Tag Archives: Public Relations

Freedom Day 2014: reflecting on 20 years of democracy!

SA FlagIt was the interview with a Cape Argus reporter on Friday that made me reflect on how far not only our country, but also I personally and my business have come in the 20 years since we voted on 27 April 1994.  The Argus interview was focused on the progress over the past 20 years I have seen personally, business-wise, and politically.

My very first feedback to reporter Dylan was that 1994 was the first and only time that I was allowed to vote, having a German passport.  I do not recall how it was possible for all foreigners (by passport) to be allowed to vote, when it has never been allowed before nor since then.  I loved standing in a queue somewhere in Sea Point, being part of the exciting day that would change our country forever, and how much goodwill there was amongst South Africans whilst waiting patiently in the queues. Little did we know that the rest of the world waited anxiously for the outcome of the election, fully expecting a revolution to take place, unbeknown to us residents, with thanks to the SABC in ‘protecting’ us from this world scenario.

I moved to Cape Town in 1990, and transferred my marketing research consultancy Relationship Marketing from Johannesburg, changing its emphasis to Public Relations for food clients such as Baker Street Snacks, Bonnita (now Parmalat), Aylesbury, and more.  The late John Harrison was a favourite client when he was GM of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.  Even Mark Shuttleworth was a client, before he became famous for selling his Continue reading →

2013: looking back on a tough year, with some highlights!

2013Today ends one of the less nice years, and the number 13 in it should have been a warning of  how bad it could become.  While it has many negative associations, it also was  a year of highlights, from our perspective.

For me personally the year was overshadowed by the passing of my father, and while I was lucky to have him in my life for such a long time, reaching the ripe old age of 97, it still was a shock when he went in April.  He brought our family to South Africa, and specifically to the Cape, for which I will be eternally grateful.   He helped shape my interest in the business world, and took a keen interest in my Market Research, Public Relations, and hospitality careers.   Added to this was the further loss of our beloved Madiba, who passed away on 5 December, a shock when it happened, despite one knowing that it was just a matter of time.    It felt like a double whammy loss year.  Heaven has gained two truly great gentlemen.

2013 has had some positive aspects: we celebrated the fifth anniversary of our Blog, well established and with more than 30000 unique readers per month.  We thank our loyal readers and commenters, as well as the Public Relations companies which feed us with up to date information and invite us to launches, particularly in the wine industry.  We particularly commend Waterford Communications for its professionalism in dealing with us as friends as well as writers, never taking any coverage for granted, always being willing to assist with more information, having a knack for choosing excellent weather days for client functions, and saying ‘thank you‘ for coverage received, a rare treat! The PR company leads an industry plagued by poor writers, who bombard one with media releases (often being irrelevant), repeating information already written about, and demanding proof of coverage granted to the client brand! Continue reading →

Banning alcohol marketing will cost jobs, unlikely to reduce drinking! What about Social Media?

Amstel deliveryThe government appears determined to proceed with the ban on alcohol advertising, something it has threatened for some years now, in a bid to reduce the drinking of alcohol, the target being a 20% reduction within the next seven years, reports The Times.  The proposal to ban such advertising was approved by a committee on substance abuse, consisting of a number of Ministers, earlier this week, and now the Minister of Health wants to present it to a Cabinet committee and then to Cabinet itself for approval.

The first step in the alcohol marketing ban, as contained in a draft ‘Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill’ was the approval granted by a committee of Ministers of Sports (Fikile Mbalula), Trade and Industry (Rob Davies), Transport (Dipuo Peters), and Social Development (Bathabile Dlamini).  The public, the wine and other alcoholic beverages industries, and the Continue reading →

Friends and family top tourism influencers, Social Media least effective!

The results of a World Independent Hotels Promotion survey of 22000 guests found that Past Guests, being friends and family, have the greatest influence in the choice of accommodation when travelling, and that Social Media has the lowest influence, reports Tnooz.com.

The survey was conducted off-line between April – June this year, and found that 23% of American hotel guests rely on recommendations from friends and family in their choice of holiday accommodation, followed by Online Travel Agencies at 21%, TripAdvisor at 18%, and Return Guests at 12%.  Travel agents, magazine ads and articles, Facebook, Blogs, Travel Guides, and Twitter had a minimal influence, each of these influencers scoring below 3%.  The degree of influence has barely changed in the past twelve months.

The minimal role of Social Media Marketing in influencing accommodation choice is ascribed to the ‘low level of ROI’, and therefore plays more of a Public Relations role to communicate with current and potential guests. Yet accommodation information and experiences shared on Social Media, such as holiday photographs posted on Facebook and/or Twitter, may have a subliminal influence on accommodation selection.

One can suspect that the choice of restaurants to eat at whilst on holiday may have similar influence levels as for accommodation, with the exception of Travel Agents, with perhaps a lower influence of TripAdvisor in shaping the restaurant choice and a higher influence of Social Media.

The survey also raises the role of TripAdvisor, and the unbalanced picture it represents about establishments, given that satisfied guests will tell others and will write nice messages in the establishments’ guest books or sent directly to the hotel by e-mail, and that dissatisfied guests will write on TripAdvisor, without a reply to the allegations posted from the establishment in the main.

The results of the survey also raise the question about Cape Town Tourism’s current nonsensical Facebook profile 5 day holiday promotion, being on a Social Media Marketing platform, but also for its content.  We registered for the promotion, and received some suggestions of places to visit and eat at. The communication via e-mail and Facebook notifications stopped abruptly (presumably after five days), and there has been no follow-up since then to check the interest in booking a holiday to Cape Town!

At the end of the day, the strong influence of Friends and Family shows that every accommodation establishment and hospitality service provider must strive to make their guests as happy as possible during their interaction with the establishment.  Word of mouth from satisfied guests is free, the best marketing tool one could wish for!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage