Matthew Stone, Matt, Society, #MembersOfSociety, Strategy, People, King James Group


Good morning, Matt. What do you do here?

I started out as a copywriter and am currently a Digital Strategist.

A digital what now?

I help inform exactly how we are going to communicate with our audience, what channels we are going to use, how we are going to use them, how we will target adverts, what kind of content we will present. Before the creatives create content, I am one of the minds that help guide what that content should be like and where it should go. For example, certain target audiences use Facebook, other target audiences use Instagram, some use Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn…  My job is to understand the social media and digital landscape and decide how to use social media to communicate effectively with a target audience. It’s all about translating the client’s desires into actionable insights and tasks.

What’s your tip of the day?

Timing. Even the most compelling creative will be ineffective if delivered at the wrong place and the wrong time. Serve highly engaging content during lunch hours. If the content requires 20 minutes of engagement, don’t post it at 9am when people are trying to get their workday started. Also, a Digital Strategist needs to be able to see the forest for the trees. When problems are complicated, I need to be able to reduce them to  simple questions and then answer those questions.

Thanks, Matt.

#MembersOfSociety: Diana

Hello, Di. What is an “Influencer Marketing manager”?

If there’s a social media campaign and you want to get it to the right people to inspire an audience to get involved with the campaign, I would be the one to find the right person, or “influencer” for the campaign. I think there aren’t many agencies in South Africa with an influencer specialist.

So you know a lot of famous people?

Haha! No, not really, but I have worked with a few. I love to gossip and have channelled it into a career. I am the type of person who cannot go to Woolies for milk without browsing every newspaper and magazine headline.

What does one need to know to be able to do your job?

There is a big difference between “reach” and “real influence”. It’s not very effective to pay someone with a million followers to tweet about your brand if it only gets ten retweets. Social media is great for gaining awareness, but if, for example, your campaign wants people to download your app, people tend to be more receptive to such a call to action when it comes from someone they trust and with opinions they respect. I find that person for every campaign, someone who can speak to the audience effectively and, ideally, is also a member of the target audience.

Can you tell me something you have learned in the last 7 days?

One of the many pet peeves of influencers is being told how they feel. I recently called someone and said to him “We have this campaign, I think you will really like it” and the angry response was “don’t tell me how I feel!” You have to make sure the influencer’s goals as well as the brand’s goals are met and ensure an ongoing relationship well after the campaign ends.


One Rand Man wins at the Cannes Lions

The One Rand Man campaign for Sanlam picked up a Bronze Lion in Branded Content  and two other finalist positions. The campaign launched a year ago today and has been one of Sanlam’s most successful brand campaigns to date. Also worth noting that this was one of the few digitally-led pieces to win internationally from South Africa.

Congrats to everyone across the King James Group that worked on this.


Someone in Cape Town

This is a recent anti-drugs campaign produced for the City of Cape Town targeting younger drug users.

The true story of a now recovered drug addict is told through daily Facebook posts, a YouTube Vlog and a Tumblr page documenting the recovery process in a city run programme. We used actors to recreate the story to protect the identities of those involved.

From the start we had an amazing and sometimes deeply moving response as young people in Cape Town followed the story and started to share their own.

The #walkerwager for Johnnie Walker

Last year Johnnie Walker globally launched this film featuring Jude Law. The King James Group was asked to put together a local follow-up using the Walker Wager theme.

The result was a challenge between Formula 1 legend Mika Häkkinen and local driving hero Gugu Zulu. The wager was that Gugu could not train a completely unexperienced driver to match Mika’s lap time at Kyalami.

The challenge has unfolded in a series of YouTube episodes and posts across the brand’s social media channels.

You can follow the full project here

Also follow Johnnie Walker on Facebook and Twitter.

New video from the 1001 days project for Santam

This is the latest video from our 1001 days project for Santam’s SME social channels. Over the last few months we’ve been profiling businesses that have made it past 1000 days in business (statistically most local startups will fail by this point so there is a lot to learn from the few that make it).

You can view more from this project on the Santam blog

YouTube, social media, marketing tips, brands, theodora lee, society, caspar lee

What Brands Could Learn from a YouTuber

A popular sitcom had a joke about a 10-year-old boy who didn’t have a cell phone because his parents were scared he would become a YouTube star. That’s obviously not a problem in the Lee household (that has produced two of them). We sat with Theodora Lee, a local YouTube sensation who has 144 000 subscribers, to find out what brands could learn from a YouTuber. And given that that the top local YouTube talent can achieve more with a simple webcam than most brands can achieve with a full production crew and a ton of media budget, we’d suggest there is a lot to learn.


SXSW 2015 some reflections

Well I’ve been back a week or so now and the jet lag has worn off and I’m slowly again getting used to a diet that is not taco based. With some time for reflection (and a catch-up with some of the talks I missed on SXSW’s Soundcloud channel) I’ve picked some trends I found most relevant to share.

This is happening right now

The big app of SXSW was undoubtedly Meerkat (a livestreaming video tool). It’s a dubious honour of being THE app of SXSW as it’s no guarantee of success in the real world (let’s be clear that SXSW is not the real world). Many panellists I saw were either using it or referring to it. [update: several journalists are already pronouncing the death of Meerkat which is a quick demise even by SXSW standards]

The underlying trend here is that social is increasingly about a connection to a live unfolding event. People are drawn to collective experiences and social media “events” (from the coloured dress debate to terror attacks)  are replacing the collective TV experience. Now instead of discussing what’s happening in Friends we gather around breaking stories on the web as they happen. Live streaming seems like the next logical step on from the live blogs and tweets around developing stories.

The mainstream test is probably whether Kim Kardashian decides to use this stuff to live stream a night out or not.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante #RooftopRun

The Challenge

New Balance sought to launch the Fresh Foam Zante in a different and disruptive way. Society was tasked with building a solid social community, getting Fresh Foam Zante noticed, and driving traffic into key retail partners on the release of the product on 18December 2014.

How did we do it?

Society started the conversation using #RooftopRun and #FreshFoamZante – two hashtags deployed in an authentic way. These became the golden thread throughout the entire campaign. In order to turn running on its head, we created a unique experience. We invited influencers to an exclusive run on top of the tallest building in Africa, the Carlton Centre. We later opened it up to the public, sending invitations to various consumers who shared an interest. Punk created a mobile website, accessible through Android NFC touch technology. Our goal was to give consumers more information on the Fresh Foam Zante at the point of decision, in store.