformation from an incubating chrysalis into a responsive butterfly.


“There’s too much crap.” Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer,  P&G

Eloquent words spoken by Marc Pritchard in relation to P&G’s approximate $140 million cut in digital ad spend. The decision sent shock waves through the industry, but P&G’s marketing shift is a wakeup call to agencies to break down silos, simplify and be more transparent. “We’re improving the quality of consumer insights, agency creative talent and production,” said P&G CEO David Taylor. Sounds like an effective way to shake up parts of the industry into much-needed transformation.


“There has always been ad blocking. Ad blocking was the 30-second TV ad coming on air and you got up to make a cup of tea.” Keith Weed, CEO Unilever

29% of Germans use desk top ad blockers according to Business Insider’s world chart and they’re the top global “blockers”, followed by India at 28%.  But more than half the people in the world have a smart phone and there hasn’t been “mass adoption” of ad blockers on mobile (yet). And many people take their phones with them when they make a cup of tea. So there are delicious advertising options right there.


“We believe a lot of what’s behind the macro trend of ‘personalisation’ is simply the desire for human connection…” Eric Korman, CEO of PHLUR

The push for brands and agencies to personalise products is making marketing more colourful. From Coke cans with names on (apparently surnames are in the pipeline, hope there’s a McGillivray), to beauty products you “try on” with a phone app, to virtual stylists. Technology and “connection” are creating an advertising world which looks brighter, fresher and more effective.


“We must become more comfortable with probability and uncertainty.” Nate Silver

This quote by Nate Silver made me think of the Nando’s ads, so cleverly agile and creative. But there’s room for more agencies and brands to be braver and align current affairs with their marketing. I predict we will see more of this. While there are risks in riding the winds of change, there are also great benefits to being current and credibly noticeable.


“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.” Bill Bernbach

The nature of advertising is shifting from overhead-heavy to quality creative that reflects the practical needs of the consumer. But the emotional needs of the customer are also all important and cause marketing (a subject close to my heart) is no longer a fringe activity and we’ll see more brand values visibly integrated into core marketing strategies in the future.

The Same, But Different

“Just when the caterpillar thought “I am incapable of moving,” it became a butterfly.” Annette Thomas

So much has happened in the industry since I was part of the first live TV commercial, Pricebusters for Hyperama and M Net circa 1987, but when you think about it, advertising influencers on Facebook Live are not so far away from that original concept of selling live on television; much like the metamorphosis of a incubating chrysalis into a free floating butterfly.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

Women in Marketing: The New “Specialist Generalists”?

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Women in Marketing The New “Specialist GeneralistsDuring Women’s Month at One Lady & A Tribe we’ve been discussing how much women in marketing need to know to be employable in the current job arena. The consensus is that it’s not a enough for young women to focus on a specialised marketing career; we now need to be “specialist generalists”, and know an awful lot about a lot.

Business Belives in Unicorns

I read Jessica Edgson’s article, Hey Agencies, Stop Trying to Hire Unicorns, with interest, knowing how demanding even mid-level job requirements are. A business looking for a Social Media Manager, for example, asks that the candidate has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing (or similar) three or more years’ experience, be a writer and proficient in CMR software etc, etc, the list goes on.

Do We Really Need A Degree?

Not only do we need to be unicorns, we also need a degree. The question is: why are employers in Social Media Marketing, for example, still asking for a tertiary qualification, especially in South Africa where so few can afford university? Surely in such a rapidly changing field it would make sense to hire youth and passion over three or four years of university, plus the three or four years experience required? A university degree would also imply specialisation in the communications field, and yet the specs of a marketing job now demand a wealth of “specialist generalist” knowledge too.

Warp Speed Marketing Changes

FastCompany’s Top Jobs in 2025 article predicts that people with the ability to focus on “computational thinking”, that is, process massive amounts of data and spot patterns, will be highly valued. It also goes on to say “we need to be learning new things” and the lifelong learning trend will happen through “mini bite-sized chunks of information” that can make you knowledgeable about anything in the minimum amount of time (but not a specialist).

Necessary Addiction

Women in Marketing The New “Specialist GeneralistsInfluencer, Seth Godin  recently wrote about how we: “Get addicted to the rush at work, or to the endless flow of the online world, and your life changes. Attention spans go down, patience decreases, essential tasks are left undone, and most of all, our humanity starts to fade away.” While I wholeheartedly agree with him, the point here is that the addiction to work, change, learning seems to be necessary for us to remain relevant in the workplace.

The Invisible Workload

Women’s “invisible workload” is nicely summarised in – but suffice to say we remember the coffee pods and the toilet paper, and so much more. While Thomas Huxley’s quote “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something” is becoming truer; at One Lady & A Tribe we still hire the best, most specialised person for the job and it’s served us very well.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe

Women’s Month: A Journey of Transformation

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Women’s Month A Journey of TransformationWe chatted to a friend and long-time supporter of One Lady & A Tribe, Gill Randall, Joint Chief Executive Officer of Spark Media, about how women in the advertising industry are faring at the moment and what the future for women in marketing holds. These are her thoughts and valuable insights.

“There’s still not nearly enough representation by women in our industry. For example, only around 3% of creative heads of are women, yet females account for the vast majority of the purchasing activity. In media particularly, I believe that the numbers of women in marketing leadership positions has actually gone backwards.

That said, at Caxton Publishers, we’ve always had lots of females employed as publishers and editors, but I don’t believe this is true for the national and regional media players.The irony is that there are more women in media than most other industries but very few rise to the top.

At Spark Media (a division of Caxton) I’ve made it my personal mission to cultivate a women-friendly culture in our workplace. We understand that if we don’t offer a flexible work environment (especially for moms) we risk losing wonderfully talented women.  So I try to make flexible work hours a possibility and generally instil a culture of “family first”.

When it comes to the debate about women being either “unicorns” (that do it all) or specialists, there is an argument for both. Firstly, because the industry is moving at record speed, in many instances skills need to be agile.

On the other hand, I’ve found, when looking for specialists, that some of the services don’t exist, or are in short supply. That’s where the up-skilling of existing staff comes in; with your team of writers (for example) who can bementored to become copy writers, content writers and digitalcontent creators.

Ultimately, it would be great to have “specialists”, who have a broad understanding of related skills but a deep understanding of how their role fits into the overall picture.

At Spark Media we’ve been on an intense journey of culture transformation. We are working with a professional in this field to understand what issues are limiting our performance and how we go about addressing this entropy to create a happy, high performance organisation.

We have already seen major shifts in attitude, happiness levels and productivity.Operationally, we have also invested in more creative skills which is showing positive results. Because we are very science and data heavy, focusing on this resource will take us one step further to showing clients creative and effective ways to implement our “proposals” effectively.

In the next couple of years I think there will be a “bloated” investment and resource allocation into digital and social media (both on the editorial and advertising side). This will happen at the expense of the focus on traditional channels. There will be more pressure on employees to deliver, but less knowledge about how to do this.

In the South African landscape pressure from government to transform the media industry (and others) will become more apparent and I foresee more interference in editorial,and media ownership.

Women’s Month A Journey of TransformationOn a personal note, since you asked, I play golf, love spending time with my family (especially my three grandchildren), have a wide social circle, am an avid traveller, hiker, bouncer (funny rebound boots), belong to a poker group and really enjoy live music.

To my younger self I would say, “Be more kind.”Guilt and fear are such destructive emotions. As women, we expect to have super-powers and worry that we haven’t given enough time and energy to work, children and home. I know now, that whatever I do, I am doing and giving the best of myself that I possibly can.That has to be enough.”

Thank you Gill, what an inspiration you are.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.


Twitter:  @1LadyandaTribe

Instagram: @oneladyandatribe

Seven Good Men

By | Food for thought

Inspired by Mandela Day, and this quote from Marcus Aurelius; “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one”, I’m sharing seven influential leaders who I consider to be good men. Here’s the list.

 “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Warren Buffett

Seven Good Men Warren Buffett recently took another step forward in his decision to give away his fortune. The billionaire (who bought his first stock at seven years old) donated approximately $3.17 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and another four charities. This is his 12th annual donation to the group of charities. Quite a legacy indeed and he’s just getting started.

“We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama

TIME History had experts analyze Barack Obama’s legacy and what US Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin said, summed it up for us: “In the near-term, he brought stability to the economy, to the job market, to the housing market, to the auto industry and to the banks. That’s what he’s handing over: an economy that is in far better form than it was when he took over. And you can also say he’ll be remembered for his dignity, grace, and the lack of scandal.” In addition to those things I admire him for the way he treats his family with obvious love and respect.

“Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” Steve Jobs

There’s no doubt Steve Jobs was a complex man, but I think that with radical innovation now a daily occurrence we may tend to forget how incredible his vision was. For an interesting take on how to see him in terms of charitable works, read HBR’s Steve Jobs, World’s Greatest Philanthropist, which in summary says: “What a loss to humanity it would have been if Jobs had dedicated the last 25 years of his life to figuring out how to give his billions away, instead of doing what he does best.”

“I don’t recommend it to everyone, because it’s high risk.” Koos Bekker, on not drawing a salary, bonus or benefits during his 17 years as CEO of Naspers.

Koos Bekker is respected as a future-forward executive who revolutionised South African newspaper publisher Naspers into a global digital media conglomerate.  While he was CEO, the market capitalisation of Naspers grew from about $1,2 billion to $45 billion, with Bekker being compensated by stock over time. He’s now owns Babylonstoren Estate in the Western Cape, which is so exquisite it’s almost as impressive as his other business achievements.

“I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.” Elon Musk

Earlier this year, Elon Musk launched a tunnel boring business called The Boring Company and Neuralink, a company working on neural lace technology that would allow computers to merge with human brains. He is truly a man of the future.

In addition to his latest vision, he also co-founded PayPal, leads SpaceX and runs Tesla, the electric car company which will see vehicles gas-emission free in the future. By using his wealth to push innovation, Musk is changing how we interact with the world and the universe. Oh, and of course, he was born in Pretoria.

 “I am not willing to let the market-place determine the future of the animal kingdom.” Charlie Rose

From Charles Manson to Jimmy Carter to Bashar al-Assad, who hasn’t the Emmy Award winning Charlie Rose interviewed? Starting at PBS in 1974, he went on to host an interview show which has been distributed nationally by PBS since 1993. Since 2012 has also been an anchor on CBS This Morning.

This iconic man, with his unique style, has spent 40 years putting people in the spotlight. In doing so, Rose has often become the spotlight himself. I respect him for it and have learned a lot from him.

“I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” Nelson Mandela, on the day of his release, 11 February 1990

There are so many great words uttered by Nelson Mandela but I think this is my favourite – the magnanimity and selflessness of saying, “I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands,” is just enormous.  Madiba was a freedom fighter, prisoner, peacemaker, statesman, philanthropist and elder who will always be globally revered. I was fortunate to live in his lifetime and was blessed to learn valuable life-lessons from a remarkable man.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

About: One Lady & A Tribe:

An ad agency. Just not your typical one. See, we know we don’t always have the answers. So we bring in amazing collaborators; designers, actors, techies, chefs, musicians, scientists, sports stars… even a peacock once (long story) and we combine their expertise with our own. We form a tribe. Together, we find the answers you’re looking for and create beautiful work that works.

Inspiring Advertising Making Changes

By | Food for thought

Inspiring Advertising Making ChangesAfter becoming somewhat disillusioned with the Influencer Marketing trend we went in search of advertising that promotes more than just a brand and has a powerful effect on changing how we see the world.

These ads from around the globe are a good antidote to anyone who’s been feeling a bit jaded by the advertising industry of late.

Nike: “What Will People Say About You?

This controversial advert is part of Nike’s “Equality” campaign and features female Arab athletes. It’s been criticised for its Western cultural stereotyping, but it has got people talking. We love it for its gritty energy and as Sara al-Zawqari, International Red Cross spokeswoman of Iraq, noted, it: “Touches on the insecurities of women in a society; digs deeper and becomes an empowerment tool rather than just a product.”

Amnesty International: “The Refugee Nation

This poignant campaign for Amnesty International from Ogilvy New York won the Best of Show at the One Club’s 44th Annual One Show Awards. “In a year rife with political discord and social upheaval all around the world, ‘The Refugee Nation’ is a prime example of how our industry can both reflect and influence our culture,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of The One Club for Creativity. The campaign highlights the fragility of the refugee existence and gives them dignity in this campaign.

Nike: “Time is Precious

Using a simple black background with white text this ad manages to be amusing and sobering at the same time. It ends off with “Are We Running Today?” which, after the brilliant script, makes you want to shut down your three screens and head off into the horizon for some exercise and fresh air. It also leaves you shocked at how much time you spend online.

Tourism Ireland: “Doors of Thrones

Storm Gertrude hit The Dark Hedges region in Ireland where Game of Thrones is filmed, and Tourism Ireland used the disaster as the basis of this campaign. The fallen trees were carved into ten bespoke doors, each depicting an episode of Game of Thrones Season Six.  The doors are positioned across Ireland, forming a tour of the country. The campaign’s short films have been viewed 17 million times and it’s won over 20 awards.  An inspiring way to transform a natural disaster into something with beautiful longevity.

Apple: “Earth – “Shot on iPhone

Apple recently revealed their new “Shot on iPhone” ad, narrated by the late astronomer Carl Sagan. It’s a breathtaking compilation of beautiful videos, made more powerful by a moving narrative: “The earth is where we make our stand; it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the only home we’ve ever known.” Plus, it also showcases video capabilities of the iPhone – very clever indeed.

Inspiring Advertising Making ChangesKFC South Africa:Suppertime Stories

KFC uses their iconic chicken bucket to transform a dinner into a storytelling wonderland. Interactive and enchanting, this campaign uses an app to make the bucket bring theatre into the home with sound, light and vibration via simple mobile technology.  The concept revisits storytelling in a digital world, encouraging family bonding during the magical meal. Using technology to interrupt technology, while showcasing the brand, KFC South Africa has set the bar high for others to innovate along the same lines.

The New York Times: “The Truth is Hard

In a post-truth-fake-news world, it’s reassuring to have publications like The Daily Maverick in South Africa and The New York times reporting authentic news and writing genuinely enlightening Op-ed journalism. “The Truth is Hard” campaign was a landmark in that it was The New York Times’ first advert to ever flight at the Oscars, and as they boldly say, “The truth is more important now than ever.”

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

Influencer Marketing 101

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Influencer Marketing 101The Kendall Jenner / Pepsi debacle highlighted how quickly the public responds to faux marketing. The audience backlash to the advert elicited an almost instant apology from Pepsi, saying: “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout.”

The abject failure of the Pepsi ad, called “The Live for Now Anthem”, reminded us of some of the cardinal rules of Influencer Marketing, which, in the latest flurry “anthemic” advertising seems to have been overlooked. We need to choose our brand allegiance carefully and advertise honourably.

Right “Man” For the Job

Some big brands are starting up in-house ad agencies and PepsiCo is one of them. Marketing Week reports their president Brad Jakeman formed a new in-house content creation arm because they were, “Sick and tired of the complicated structure that working with ad agencies created. There is no infrastructure to advertisers to be able to quickly produce that content.” However, as we see from Pepsi’s epic campaign failure, keeping things in-house runs the risk of the business being blinded by your own brand, with an external agency there is more likelihood of perspective.

Influencer Brand Fit

Kendall Jenner handing out a Pepsi and bringing a political march to a standstill: What’s wrong with this picture? She’s a supermodel not an activist, a celebrity not a social change maker.  Sure, Jenner’s huge social media reach meant the ad went viral, but for all the wrong reasons. Another mind boggling Influencer disaster recently was The Fife Festival where celebrities promised “Extravagant beachside benders” and people, “Flocked to the Bahamas only to find feral dogs, luggage gone AWOL, and accommodations resembling FEMA camps.” Shocking and potentially brand destroying.

Choose Brand Allegiance Wisely

Influencer Marketing 101The cause with which you choose to align your brand needs to fit your brand values. As Mark Duffy writes in his scathing article for DigiDay: “Now that Pepsi has defused social unrest, what are you waiting for, on-the-sidelines brands? If you’re not addressing an issue or cause with your advertising, then who needs ya?” He goes on to mock brands like Heineken for seemingly ending prejudice in their #OpenYourWorld four minute ad. Wouldn’t it be better to genuinely give back and make a difference? It certainly would to your customer, your sales and your reputation.                                                                Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader                                                                                

How Responsible is Marketing In South Africa?

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How Responsible is Marketing In South Africa“Responsible marketing” is when a business has the best interests of the consumer linked to their strategic goals. It’s a marketing philosophy we’re seeing more of. Responsible marketing is increasingly being built into brand values and business allegiance with social causes (cause marketing).

The push towards more responsible marketing has been on the rise globally as technological innovation has greatly enabled the growth of corporate citizenship. Social media has made the customer the client and most brands are now sensitive to that. We’re noticing marketing trends encouraging (sometimes forcing) brands to become more socially aware. But how does South Africa fare with regards to responsible marketing?

A high percentage of the big brands in South Africa are global brands and therefore bound by the responsible marketing codes from their global head office.  They have to take into consideration what’s in the best interests of the consumer and their society. Responsible marketing is not longer “soft” or “nice to have”; it’s good business, as former President and CEO of Novo Nordisk, Lars Rebien Sørensen, says, “In the long term, social and environmental issues become financial issues.”

In SA many big global brands are advertising their commitment to responsible marketing as much as they’re showcasing their products. Unilever is one of the most visible of these, with their payoff line and hash tag “When you choose Unilever you help create a #brightFuture.” Looking at their Facebook page (which has over 3.6 million fans) their pledge to a bright future is more prominent than their product placement. Not surprisingly then, Unilever CEO Paul Polman notes; “Our sustainable living brands are growing 30% faster than the rest of our business.”

Other big global brands we watch with interest with interest are Coca-Cola, KFC and Pfizer’s brand, Centrum.  While Coke SA has been positioned as “feel good” with their #EnjoyTheFeeling hash tag, they’re facing the dilemma of the sugar in their products (now for sugar tax reasons as well as health issues). Their “responsible” solution is introducing a new Coke variant called “Life” which contains 37% less sugar, using stevia leaf extract instead. Interesting to note that in the UK the Life product has met with some backlash and the brand’s been accused of “health washing”, as a can of Life still contains the full recommended (adult) daily allowance of sugar.

An offshoot of responsible marketing is cause marketing – something that South African brands do seem particularly good at. Cause marketing is not necessary built into a business model, but makes a difference to a particular community or cause. By making a monetary or service contribution, the company shows a commitment to being responsible or accountable to the problems in society.

KFC South Africa’s Add Hope Campaign is cause marketing worth celebrating. The brand is aligned with a feeding children initiative which motivates the consumer to get involved in a good cause. Add Hope has been amazingly successful so far; raising over R39 million in 2016, feeding 100 000 children every day, simply by asking people to donate R2 extra with their purchase. It is heart-warming how many people contribute and the clever marketers at KFC know your donation will make your take-away taste even better.

Another cause marketing allegiance which appealed to the country’s generous spirit was between Centrum® and the Emergency Services (EMS) of South Africa. Over an eight year long campaign Centrum® Guardians raised almost R4 million, which went towards EMS Training. The additional benefits were more awareness of the excellent work that EMS do and entrenching customer loyalty.  From One Lady & A Tribe’s point of view, we got to meet the crews who save lives daily, and fulfil our own mantra of “doing good and doing good business.”

When we look at local brands not governed by global counterparts, the responsible marketing picture isn’t quite as bright, although things can change quickly. This January Woolworths responded in haste to their plastic egg carton fiasco, trashing the boxes after a social media post went viral. This is a step in the right direction but the big SA supermarkets use an extraordinary amount of plastic packaging in their products. This makes the consumer feel bad (and irresponsible), no matter how much recycling we do. Hopefully there are plans in place by Woolworths, Spar and PicknPay to go the Original Unverpackt responsible marketing route and phase out plastic bags, cellophane and plastic trays altogether.

In closing, a note on South Africa in general. Where we stand currently doesn’t look bright for those most vulnerable in our society. I predict we’ll see an increase in responsible marketing, as businesses step into the areas where government is failing, going beyond doing good and doing good business and into (hopefully temporary) survivor mode.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

Women Who Inspire

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It’s International Women’s Month and I’ve been tasked by my One Lady & A Tribe team to nominate four women who inspire me. Not an easy one (there are many) but after much deliberation, here they are.

Women Who Inspire“You can’t just be you. You have to double yourself. You have to read books on subjects you know nothing about. You have to travel to places you never thought of travelling. You have to meet every kind of person and endlessly stretch what you know.” Mary Wells Lawrence, Co-Founder and former President of Wells Rich Greene

If you haven’t heard of the early female doyen of advertising, this New York Times article will put you in the picture. Ms Wells flouted the stereotype of early women in advertising and their depiction in the Mad Men series. As Ginia Bellafante writes:

“In the actual world of advertising in 1966, when the current season began, the most talked-about figure on Madison Avenue was the trim and determined Mary Wells, who hopscotched over the era’s endemic prejudices to develop Wells Rich Greene, the iconic agency she would run for more than two decades.”

Mary Wells (who married and become Mary Wells Lawrence) created campaigns for Alka-Seltzer, TWA and Procter & Gamble, among many other notable companies. By the end of year one, Wells Rich Greene had $39 million in billings and 100 employees. Later, her agency was responsible for helping transform the image of New York City with the (still visible) “I ♥ New York”campaign. What a fine legacy.

Women Who InspireWendy Luhabe

“My definition of success is using as much of my potential as I possibly can, way beyond the 5 % that I believe we get to use. It means enabling others to do the same by sharing my experience with the generations behind me. It means aligning my divine purpose to my work. It means leaving behind a legacy that has enriched other lives and changed them.”Wendy Luhabe, Social Entrepreneur, Economic Activist and Author

Graduating in Arts from the University of Fort Hare in 1977, Wendy Luhabewent on to become one of the most pioneering and influential women in South Africa. Dedicated to helping others fulfil their potential, she left the international corporate world after ten years to become an economic activist, champion for social change and mentor.

Wendy also became well known further afield, being awarded one of the50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World and Global Leader of Tomorrowin 2006.Her career path has represented her values. Her principals are (in her own words), “Integrity, honesty, trust, dependable, generosity, maturity, consistency, being thoughtful, excellence, relationships, collaboration, authenticity, wisdom, understanding, independence.” What could be more inspirational than that?

Women Who InspireGill Randall

“To offer advertisers the best service, you have to understand their business and the mindset of the consumers who buy the advertisers’ products or services. You have to take a holistic view, look at the big picture, see how all the components work, get an understanding of the discipline.” Gill Randall, Media Legend and Joint CEO of Spark Media

Full disclosure, Gill has been a friend and colleague of mine for many years, so perhaps I am a bit biased. She inspires me for many reasons; one of them is herdedication to being a pro in all the local and global ever-changing marketing platforms.

Starting out as a direct advertising representative for Caxton in 1982, Gill then become a leader in direct advertising, then Managing Director of NAB (National sales for Caxton local papers) – which she did for over 20 years.

Last year, she became the joint CEO of Spark Media. She also continues to serve the bigger marketing picture in South Africa, by being on the AMASA committee and implementing training at AAA and the University of Johannesburg.

As John Bowles, Founder and Director of Turn Left Media said when she won her Media Owner Legend Award: “Gill is deeply passionate about the media industry and advertising but most importantly about buyer behaviour. She is one of the most loyal individuals I know.”

Women Who InspireMarissa Shrum

“The other component piece with experimenting is learning. Feeling like we learned something that will help us continue to empower creative people so that we can get better. So the experiment could go terribly wrong, or nothing happened and it fizzled, and I learned that this combination of things doesn’t produce.” Marissa Shrum, Strategy Director at Mother New York

Ranked byBusiness Insider as One of the 50 Most Creative Women in Advertising in 2016, Marissa Shrum’s resume is already seriously breathtaking and she leads the strategic and creative teams for Target and Microsoft.

Women Who Inspire

Part of her focus has been on changing the way women perceive their bodies – as with the Target Campaign #NOFOMO – No Fear of Missing Out –challenging the stereotype of  what a “bikini body” should look like.

During her work with Microsoft, she helped to conceive of the One Million Square Feet of Culture campaign, a program “encompassing a year and a half of art, dance, music, exhibits, experiences, parties and partnerships”,which is extraordinary.

Colleagues say that Shrum’s special quality is her “Ability to tap into cultural moments, big and small, from female body image to dance subcultures, from New York to New Orleans.” I agree and look forward to seeing what she creates next.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader

Creating a Brand Customers Love

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During the month of love we’ve been considering how successful brands sustain long-term relationships with their customers. Here are some key factors which inspire love for products and keep us returning to them.

Creating a Brand Customers Love

“Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.” Edsger Dijkstra


Simplifying the customer experience in an increasingly complicated marketing environment helps a brand take giant strides towards winning loyalty. While brands such as Google and Netflix (on the HBR Top Ten Simple Brands index) have complex business structures, their customer experience is finely honed to give the consumer what they’re looking for with the least amount of effort.

“Customer experience is the new battleground for loyalty,” writes Margaret Molloy in Why Simple Brands Win, and with many disruptors clamouring to go into battle, companies need to keep innovating and simplifying their brand experience.

Creating a Brand Customers Love 1

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson

Honesty and Transparency

A 2016 Transparency ROI Study on consumer loyalty to brands found 94% of customers were more likely to be committed to a brand that offers complete transparency. Plus, brands who were honest about their product (and on their packaging) could convince nearly three out of four customers to pay more for it.

So what does this mean for marketers? Take it as a given that consumers want to know everything about a product before they buy. If they’re not getting the full picture they’ll move on to find something more aligned to their values. Interestingly, millennial moms are the people demanding the most disclosure from products they use. Brand honesty and transparency is no longer a nice thing to aim for – it’s a marketing imperative.

Creating a Brand Customers Love

“For it is in giving that we receive.” St. Francis of Assisi


By giving we mean embracing a higher brand purpose beyond merely selling a product. This is no longer a doing good / feel good factor for businesses, as former President and CEO of Novo Nordisk, Lars Rebien Sørensen, says, “In the long term, social and environmental issues become financial issues.”

In South Africa, global brands such as Unilever are getting it right, as their CEO Paul Polman notes; “Our sustainable living brands are growing 30% faster than the rest of our business.” KFC South Africa’s Add Hope Campaign has raised over R39 million in 2016, feeding 100 000 children every day, which is guaranteed to make your take away taste even better.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader


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Responsible Marketing Trends 2017

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Technological innovation is enabling the growth of corporate citizenship and we’re noticing marketing trends encouraging (sometimes forcing) brands to become more socially aware. Here are three types of responsible marketing trends we’re looking forward to seeing more of in 2017.

Purpose before Profit

Responsible Marketing Trends 2017Promoting brand responsibility and the ethos of leaving the world a better place is becoming intrinsic to successful brands and their marketing strategies. More and more products are evolving to become visibly purpose driven.

As well as pressure from consumers, a commitment to bettering people’s lives can also be seen from the top down. But committing to purpose before profit is not just good ethics; it is also good for business. The Financial Times highlights this paradox suggesting that many companies with a purpose beyond profit tend to make more money. As the former CEO of Noble Energy, Chuck Davidson says, “When leaders leverage purpose, it creates a competitive advantage that’s difficult or even impossible to replicate.”

Sharing May Replace Owning

Responsible Marketing Trends 2017

BizTech recently published an article entitled “Is it cheaper to own a car or to Uber in South Africa?” The answer: If you drive less than 50 km per day, selling your car and using Uber will save you money. This could radically change the way people perceive car ownership, and that’s just a drop in the sharing economy ocean.

This What’s Mine is Yours overview demonstrates the rise of Collaborative Consumption, highlighting businesses from Airbnb to peer to peer borrowers and lenders. The bottom line is: “Traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting and gifting are all being redefined through technology and peer communities.” By sharing instead of owning we’re shifting away from hyper-consumption into a global village of infinite sharing possibilities.

People Believe They Can Have an Impact

Responsible Marketing Trends 2017Consumers have been flexing their muscles on social media for some time and responsive brands are delivering the best customer experience they can. But we’re moving beyond just the brand experience.

People now truly believe they can have an impact and bring about change by pressurising brands publically. As writer Simon Mainwaring says, social media is: “A growing force for large-scale global transformation, led by socially conscious consumers seeking to use their voices and purchasing power to halt unsustainable business practices and temper reckless capitalism.”

Here’s to a year of doing good and doing good business.

Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader