Meet an upgraded Springleap and its meta-consumers

by Herman Manson (@marklives) Once Springleap was famous for the funky but rather expensive T-shirts it produced through crowd-sourced design. Now the business has dropped T-shirts and embraced a new research-centric role under Trevor Wolfe.

TREND. report: The PR evolution

Public relations agencies and communication strategists need to reengineer themselves as social businesses to meet client communication needs.

This is a key finding to emerge from a report on the evolution of the public relations industry by trendwatching site, TREND. at, called ‘Social Communications’.

The public relations industry has reengineered itself in recent years to focus on acquiring digital skills to compete with digital agencies in the social media realm, as well as repositioned as reputation management specialists – a core skill needed by communication firms today.

In South Africa, steps to “professionalise” the industry are seen as hugely positive in setting professional standards for PR in the country. A green paper is ready to go before parliament.

“This is the most significant time to be a communication practitioner in South Africa,” says Louise Marsland, Publishing Editor of TREND. and the author of the PR report.

Finding answers, but not in focus groups

by Herman Manson (@marklives) Already as an advertising grad trainee at O&M in London Craig Irving realised he had little understanding of people outside his office environment. Who were these people he was thinking up campaigns to sell stuff to?

Hitting the streets with first a voice recorder and later a video camera he began finding out. His rebellion against conventional qualitative Township Youthresearch methods created a nice little profit centre at O&M, and when he wasn’t offered his share, he picked up and launched his own business, the Consumer Insights Agency (c.i.a).

Brands like Unilever, Diageo, brandhouse, Coca-Cola, FNB, Woolworths, PEP, Old Mutual and Pick n Pay have all found benefit in using the agency, which has grown to a team of 20, to gain real insight into the people who buy their products, all around Africa.

For youth market mobile access to information and communication is the answer

Mobility no longer simply refers to motion, it has also come to describe the untethered use of technology on devices like smart phones, both of which seems to have come together in a perfect storm to enable the revolutions currently sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. Setting these revolutions in motion, is the youth, who organise and spread their message using social networks primarily accessed through mobile devices. These platforms are not only changing how young consumers engage with politics but also with commerce and one another.

A question of trust

A new survey on levels of trust between the public and governments, business, NGOs and the media has just been released. The Edelman 2011 Trust Barometer tries to gauge the attitudes regarding the state of public trust in these institutions across 23 countries. Although the survey does not extend to Africa, it does draw some interesting conclusions on how, why and when people trust.

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