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DMMA board denies governance crisis

by Herman Manson (@marklives) The Digital Media & Marketing Association (DMMA) earlier this year announced a new management structure that saw an elected Executive Committee replaced by an appointed steering committee. However, it had neglected to update its constitution, which requires a 75% vote in support by members, before doing so.

Currently the DMMA constitution requires members to elect a Chairperson, a Deputy Chairperson and six additional Members from their ranks to serve a one-year term of office. “These elected persons, totalling 8 (eight) persons, will form the Execo,” according to the DMMA constitution.

“The Execo will be entitled, but not obliged, from time to time to co-opt such additional members to the Execo as the Execo may deem appropriate, to assist the Execo with specified projects. Such co-opted members shall not, for the purpose of this Constitution, be deemed to be members of the Execo,” the document reads.

This seems at odds with the current, revised structure of the DMMA, which now contains an Executive Director (for which no function exists in the DMMA constitution), a Chairperson and a team of eight other members on an appointed steering committee.

Previously the DMMA Executive Committee effectively functioned as its board, which is not the case of the current Steering Committee. It sits below a Board of three members who are Nikki Cockcroft (DMMA Executive Director & Head of Bookmarks), Jarred Cinman (Director and Chair of Steering Committee) and Theresa Vitale (Director).

Saving NATIVE

by Herman Manson (@marklives) NATIVE is correcting course after facing some difficult challenges following its entry into the market. Its peers seem to have written off the agency, racked after its creation by above normal staff churn, trouble at winning new business and a perception that it had failed in delivering on its stated aim of becoming the lead digital agency with clients. MarkLives sat down with CEO Jason Xenopoulos, MD Jarred Cinman and Chief Marketing Warrior Ben Wagner for the flip side of the story.

The agency was born just over two years ago through the merger of digital centric businesses Cambrient, Stonewall+ and Brandsh in a bid to combine for scale and to merge their respective skill sets – web design, mobile social media and web CMS.

Launched in late 2010 with a staff of 120 and a client list that included General Motors, Standard Bank, Seacom and DStv, NATIVE had hoped to take the sting out of traditional agency efforts to beef up digital skills in-house by building a strategy orientated digital offering that outpaced anything traditional rivals managed to pull together. Not happy to be a production house NATIVE was designed to compete on strategy with other client agencies.

For more than a year into the merger the agency leadership team was, by their own admission, obsessively introspective as it struggled to make
decisions in the ‘merger of equals’ – a process made all that much harder by an excessively large management structure inherited from these former businesses.

Brand experience: Why Kulula is shit

by Jarred Cinman (@jarredcinman) Here’s the simple one sentence reason: you have to earn the right to be cute.

Kulula (really: Comair) has spent a massive amount of cash since the launch of this airline creating a brand that is irreverent, jokey and – yes – cute. They have subverted a lot of the severe tonality which marks most airline travel experiences and made flying “fun”.

Or so the theory goes.

Actually the only thing that really is fun about Kulula is its marketing. That’s not to take anything away from that marketing – it is often genuinely innovative and on the mark. The Marketing Director and ad agency deserve lots of awards (and have won them). Well done guys.

The problem is that a fraction of a millimetre under the surface of this great promise is a business whose product is garbage:

– It’s not that cheap
– The digital experience is flawed
– It’s incessant delays are a serious problem