Truly great marketing campaigns provide connection, fondness and memorability long after the campaign ends. A few that come to mind as I write this article are the ‘Boet & Swaer’ Castrol campaign, the David Krammer VW Volksiebus Advert and Vodacom’s ‘Yebo Gogo’ campaign. These adverts won a place in South African’s lives because by watching them they felt understood. They could relate to the content, the humour and the sentimentality. Campaigns such as these make an audience feel like they’re part of something bigger and not just another sale.

To provide you with some handles on media and communications in South Africa and how to remain relevant we have put together some DO’s and DON’T’s, there are undoubtedly so many more than we have shared here but these should provide a strong framework.


Prana Blog - How to Win in Media - dos and donts



  • Stay up to date with trends and developments

The media landscape and how consumers engage with it are rapidly changing and in order to stay on target it is essential that marketers not become complacent in their understanding of media consumption.


For example, more and more people are reading the news online;

streaming and satellite options for television are growing in numbers and consumers are welcoming the variety;

YouTube is thriving and has earned a solid place in the media space; radio streaming options are rising; digital formats are relevant to consumers and highly advantageous to marketers with lower production costs and with the perk of both highly targeted and measurable.


Even though TV, radio and outdoor remain primary media, options are growing and if they are not embraced it is a missed opportunity for marketers.


  • Utilize mobile marketing!

More South Africans own a cell phone than any other electronic device and for a great number of South Africans mobile is the only possible way to access the Internet with 80% of Internet users using only their mobile phones to go online.


More than half of website traffic in South Africa comes from mobile devices.  With Google as the most popular Internet service provider, people are ‘googling’ for content that is relevant to their lives.  This provides excellent opportunities for marketers to introduce their product.  With ‘Google AdWords for Mobile’ you can create a campaign that allows you to near perfectly target your advertising messages.



  • Solve hard problems

South Africa is a unique context with challenges and certainly with opportunities unique to our wonderful, diverse land – marketing decisions should demonstrate consideration and understanding and not cut and paste a global strategy into a South African context.


  • Online shopping

Steadily growing in popularity, South African consumer’s have come to trust and enjoy the convenience of online shopping. Items need to be properly catalogued, easy to find, the site secure, customer service both excellent and responsive and delivery should exceed expectations.


  • Engagement on Social Media

Engage in social listening to hear what your market wants and be swift to turn any negative experience with your brand into an overwhelmingly positive one.


  • Have an intimate understanding of your target audience

Understand their lives, their choices, needs and realities as best as you can.  What do they value?  How do they spend their time recreationally?  What language do they prefer to communicate in?  What media do they consume?  By demonstrating a considered approach you should achieve success in your marketing endeavors.





  • Forget to add new content to your website

Simply having a website ‘up’ is no longer sufficient.  Sites that bear signs of neglect will quickly lose the attention of your viewer.  However sites that are evidently current and attended to signal a passion for business that customers are looking for and indicate productivity.  Adding fresh content regularly will improve your sites findability too as Google rewards websites that provide new and relevant content.


  • Assume a one size fits all approach

As mentioned earlier, we live in a beautifully diverse nation, a rainbow nation, and a singular approach will not work for all markets.  Take the time to know and understand your market and tailor messaging that is relevant.


  • Underestimate the impact of social media

A poorly handled social media response could have an overwhelmingly negative effect on your brand.  Just because your message is summed up in a few characters in a Tweet and not plastered on a billboard does not mean that it can’t have a far-reaching impact.  A few checks in place to ensure that the meaning of your message is accurate is worth the time and effort.






Written by Tracey Kelsey, Tracey has worked in the field of marketing and communications. She has completed an Honours Degree in Marketing Communications at the University of Johannesburg in 2002. Tracey worked in the NGO sector for World Hope International where she compiled course material for an HIV awareness program and at Childline Gauteng where she was involved in fund raising and building a community of support for the children of Childline. She has worked as a freelance photographer for the past seven years, her focus being lifestyle family portraiture.