Maja Rode is an account director at Corporate Image (www.corporateimage.co.za). With qualifications in marketing, economics and business administration, she's a firm believer in the power of smart communication, of which she thinks there is a serious shortage in SA. Maja believes that PR, driven by the increasing integration with social media platforms, will play an increasingly important role in the boardroom - no more boobs-and-balloons. Email ; follow @majarode.
Maja Rode is an account director at Corporate Image (www.corporateimage.co.za). With a Masters in International Business Administration from the University of Hamburg and qualifications in marketing and economics from UCT, she's a firm believer in the power of smart communication, of which she thinks there is a serious shortage in South Africa.
Maja believes that the days of PR being all about boobs and balloons are well and truly over, and that the discipline, driven by the increasing integration with social media platforms, will play an increasingly important role in the boardroom.
Contact Maja via email and follow @majarode on Twitter.
[Maja Rode] On Sunday, 7 October 2012, I was one of 20 000 runners that traversed the substantial divide between Sandton and Alexandra as part of Nike's 'We Run Jozi' 10km race. Despite the impeccable organisation, challenging route and fantastic vibe, crossing the finish line left me feeling strangely empty.
[Maja Rode] Kony 2012 has undoubtedly become one of the most successful social media-driven marketing campaigns to date, primarily because the public doesn't seem to look at it as a marketing campaign at all. If brands and their causes really do want to compete with Kony 2012, they will have to bear a few important things in mind.
[Maja Rode] The common thread running through events such as the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street is the same thing that sets them apart from anything we've seen in history: they are leaderless. Or, in the words of a communications professional: unbranded. Without leaders, where do these movements really lead? Where is the accountability, the legitimacy, the promise of a better future? Where, in short, is the brand?
[Maja Rode] 2012 is the year that the South African PR industry may finally shed its image of a sub-standard party-planning service and muscle its way into the big leagues. And the main vehicle to get us there is social media. This also means that the traditional PR toolkit is due for a complete overhaul.
I’d expect nothing but lofty and idealistic from you! Great premise, and I think our jobs would be that much more meaningful if we could actually have an impact on the way businesses are run from the inside. But while in some cases we do, PR (and to a lesser degree advertising) is generally ‘tagged on’ at the end of a fait accompli. Usually, clients inform us of a new product/service/campaign, and then tell us to ‘PR it’. Or, in the case of a crisis, to fix it. So by the time we’re brought on board, it’s too late to effect any fundamental change to what it is our clients are selling. All we can realistically do is change the way they’re talking about it. So – I hear you ask – why don’t we bully our way in earlier? We have in some cases, particularly within the realm of social media ‘conversation management’, which is increasingly being driven by PR from the ground up. But unless clients are in crisis (or need egos massaged), our time in the boardroom is limited. That’s not to say we’ll stop trying. After all, some of the leading MDs today come from a communications background, so it’s probably only a matter of time until marketers in general become a more integral part of client’s businesses. But we need a foot in the door, so I put the challenge right back to you: if we came knocking with an interesting customer insight that would require you to change the way your business was run would you let us in?
[Maja Rode] I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk by TED speaker and 'ad man', Rory Sutherland. Refreshingly sincere about the ad industry, Sutherland spent the better part of a morning talking about how changing people's perceptions about the value of a product is far more important than genuinely changing its value.