Influencing the trend towards excellence

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See what is happening in our world – who is influencing whom and why.

Influencing the trend towards excellence

November 13, 2020

It is always an honour – and a surprise – when you find yourself rubbing shoulders with truly influential personalities, when the industry you love returns your passion with accolades.

This was how I felt when I learnt that I had been honoured with a place on the Global Influencer Top 50 list for the second year in a row.

Surprised. Joyful. Grateful. Proud. Amazed. Humbled. Determined to do even better for myself, for my amazing R-Squared Agency team and for the industry to repay this honour. (Hey, maybe these are the Seven Stages of Joy to counteract the Seven Stages of Grief?).

Getting awards and plaudits is not about a pat on the back. It is not a reward. It is a challenge. It is a challenge to go further, to do better, to lift those around you. Every person on the Global Influencer Top 50 list is someone who strives to make our industry better. While a large portion of the world hears ‘influencer’ and thinks of vapid, narcissistic, self-absorbed attention grabbers, these innovators are showing the world the power of influencer marketing when it is done right. They are guiding our industry from a trendy, fast-forgotten Insta post into a truly formidable tool for change.

With great power comes great responsibility (actually Voltaire not Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben but, whatever) and influencer marketing has certainly got great power. It is the leaders and innovators who are bringing in the great responsibility. I see it on a daily basis. I see it from the R-Squared Agency offices in Cape Town and I see it from our offices in London. I see it as a member of the IAB in South Africa and the IAB in France. I am intimately involved with helping to formulate guidelines and best practices and ensure fair treatment for influencers and brands around the world. I see it every day with my teams and my clients.

The hunger for excellence. The thirst for distinction.

Not for any spirit of dominance or praise, but rather as acknowledgement that what they are doing – what we are doing – is the right thing done in the right way. Acknowledgement that we are accurate, factual, appropriate, correct, precise and, above all, that we are making a difference.

We all know the buzzwords: trend, influence, like, click, audience, organic, viral, but how many are willing to go further, to go beyond a quick click and engage the world for the better?

These are the ones who change our course, who chart our future.

And I am proud and honoured to be included in their illustrious ranks.

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Why it’s important to celebrate the power of African women in media

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See what is happening in our world – who is influencing whom and why.

Why it’s important to celebrate the power of African women in media

November 11, 2020

I am the CEO of an influencer marketing agency. Sure, we have offices in Cape Town and London. Yes, I am a committee member of the IAB France and the Chairman of the Digital Influencer Marketing Committee for the IAB South Africa. But why would I be invited to judge the APO Group African Women in Media Awards 2020? And why would I be rubbing shoulders with luminaries like Naomi Campbell (yes, THE Naomi Campbell – supermodel, actor, business tycoon), Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard (founder of APO Group), Fatma Samoura (Secretary-General of FIFA), Dr Rasha Kelej (CEO of Merck Foundation) and a ton of world-renowned heads of business, industry, organisations and governments?

Where does an industry driven by enhancing brand profiles and creating engaging and creative connections between influencers, audiences and brands fit in with an event that seeks to recognise journalists – African women journalists – and their work?

I believe it has everything to do with authenticity.

Our world is in turmoil right now. We are seeing unprecedented events across the globe from pandemics to natural disasters to political upheaval. People are uncertain and afraid and looking for leaders to help them understand what is happening and to give them guidance, to give them hope – to lead.

Unfortunately, we are also seeing a proliferation of partisan voices that are telling us different stories, that are sowing seeds of doubt in our minds, that are putting clicks and viewer numbers ahead of the truth.

We’ve all heard the buzzwords: fake news, mainstream media, partisan, political agenda, conspiracies, deep state and the list goes on. The most powerful people in the world are dividing nations and the people we look to for giving us the real truths – the media – are choosing sides and only showing us what they want us to see. If it only affected the countries involved it would still be a travesty but it doesn’t, it affects the whole world. There is an African saying: when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

This is where events like the APO Group African Women in Media becomes so important. Where the power of the voices of African women become so important. Because it brings us authenticity. It brings us the real stories of the real people on our continent. Just like influencer marketing adds a personal, genuine, believable voice to a brand’s communications, these inspirational African women bring personal, genuine and believable stories – of our people, for our people – to us.

By bringing attention to the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa, by bringing us the real news – from a community, from a city, from a country, from a continent – they are helping to develop a real interest, a real understanding and a real impact on matters that affect us personally, that will grow our continent and that will shape our futures and the futures of the next generation of African women journalists and the African people.

And for that they should be applauded and rewarded.

To understand the power that these women hold, you only need to go back to the list of judges at the APO Group African Women in Media Awards 2020. These are not judges that are chosen from within the industry, these are judges that come from the very pinnacle of the most formidable bodies in the world. Microsoft, the Jack Ma Foundation, IBM, Siemens, Cisco, Hilton, World Rugby, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Coca-Cola, Visa, KPMG, Yale, UNCDF, the NBA, even Harley-Davidson, LEGO, Sotheby’s, WWF (World Wildlife Fund not the wrestling empire!). Judges from international banks, pharma companies, governments, lifestyle and beauty companies, telecoms, education.

And a small global influencer marketing agency.

All gathered to show their respect and admiration for the journalists who put their real voices behind the real stories that will make a real impact for Africa.

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