This past September, LIVE+ were lucky enough to be part of a panel at Social Media Week Johannesburg. We were invited by trendwatching.com. Our topic was on African Consumer Trends as well as our methodology behind CONNECTIVATION™. As the Innovation Architect for LIVE+, I not only participated in the panel and presentation but also received a weeklong pass to the event where I attended some truly insightful and forward-thinking sessions with some of the marketing and technology industries’ leaders.
The trendwatching.com panel session was also attended by Uno de Waal of Between 10 and 5, Andile Mbete from InstantGrass and Hardy McQueen from STR.CRD. My fellow panelists had some fascinating insights into local consumers and how trends are dispersed amongst communities locally. With LIVE+’s African footprint, we emphasized the importance of never considering the African continent as a homogenous region but rather as a diverse and influential group of endless cultural communities. Too often brands, both global and local, apply a “copy and paste” approach to their African strategy, an approach that sees little to no success or engagement with the new informed consumer.
Accenture, as one of the headline sponsors, hosted some notable sessions. The first of these sessions featured the likes of Zoaib Hoosen MD of Microsoft South Africa and Stafford Masie Entrepreneur and Founder of Thumbzup, where we were given some insight into the age of digital disruption. We heard not only how certain companies are disrupting industries with their innovative digital integration but also how consumers are shifting power through their use of digital in their everyday lives. Parallels in this session can be drawn back to CONNECTIVATION™ where the lines between a consumer’s physical world and their digital one is becoming increasingly blurred. We couldn’t have agreed with Stafford Masie more when he said: “It is the humanity behind the technology that causes the disruption. Technology is the first step, but people are the ones that truly innovate.”
A second impactful session was given by John Montgomery, COO at GroupM who spoke on the Internet of Things and offered his insight into the realities of connectivity and big data on marketing and on our lives as consumers. Montgomery said of big data, “it is estimated that by 2020 there will be 50 million devices connected to the Internet.” With so many devices giving us so much data it is said, “the new generation of great marketers are not those people who went to advertising school but rather those who studied mathematics. Successful marketers will be able to find patterns in data and interpret that data into consumer insight.”
At LIVE+ we are passionate about staying ahead of the curve. Social Media Week 2014 was a week filled with insight gathering and sharing. This article is just a snapshot of what we collected during that week and how we continue to develop in our practice. We would love to share this with you and propel your business into the lives of a connected and engaged consumer.
By Amy Ford