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#Bookmarks2019: The importance of digital is to be of service to humans first

Boo-Yah! founder Carmen Murray walked away with the award for the 'Best Individual Contribution to Digital' at this year's Bookmarks. Here, she tells us why the recognition means so much to her, why she sees creativity as an expression of yourself and why the importance of digital is to be of service to humans first.
Carmen Murray, founder of Boo-Yah!
Carmen Murray, founder of Boo-Yah!

BizcommunityTell us more about the award you've won and what it means to you.
I won the Best Individual Contribution to Digital and for me, it’s like winning the 'Oscars in Digital'. It is truly an award that I cherish and I am humbled to have received such a prestigious award.

I would like take a bow to show my respect for all of my peers pushing the boundaries, opening the gates and smashing down the walls to make an impact in our world and recognising the importance of digital to be of service to humans first.

My heavy little black pixel has sponsored many happy days in the past few weeks and since receiving this award so many new opportunities presented itself. It’s quite incredible and rewarding at the same time.

BizcommunityElaborate on the importance of celebrating digital creative work in 2019.
For me personally, I see creativity as an expression of yourself. Your wanderlust. Your heart. Your soul. Your bBrand. Your values. Your purpose. No one can create exceptional work that people will talk about unless a piece of yourself goes into it.

Creativity is about embracing the pulse of your own thoughts and ideas infused with inspiration around you and having yourself grounded. Digital doesn’t really matter if the information you are sharing is not received by the heart. It is so important to celebrate digital creative work. It fuels creativity and inspires innovation.

It is the compass that guides industries and people to be better, do better and use digital with accountability and responsibility. It is our duty to preserve the power of digital and not scorch it to the ground by using it irresponsibly.

BizcommunityComment on the overall standard of digital work in SA. Is there anything you think the industry can improve on?
Now you are putting me on the spot here! We all can definitely improve because by thinking we have arrived, we donate our customers to our competitors. There is always room for improvement.

I think we need to go back to the basics. It is no longer just about great campaigns and how you project your company to the public, but also about what is going on inside the business. There is a saying that if an egg cracks from the outside, it means death. If an egg cracks from the inside, it means life. Digital work can only be fully optimised if we recognise that there is only one brand experience across multiple touchpoints, online and offline.

I can have the best digital experience on your app, but it can take 10 days to deliver the goods to me, and it looks nothing like what I thought I was buying. This is when my overall experience is polluted. The siloed approach is no longer in favour of businesses. In fact, I would go that far, it is the road to death and decline. In my years working with marketers and advertising agencies, I see these common denominators always resurface.

  1. We use tactics rather than strategy.
  2. We suffer from marketing myopia, a short-sighted and inward-looking approach to marketing that focuses on the needs of the company and not its customers.
  3. We can’t keep up with change.
  4. We're obsessed with chasing the new.
  5. We put digital and technology first, then the idea.

Who do you look up to and admire in the industry?

There are many people who inspire me in so many ways. The people who truly have made a huge impact in my personal growth in the past year through their work, passion and purpose is Timothy Maurice Webster (the 'brain and brand science guy' – my mentor and friend), Pepe Marais (the 'growing greatness guy' who has played a big role in my career this year, through his wisdom and being an activist for humans first and brand purpose.

Adriana Marais, the 'Mars girl', one of the smartest, most passionate and impactful human beings I have ever met. Her dedication to change the world and inspire the next generation in Stem has inspired me personally so much. It is our duty to play a bigger part in our industry and to be #unstoppable and #fearless. Just do it and don’t look back.

Adriana Marais, head of innovation at SAP Africa
A sea of data - but not a drop to drink

  27 Aug 2018

Mike Sharman is 'what you see, is what you get'. I read his book, The Best Dick, just before my own journey began for Boo-Yah! and he inspired me to be bold and get my head around what awaits and the possibilities. Not only that, he is the king of getting ideas and stories to go viral in Africa and everything he does is passion and positivity.

This week I interviewed Brian Altriche, founder of RocoMamas and he is a genius! He is obsessed about his customers and everything that he and his business stand for. He inspires me to think bigger and being in the business of customer experience and coming from a strong hospitality background, he stands for everything I live for. So inspiring!

BizcommunityWhy do you think award shows like the Bookmarks are important?
It is important to celebrate the great work happening in our industry. It is a great platform where we can all get together and cheer each other on to do better and be better. There is a tremendous amount of hard work that goes into our industry and we have some serious creative people in South Africa! We should be so proud….

BizcommunityWhat is currently on your agenda?
We are on a serious mission to get businesses 'future fit' by creating exceptional connected customer experiences in South Africa. From auditing all the blind spots, doing unorthodox mystery shopping the Boo-Yah! way, building personas, customer journeys and innovating experiences and then offering training to those who want to do it themselves. I am obsessed with customer experiences and how data science, technology, human behaviour and brand experiences merge.

BizcommunityLooking further into the crystal ball, what's next for you?
There are some great collaborations in the pipeline and some amazing things we are working on to shape up the industry and get our industry future fit by starting the conversations everyone tiptoes around.

We recently launched the first 'Future Fit Networking' event that consists of a pop-up of experiences and we're excited for the second Future Fit Networking event themed around #WokeFit to take place 2 May on the Joe Public United rooftop. Tickets are available on Quicket.

Follow Carmen Murray on ‏Twitter, as well as Boo-Yah. Also, click through to our IAB Bookmarks Awards and Summit special section on site for continued coverage of this year’s winning work.

About Juanita Pienaar

Juanita is the editor of the marketing & media portal on the Bizcommunity website. She is also a contributing writer.
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