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2200 people attended the event in person and digitally including V5 Digitals Customer Success Oficers, Jürgen and Damian.
2 200 individuals, both online and onsite, attended the event, including V5 Digital's Customer Success Officers, Jürgen Teichert and Damian Hansen

If the Daily Maverick calls it “Africa’s most prestigious marketing conference”, it's a given that V5 Digital would be in attendance, ready to immerse ourselves in unparalleled insights and inspirations at the 2023 Nedbank IMC Conference.

The Integrated Marketing Council (IMC), a platform championing the progression and upliftment of the marketing industry, advocates for this industry’s rightful place at the boardroom table, nurturing the concept that the heartbeat of any business lies in marketing.

Upliftment of the youth is also a priority of the event which V5 Digital as a Pledge 1% participant appreciate greatly! A bursary programme, in exclusive partnership with Red & Yellow Creative School of Business and the IMC YOUTH1000 initiative (in partnership with MASA), are two ways the IMC help our rising young stars.

With humour and charm, the host with the most Donovan Goliath started the event by engaging with the virtual host Celestia, once again showing that AI is here to stay! The rhythmic beats from Lucky and the Afro Drums amplified the lively atmosphere and provided literal drumrolls for all the esteemed local and global speakers.

The conference kicked off with the celebrated Pearl Thusi taking centre stage, a vision in a Thebe Magugu dress. In a presentation titled “It’s Personal: How to build your own brand,” she laid down the blueprint of personal branding, dissecting it into three pivotal components.

  1. Inner Brand Sanctum: She highlighted the foundational spiritual enthusiasm that defines the core of a brand, emphasizing the importance of surrounding oneself with supportive individuals who can help avert imposter syndrome and nurture the authentic heartbeat of the brand.

  2. External Brand Projection: She underscored the necessity of genuine representation in the public sphere, championing authenticity and the courage to be oneself even in the face of potential backlash, anchored in the belief that “If the brand is real, nobody can fault that”.

  3. Digital Presence on Social Media: Pearl guided us through the intricate world of social media, urging individuals to create spaces that foster feelings of love, value, and acknowledgement through sincere and meaningful interactions.

Up next was a brand voted most admired and mentioned so many times they could get a co-hosting credit the always innovative Nando's. Doug Place the CMO of Nando’s Africa, Middle East, and South Asia and whose business card could be A4 size asked the C-Suite:

  1. Do we Contribute: Run your business better! As the economy goes up we lift people out of poverty.

  2. Embrace Chaos: Marketing works best at the edge of chaos. Have your feet on the present but your eyes on the horizon.

  3. Collaborate: It’s not enough to win…you need to win-win with the industry as a whole!

Next Roanna Williams reminded us that creativity can change the world and Dustin Chick, Arun Sudhaman, and Shayoni Lynn discussed the future of reputation telling us that corporations are being held to a higher standard and should always be B2Everyone!

" Standing for nothing is very risky, and saying nothing on big issues is another form of statement" - Arun Sudhaman

As the conference moved forward, we delved deeper into the cornerstone of successful business operations and people-centric leadership. Mteto Nyati, the chairman of Wazo Investments, asked the audience to introspect on their leadership styles and qualities, presenting a pivotal question that resonated with many: "If you know all you know about yourself, would you apply for a job under you?"

The spotlight was then seized by the international speaker and Chief Innovation Officer at System1, Orlando Wood. In a persuasive narrative grounded in extensive research, Wood unravelled the dichotomy of "narrow-beam" and "broad-beam" attention in the context of the advertising industry.

Wood painted a portrait of a society losing its vibrant touch to the rigid adherence to analytics, leaving creativity in its wake. He challenges the industry to rethink the current approach that heavily leans on "narrow-beam" attention — a path fraught with detachment and rigidity.

In contrast, he advocates for a shift towards "broad-beam" attention which cherishes human connection, character dynamism, humor, and music to foster trust and build a long-lasting brand.

After a quick break Zoe Scaman, founder of Bodacious and former global head of strategy for Ridley Scott, dissected the evolution of User Generated Content (UGC) in her presentation "The Multi-Player Brand". Scaman delineated the progression of UGC into three phases:

UGC - Phase 1: The early text-based internet era birthed platforms for bloggers and forums, fostering new voices and ideas, with Google facilitating access to an array of information sources.

USC - Phase 2: In the past two decades, platforms like Instagram and YouTube spearheaded new entertainment formats and creator economies, giving rise to the influencer culture in the Web 2.0 era.

USC - Phase 3: The internet is evolving with platforms like Roblox and tools like generative AI fostering unprecedented democratization and decentralization in content creation. This shift, emblematic of Web 3.0, allows individuals to create without traditional gatekeepers, pointing to a future with collaborative ownership and dynamic brand definitions.

In her talk, Scaman also introduced the concept of the "cosy web", a reaction to the divisiveness cultivated by major social platforms, fostering smaller, safe spaces of like-minded individuals on the internet.

Everything in this video is generated using AI

She foresees a future of collective creativity with generative AI facilitating a democratization of creativity. Emphasizing the untapped potential of evolving technologies, Scaman urged brands to transition from a passive approach to a collaborative, open-source strategy, embracing the reciprocal value generated through cooperative brand-fan relationships, paving the way for a cooperative, mutually beneficial future in branding.

Luca Gallarelli' favourite  marketing quote
Luca Gallarelli's favourite marketing quote

The longer version of the quote.
The longer version of the quote.

Luca Gallarelli, Group CEO of TBWA\South Africa delivered a dynamic and impactful presentation titled "Living on the Right Side of Chaos: The Art of Effective Integration that Delivers Magic." He told the audience that, “Misfits aren’t misfits amongst other misfits,” urging them to embrace chaos and tension, the true foundations of creativity.

After an insightful 15-minute talk by Shukri Toefy the executive creative director of Woolworths took to the stage.

Brian Mtongana had everyone chuckling with his insightful presentation titled: Inside the Difference. He showcased the deep-rooted presence of Woolies in the everyday language of South Africans, humorously suggesting that phrases like “today is as cold as a Woolies store” and “Xhosa men are the Woolies of men” have become commonplace in our vernacular.

He joked that their shopping carts go for wheel alignments and elevated their bags to the “national carrier of South Africa,” highlighting their ubiquitous nature. More than just a light-hearted session, he underscored Woolies’ leadership in sustainability, reinforcing the truth that doing good is good for business.

What is the Woolworths deference?



Fresh consistency

Excellent quality

Responsible products and practices



Customer experience


Khensani Nobanda gave us 10 insights in 10 min

  1. Get the basics right – Excellent briefs and clear communication are necessary.

  2. Keep growing and learning – We can all be lifelong learners, and there is something to be learned from everyone.

  3. Authentic storytelling builds trust – People want to connect with brands on a human level.

  4. Appeal to consumers’ emotions - Emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusion.

  5. Empathizing with clients – Brands need to relate to clients and what they’re facing to build trust.

  6. The power of the collective – All for one and one for all! Collaboration requires unity of purpose.

  7. Test and course correct – Being adaptive allows brands to test assumptions, take what works and leave behind what doesn’t work.

  8. On-the-ground Experience – Doing the work on the ground can give us more insight than we know!

  9. Consistency builds brand trust – Don’t lose brand integrity as you grow and scale up. Trust directly impacts your bottom line.

  10. Sales is our duty; brand is our legacy – You’ve got to do both.

Next, we were treated to another fascinating panel discussion between Ann Nurok, Mpume Ngobese, Nkgabiseng Motau, and Zayd Abrahams about optimising the client/agency relationship showing that CEOs are from Mars and CMOs are from Venus.

"As agencies, we complain about not being understood by our clients, but, empathy goes both ways. As agencies, we need to understand our client’s business on every level which helps build relationships." - Nkabiseng Motau

International speaker Ricardo Oberlander presented: The Changing Role of the CMO while Vodacom CEO, Sitho Mdlalose and the Brand and Marketing Communications for Africa Managing Executive at Vodacom, Andisa Ntsubane, discussed marketing and the economic challenges affecting business today.

Then it was time for some African flair! Mzamo Xala CEO of Avatar hit the stage in white socks to discuss African creativity and how it can drive business impact! How do we bring culture, commerce, creativity and technology together, suggesting we need to unlock our AI: African Intelligence.

"We are not African because we are born in Africa we are African because African creativity is born in us" - Mzamo Xala

The next big presentation of the day was delivered by Accenture Song's Nick Law who highlighted:

Seven principles for the future of creativity

  1. Consistent principles, dynamic practices

  2. Singular vision, collaborative culture

  3. Loose with ideas, tight with execution

  4. Creative needs technology

  5. Get to deep simplicity

  6. Start in the middle

  7. To make new things, remake yourself

One of Red & Yellow's top students and bursar, Anganathi Beyile spoke about marketing purpose saying, “As Marketers, we hold the power to create perception and change the narrative, let’s use our power wisely.”

Followed by a masterclass on African Marketing by Harvard grad Ciko Thomas asking, "How do we infuse our African provenance, our African roots, in the brands for which we are custodians?"

Ciko tells the story of how Japan took something as quintessentially Scottish as whiskey and created one of the best versions of the drink by infusing the Japanese spirit into it. Diversity whether a gift or a challenge is an important part of marketing.

The conference continued with more great speakers but a personal favorite was Chief Experience Design Officer at VMLY&R, Kaleeta McDade sharing tips on how we can transcend from Storytelling to Storyliving!

Take a look at the creative ads possible when we move from campaigns to experiences!

VMLY&R turned barcodes on all milk cartoons into Oreo stacks, pairing the perfect dynamic duo

VMLY&R turned 100 years of product placement into an interactive, shoppable experience

I See Coke is a built-in Alexa skill that puts Coca-Cola on viewers' lips every time it pops up on the screen. To execute, VMLY&R catalogued thousands of hours of content. Using machine learning, to identify hundreds of Coca-Cola placements and create customized replies with an offer for every single appearance.

As the sun set on the illustrious 2023 Nedbank IMC Conference, and guests started moving towards the drinks table it was clear that everyone was buzzing with new ideas from the brilliant speakers who all have a deep-seated passion for the craft of marketing.

The V5 Digital team are ready to take all the innovative ideas, insights, and perspectives back to the office and infuse our future campaigns with African creativity!

If you are looking to enhance your brand's digital footprint and leverage the latest industry trends for unparalleled growth, there's no better time to connect with V5 Digital. Ready to ignite your brand's potential? Click the button below.

Selected photos sourced from: IMC Conference Facebook

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Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Think about ethical UX design as an opportunity, not a constraint
Think of ethical UX design as an opportunity, not a constraint

To exchange personal information, users need to feel there’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Experts discuss the future of trust.

Today, more users are comfortable with companies using relevant personal information transparently and beneficially. In the 2022 Salesforce State of the Connected Customer study, 61% of survey respondents reported a level of comfort with these personalized user experience practices. That’s up from 52% the year prior. However, there’s no universal definition of what’s transparent and beneficial.

Design leaders are often the ones who end up determining what an ideal user experience looks like – and what it doesn’t look like. Let’s consider a few examples for context.

  • An account executive on a customer call sees a chatbot open up with advice to change their tone to be more effective. This can feel like it’s inserting itself in an unrequested way.

  • A consumer searches for, say, wedding ring jewellers on their laptop web browser. They later see an AI-targeted ad for event planners on their mobile social-media feed.

Many people describe experiences like these as creepy. It can cross a line when AI uses information or user behaviour from a different location, experience or device, without a clear explanation or consent process. However, that line can blur based on the user and their background.

“Users need to feel that there’s a mutually beneficial relationship between the company and themselves as they exchange their data for personalized services,” said Daniel Lim, Salesforce Futures Senior Director, who also worked on the “Ethics by Design” report with the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Reciprocate for personal data

Lim reminds designers that the value exchange today is still new. Today, customers get more personalized user experiences while companies gather data and gain insights. Yet not too long ago, customers simply paid for goods and services without giving up personal data. It’s a new day of information everywhere. By 2028, 221 zettabytes of data will exist worldwide, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). There are also powerful tools in the market to unlock customer data and actionable insights such as our new Salesforce Data Cloud.

Knowing this, Lim recognizes the act of mutually beneficial design to be an emerging design principle for building a future with more trust. He stresses this topic cannot be overlooked. “The internet changed trust forever,” he said.

Unlock customer data and actionable insights in real-time, at scale with Salesforce Data Cloud

Observe the ethical environment

He spoke about this on the podcast series “Voicing Relationships,” produced in partnership with House of Beautiful Business, the network for the life-centred economy. Besides the creepy/cool distinction being specific to the user, it’s also specific to society.

“What is good in society is completely contextual,” said Lim. “What’s ethical in a society is completely contextual, as well.”

Similarly, human-centred design offers a lens to inquire deeper about what’s important to users. Instead of making assumptions, having conversations can reveal insights that inform what personalized user experiences look like. “The future of personalization really depends on the use of technology to sense and respond to the context of each individual – understanding what their needs are and responding without explicit instruction,” said Lim.

Certainly, designers are increasingly aware of how to avoid deceptive designs. Now, in this new data- and AI-driven era, it’s also critical to avoid designs that users might describe as creepy.

Prevent user discomfort

Incorporating ethics into design processes is a topic Emily Witt champions in her role as Salesforce Director of Cross-Cloud Research & Insights. “Our customers trust us to do the hard work of creating trustworthy experiences. We need to make sure we avoid creating experiences that feel invasive, manipulative, or anxiety-provoking.”

She’s found that explanations can go a long way to increasing comfort. Using language that puts users at ease might look like sharing why you’re requesting private information or what information you’re using to generate an output. It also helps to clearly communicate when companies employ AI – a transparent disclosure outlined in the Salesforce Acceptable Use Policy.

Salesforce is committed to building products responsibly to make it easy for designers, developers, and admins to use them responsibly
Marc Benioff says, “Technology is not good or bad, it’s what you do with it that matters.”

“We need to make sure we avoid creating experiences that feel invasive, manipulative, or anxiety-provoking.”

Emily Witt, Salesforce Director of Cross-Cloud Research & Insights

For example, when naming Tracey Bot, the contact-tracing Einstein Bot, the team intentionally included “Bot.” They did this to make it clear that AI is contacting them about their health. With personal medical information, there’s a risk of falling into what’s known as the uncanny valley. To avoid user discomfort, the team built in direction for organizations to only send a message if an agent can handle inbound calls. This example shows how human-centred design helps create personalized user experiences with data and AI that meet user expectations. They can even spark positive sentiment.

Generally, “don’t be creepy” is a common refrain in the tech industry. Customer companies can consider how users perceive the data-for-personalization value exchange. It requires responsible marketing personalization and responsible AI design principles. In fact, that’s how to pave the way toward increasing customer trust and loyalty. It all starts with designing solutions that keep these emerging ideas top of mind.

As a longtime Salesforce Partner, V5 Digital is committed to building trust with our users by consistently prioritizing ethical and responsible data practices and design.

Interested in providing your customers and consumers with a personalized user experience that builds trust? Press the button below, enter your details, and we'll promptly connect with you to explore personalized solutions for your needs.

This article was written by Kate Hughes for the Salesforce 360 Blog and adapted for the V5 Digital audience.

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Unlock Google Marketing Success
Unlock Google Marketing Success

Imagine you're a chef trying to cook a delicious meal. You have all the ingredients you need, but if you don’t follow the recipe correctly, your dish is likely to turn out subpar. The same is true with Google Ads. Even if you have a great product or service to offer, if you don’t set up your campaigns correctly, you’re not going to get the results you want.

Even the top-spending ad accounts make one or more costly mistakes and number one on the list is:

1. Conversion Tracking Not Set up Properly: The Blindfolded Marketer

Imagine walking into a labyrinth without a map or any sense of direction. That’s exactly what happens when you neglect to set up conversion tracking. Without conversion tracking, you’re merely guessing which campaigns, keywords, or ads are generating actual results. It’s like wandering in the dark, hoping for the best.

Let’s say you’re running an e-commerce business, and your goal is to drive online sales. By implementing conversion tracking, you can track and attribute sales to specific ads or keywords. Without it, you’re left unaware of which campaigns contribute to your revenue, making optimization an uphill battle.

2. Irrelevant or Excessive Keywords: The Scatterbrained Advertiser

When it comes to keyword selection, quality trumps quantity. Overloading your campaigns with irrelevant or excessive keywords will not only drain your budget but also dilute your targeting efforts. Remember, relevance is the key to capturing the attention of potential customers.

Strategic use of keywords empowers marketers to reach their target audience more effectively and improve their online visibility, ultimately driving higher engagement and conversion rates
Strategic use of keywords empowers marketers to reach their target audience more effectively

Suppose you’re promoting a luxury travel agency specializing in exotic destinations. Using keywords like “cheap flights” or “budget accommodations” would attract budget-conscious travelers, not your desired high-end clientele.

Instead, focus on terms like “luxury travel packages” or “exclusive resorts” to target the right audience.

Studies indicate that narrowing down your keyword list to 10-20 highly relevant keywords can increase click-through rates by up to 200%. Quality beats quantity every time!

3. Neglecting Negative Keywords: The Wasted Impressions

Imagine if your ads were shown to people searching for something entirely different from what you offer. That’s where negative keywords come in. Failure to utilize negative keywords can result in wasted impressions, clicks, and ultimately, wasted budget.

Let’s say you’re selling premium dog food and want to target dog owners looking for healthy options. By adding “cat” as a negative keyword, you prevent your ads from showing to people searching for cat-related products. This way, you ensure your ads are displayed only to those genuinely interested in your dog food.

Including negative keywords can decrease your cost-per-click (CPC) by up to 50%, maximizing your ad spend and filtering out irrelevant clicks. Don’t let your budget go to waste!

4. Search Copy: The Bland & Boring Approach

Your ad copy is the hook that reels in potential customers. However, if it fails to engage or lacks relevance to the search query, it becomes a missed opportunity. Remember, you have a limited number of characters to captivate your audience, so make sure every word counts!

Suppose you’re running a digital marketing agency offering SEO services. Instead of a generic headline like “Best SEO Services,” try something more compelling and relevant, such as “Unlock Your Website’s Potential with Expert SEO Strategies.” This way, you immediately address the searcher’s needs and stand out from the competition.

Ads with a high relevance score (based on click-through rate and engagement) can lead to a 50-100% increase in ad visibility and a significant decrease in cost-per-click. Engage, captivate, and conquer!

5. Ignoring Location Settings: The Disconnected Advertiser

Picture this: You’re running a local business catering to a specific geographical area, but your ads are being displayed to people thousands of miles away. Ignoring location settings is like casting a wide net without considering the waters you’re fishing in. It’s crucial to optimize your ads to reach the right audience in the right place.

Let’s say you own a boutique coffee shop in Swakopmund. If you neglect to set your ads to target users within a reasonable radius of your location, your ads may be shown to people in Los Angeles, London, or even Tokyo! This wasted exposure not only drains your budget but also fails to attract customers who are actually within reach of your establishment.

Localized targeting tailors your message to specific geographical areas, enhancing relevance and resonating better with local audiences
Localized targeting tailors your message to specific areas, enhancing relevance and resonating better with local audiences

Studies have shown that ads with localized targeting have a 200% higher click-through rate compared to campaigns with broader targeting. By narrowing down your audience to specific locations, you ensure that your ads are seen by those who are most likely to convert into loyal customers.

Worried that you might be making these mistakes? The experts at V5 Digital know exactly how to navigate the complexities of Google Ads. We understand how to create, implement, and optimize campaigns to ensure maximum efficiency and return on investment. Interested? Click the button below.

This article was written by Veena Gandhi for DigitalMarketer and adapted for the V5 Digital audience.

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