Hein Kaiser wears many professional hats in the media and marketing space. While his day job is head of communications for fastjet across the continent, Kaiser is also the host of Mix 93.8 FM's Media & Marketing show. He explains why you're only ever as good as the last 15 minutes.
Kaiser’s interview-heavy, hour-long, industry-specific show is broadcast every Tuesday evening from 19:00 in the Gauteng area and available via live streaming to the rest of the continent on www.mixfm.co.za.
Kaiser explains the special interest show, interspersed with music slots for drive-time listening, features friendly conversation with respected thought leaders like mentalist Gilan Gork, “opening up to his curiosity and passion and unpacking the latest local and international trends shaping strategy development and new campaigns.”
Kaiser interviewing mentalist Gilan Gork.
Having built his own career within the realm of PR, corporate affairs and communications and being highly invested in ‘rondlooping’ to secure up-to-the-minute insights from industry insiders and powerful contacts, Kaiser’s show’s listeners and guests appreciate the knowledge that gives rise to his line of questioning. That’s why Kaiser was a finalist in this year's Liberty Radio Awards’ 'Campus and Community Content Producer' category, with the Media & Marketing show listed as a night-time show finalist. He also hosts ‘360 Brunch’, a music and magazine show on Saturdays and Sundays on the station.
This year's Liberty Radio Awards saw Kaya FM crowned Commercial Station of the Year, while Hot91.9 FM, which won 10 awards during the course of the evening, took top honours in Community Station of the Year...
I chatted to Kaiser about his career so far, the intricacies of implementing strong brand messaging across various African markets and the importance of moving away from traditional CSI or CSR playing fields and rather playing an active role in social development…
Share a brief highlights package of your ‘high-flying’ career thus far.
In short, I spent the previous decade at Mango where, from launch, it was a fantastic journey. At Mango I fulfilled the role of head of communication, corporate affairs and for the last 18 months of my tenure, also acted as head of marketing. Prior to Mango I was in public relations as MD at Marcus Brewster Publicity and before that in politics, working for Tony Leon in the DP/DA. In between, I also host my three weekly shows on Mix FM and have produced, scripted and directed TV inserts, corporate videos, news pieces and continue to write as a freelance journalist for various publications. I started my career at The Star Tonight and the Good Weekend at the Saturday Star and, if it wasn’t for my greatest mentor, Barry Ronge, I would have never been able to build a solid foundation for my career.
Wedged in-between all of that I was deputy editor at Music Africa magazine, self-published Frenzy magazine, Better Business South Africa and the Lo-Fi South African music annual and also contributed on Cape Talk, SAFM’s Hit and Miss Show and have written and contributed imagery to most major South African magazine and newspaper titles over the years.
I have also been lucky enough to win several Prism Awards over the years and be nominated for several radio awards; it’s always rewarding to receive such recognition from one’s peers. However, my philosophy has always been that you are only as good as the last 15 minutes, or the most recent job or project you have done – and, we all live for one another – so no matter how many awards or what accolades one receives, frankly, it is always the sum of the collective that constitutes the success of the whole or individual.
Talk us through your plans to streamline the airline’s overall marketing and communication strategy and implementation.
An absolute key to any successful marketing communication plan is to ensure full integration between the various disciplines and to use each as a lever to drive the other. I approach strategy in a pyramidal manner, in terms of building a foundation across a wider reach, which can be achieved through PR and social media, for example, through to actual marketing campaigns with paid media – which are in turn supported by earned and social media.
No matter which market you operate in, aviation remains complex and the additional challenge of different markets and nuances that accompany that is an exciting prospect.
Vis-à-vis all elements of the marketing communication effort, it all ultimately boils down to achieving reputational and commercial outcomes. I’ve developed a formula that measures how hard paid media works for the brand from a commercial perspective, directly relating to managing available budget, and I also use this to forecast marketing delivery against commercial objectives.
PR elements drive reputation as well as commercial marketing and outcome support – also easily measured – and in orchestra along with social media it is relatively simple to streamline and create a solid machine with transplantable elements across all markets.
Marketers and communication/PR practitioners tend to emphasise complexity when, in truth, effective outcomes – as opposed to output – are derived from a strategy that distills into simplicity.
What does serving as spokesperson for fastjet involve?
It is the role of the spokesperson for any organisation to manage the external reputation of the business 24/7. A key element of this is to ensure messages are crafted according to strategic intent of the business and it serves the reputational and commercial interests of the brand or business. Engagement with the media requires far more than just answering questions. It is rather built on relationships, an ability to understand the media and socio-political landscape of any market and, for that matter, to seek out and take advantage of opportunities as they come along.
In terms of fastjet, the role is much the same – a spokesperson both propagates and defends the reputation of the business or brand.
"The right product, the right price, at the right time. In short, delivering a compelling value proposition. Cultural and language nuances aside, this is a fundamental truth across all consumer groups."
Airlines are traditionally relatively high in profile and visibility and, as such, being the spokesperson for an airline requires absolute commitment.
How will the regional marketing teams in fastjet’s key markets of Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa work – both individually as well as a whole under your leadership?
Like a well-oiled machine! However, centralisation of tactical implementation and market-specific initiatives would be detrimental to the business and I have a lot to learn from my colleagues in the various countries. We never stop learning from one another, in fact.
There is an overarching strategy with a solid messaging construct, set against commercial and reputational objectives. This is the same for the brand in all its markets. However, implementation may differ in various markets and it is here where the teams in each country become critical – nobody knows home better than its resident, and leading a team means allowing for creativity, latitude and driving initiative and innovation amongst colleagues. And when working within the parameters of strategy and intent, along with a team of talented professionals, success is inevitable.
List a few of your favourite marketing and communications trends of 2017.
Like fashion, trends come and go and are, at times, recycled with a different buzzword.
What is far more interesting than ponytail terms and buzzwords are the trends in innovation and technical development that deliver greater tools for marketers and communicators.
Greater access to media platforms, the ability to craft and disseminate messaging quickly, the growth and growth and growth of mobile communication, African innovation, the extent of mobile data and telephony penetration on the continent and, the fact that print media continues to set the agenda, or a very large part of it.
There is one trend though, that I can say marketers and communicators are finally waking up to – playing an active role in social development and moving away from traditional CSI or CSR playing fields – there is immense value in good advertising when implemented correctly.
Another trend, perhaps forced due to social media in part, is brand authenticity. Many challenger brands are getting it right and attempts by large established brands to segue into a similar line of communication or brand representation is evident. Authenticity in marketing and communication, just like simplicity of strategy, is not easy, but, highly rewarding.
That it is. Click here to listen to a snippet from Kaiser’s weekly Marketing & Media radio show and be sure to follow his Twitter feed for all the latest updates.
The Media and Marketing Show, broadcast on Mix 93.8FM (DStv 823) on Tuesday evenings between 19:00 and 20:00 features some of the industry’s latest news, views and innovations. Hosted by Hein Kaiser, the Media and Marketing Show gets under the skin of the industry with in-depth interviews with a wide variety of industry professionals and role players. Industry veteran Brendan Seery contributes weekly with his Orchids & Onions column while guests are usually interviewed at source in their offices or creative spaces. The show is designed to reflect the energy inherent to the media and marketing sector while sharing valuable opinion and information.
Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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