It is necessary to look at trends and predictions, but the most critical question for any business during these unprecedented times should be, “why are you here?” In other words, what is your purpose? People are looking more and more towards companies to solve global issues, not governments or even non-profits.
By continuing to ask “why” at the centre of your operations, you will amplify your purpose. Profits and purpose are starting to be linked more closely together. As such, business decisions require policies and practices that are fundamentally aligned.
Digital, mobile, and social media has become an indispensable part of everyday life. According to dataportal.com, more than 4.5 billion people are using the internet. Social media users have surpassed 3.8 billion people.
Nearly 60% of the world’s population is online, spending more than two hours daily across social media platforms. Social media users in Africa reached 217.5 million, representing a 16% penetration. Internet users in Africa are now more than 453 million representing a 34% penetration.
Africa’s mobile phone boom
Africa has one of the fastest-growing penetrations of mobile subscribers, with 1.08 billion active mobile users. According to Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, digital trade is the next big thing in Africa.
“First, digital trade is possible through mobile phones. People can access distant markets using your mobile phone. I identified young people and women in trade as segments of society that we must bring with us to benefit from the implementation of this agreement,” he argues.
This growth provides opportunities for business in Africa to increase social media users and digital ad spending. Marketers also need to take note of the significant increase in internet marketing.
The question is how effectively and how fast are African businesses adapting to the digital transformation. Companies need to combine creative digital capabilities with digital advertising, marketing strategies and outstanding technical expertise. Investing in upskilling, especially sales and marketing teams, to operate effectively in the digital sphere is key to achieving this goal.
Data and new trends
We live in a data-driven world that is customer-centric, where profits are closely linked to customer service initiatives. Data is the new advertising and marketing currency. Analytics put consumer behaviour and habits at your fingertips.
This shift has identified the need to institutionalize communication, planning, and sharing of information across marketing, digital, IT teams, or staff. The core of social media marketing lies in storytelling, not product promotion.
Formats such as short videos, pictures, picture slides, short, creative and engaging text and infographics are most effective. Video messaging has increased dramatically with Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram, to name but a few.
Other trends are micro and macro social media influences that influence e-commerce, boosts in TV co-viewing, and video on demand, blogging, and vlogging continue to proliferate, driven by user-generated content. Short-form online entertainment, streaming services and virtual events are also growing.
Branded digital experiences
According to Gartner Peer Insights, by 2023, 60% of companies that pivoted to virtual events will incorporate real-time or real-space experiences into their virtual events with live streaming, synchronous experiences or virtual simultaneity.
This creates the opportunity for marketers to create branded digital experiences. By 2023, 25% of organizations will integrate marketing, sales and customer experience into a single function. By 2024, 30% of large organizations will identify content generation services for user-generated content as a priority.
Storytelling that matters
Regardless of the digital business model you choose; multi-sided platform, subscription, user-generated content model, online education or instant news model to name a few, addressing your audience needs has to be at the heart of what drives your content and marketing.
Storytelling matters in digital marketing, and content is still king. The most important thing is to create engagement. Like Amazon, big brands have shifted their focus to building a relationship between the customer and the brand for long-term success.
In addition, we have seen the success of emphatic or compassionate marketing by big brands.
In conclusion, we can predict that digital technology and innovation will continue to grow exponentially.
Mohammed Hammie is not your typical reporter. In 2019, the young Tanzanian swapped from being a regular journalist to media for community empowerment and has since specialised in telling stories about the human right to access clean drinking water, particularly in rural areas.
The theses dwelt on thematic areas in Kenya’s media landscape, from solutions journalism, content analysis of the coverage of Covid-19 as well as data smog in the newsrooms, which the findings show is having a devastating effect on print journalists.
The study calls for solutions to structural, political, and societal conditions that jeopardize the future of media as a viable business and a source of high-quality journalism in East Africa
There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has altered our lives in unimaginable ways. Economies are bleeding. It has disrupted learning; millions have lost their jobs, while many others contend with reduced salaries. Yet, amidst the chaos and disruption, journalists – also hugely affected – have remained steadfast to their cause to tell stories of the pandemic. Some of them narrated their experiences to EAST site’s writer Isaac Swila.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the technological shifts have caused severe consequences to today’s press. However, Prof George Nyabuga says the writing has long been on the wall, yet many chose to bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.
Ever since 170 journalists from Kenya’s Standard Group were made redundant in 2020, media experts argue that convergence of business processes in the media industry is an inevitable and necessary step. The term convergence has dominated media houses for years. But what does it mean and why is it crucial for the future of journalism in the region?
The digital and social media experience has disrupted the media industry in unprecedented ways. Gone are the days when media houses could solely rely on revenues generated from the sale of content, for example, newspapers. Kenya’s Standard Media Group understood the need to adapt to the ‘new digital newsroom’ and embarked on a three-year- restructuring programme, but the change is not without challenges as Peter Oduor found out
Kenya’s leading newspapers – The Nation, Star, and The Standard, recently set up paywalls on their online content. Though some readers are complaining, the uptake has been impressive. Senior editors who spoke to EAST Site’s writer, Isaac Swila, insist the paywall is the future.
What do Kenya’s post-election violence, Sudan’s protests that toppled President Omar al-Bashir, and the Arab Spring have in common? The audience played a crucial role in informing the world where journalists were restricted in one way or the other. Today, direct audience engagement in the news cycle has brought far-reaching changes to the media industry.
The belief that journalism can make the world a better place is why the Media Challenge Initiative exists. This aspiration has become more evident during Covid-19, where journalists are at the frontlines of fighting the pandemic across the globe.
Ten years ago, an ambitious and daring Giles Muhame started an online platform at Makerere University. The platform’s main idea was to bring news in real-time. Initially, the online platform struggled as the audience was still rigid, preferring traditional modes of news consumption such as radio, print, and television.
Kenya’s media still struggles with undue political interference as evidenced by sporadic harassment from government, coupled with economic constraints that have recently been amplified by the effects of the ongoing global pandemic
Debunk Media, a platform for explanatory journalism wants young Africans to understand how big events in their environments affect them and why those events are important to them… It wants to show them the little dots and the invisible lines that join these events.
The changing dimensions and presentation of the challenges facing women in the newsroom and the media as a whole call for a dynamic approach by women, gender and general human rights activists.
Almost all newsrooms, big and small, have had their operations severely affected by the devastating disruption wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic leading to loss of hundreds of jobs. Worse still, revenue sources for broadcast and print publications have shrunk as businesses collapse.
Job cuts, pay cuts, content reduction and closures – that is what many media outlets are currently facing. Some blame digitalization and the coronavirus pandemic. But could it be that they got their priorities wrong in the first place?
Freedom of the media is the cornerstone of a just and democratic society to promote socio-economic and political developments even though Eastern African countries fashion the independence for the sake of complying with international obligations.
The state of the media in Uganda has been the subject of several studies and commentaries. Whether critical or favourable, all attempts to analyze the health of journalism in the country tend to coalesce over its contradictions.
Journalists and the news media organisations in East Africa are today confronted with unprecedented economic and market challenges, increasing distrust, denigration of the journalistic work, and new forms of digital repression exacerbated by Covid-19.
In open societies where democracy flourish, the media plays a critical watchdog role by not only putting into check but also questioning the excesses of the government. Sadly, in Tanzanian media space these pillars seem to lack.
While solutions journalism as a news philosophy presents many opportunities for the strengthening of journalism practice in Kenya and by extension Africa; it is certainly not a quick fix.
Just like New York Times adjusted to digital disruption, Covid-19 has presented an opportunity for local media houses to analyze the emerging trends and audience behaviour to come up with innovative ways of generating revenues.