Survey shows print prevails in retail

ImageWhile many more shoppers decided to try online shopping over the festive season in 2012 than did the previous year, it seems that good old paper catalogues may still be the way to the consumer’s heart. Take a look at the article below, brought to you by MediaPost:

Paper Print Prevails For Purchases

According to a recent Baynote study with the e-tailing group, analyzing consumer behavior across various retail channels during the 2012 holiday season, paper catalogs influenced twice as many consumers as both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases. Paper catalogs influenced 81.9% more in-store purchases and 42.9% more online purchases than Facebook. Social platforms were most influential to consumers between the ages of 25 and 34, while paper catalogs were most influential among consumers 45 years and older.

Dan Darnell, VP of Marketing, Baynote, opines that “… as the lines between (social and print) start to blur… all forms of marketing… is key to creating a seamless experience across (media and generational) touch points… ”

The 3rd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey. was designed to gain insight into consumer behavior and key buying influencers across various retail channels, including physical stores, eCommerce websites, social networks, tablets and mobile devices. The influence of social media platforms on holiday shoppers paled in comparison to the time-tested paper catalog, concludes the report.

Consumer preference for tablets was most pronounced when browsing websites in search of products to purchase; while 40% of tablet owners (or 21.9% of all respondents) used their device for browsing, only 28.4% used their smartphone. The study also found that consumers are starting to rely more heavily on tablets to perform tasks typically associated with smartphones such as conducting product research in stores and searching for coupons.

According to Darnell, “… tablets may be the dominant mobile shopping tool for consumers from their couch or in the store for the foreseeable future… ”

23% of respondents made at least one purchase using a mobile app on either their smartphone or tablet. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 were most likely to make a purchase using a mobile app, with an average of 32% doing so. Conversely, consumers 45 and older were least likely, with an average of 14.1% using an app to make a purchase.
Online marketing had a greater influence on online purchases than in-store purchases, though the difference was minor. Online ratings and reviews influenced 24.1% of in-store purchases while influencing 32.9% of online purchases. Twitter proved more influential for in-store purchases while Facebook and Pinterest were more influential for online purchases.

Darnell said, “… Consumers are increasingly multi-device and multi-channel as they browse and buy… “

Consumer concerns over privacy did not significantly alter buying behavior. The survey found:
•    64.5% of respondents were concerned with privacy when using a smartphone
•    55.3% with personal computers
•    42.1% with tablets.  
Only 15.3% of respondents abandoned their smartphones due to privacy concerns:
•    12.3% abandoned their personal computer
•    10.7% abandoned their tablet

The survey was administered to 1,000 consumers from Cyber Monday to Dec. 5, 2012. All respondents owned smartphones, and 54.6% owned tablets and were equally divided between male and female respondents. Only consumers who made four or more purchases and spent over $250 completed the survey.

For more detailed analysis of the data, visit Baynote here.
This article republished with kind permission of MediaPost


Trusting your PR company with your reputation


Staff Writer, Letsema Communications

As we look at trends that could well mould the way we, as communications and public relations professionals, do things in 2013, it’s important to ensure that we continue to focus on value for our clients.

The Melbourne Mandate – a call to action for new areas of value in public relations and communication management – was released at the World Public Relations Forum in November 2012 and outlines the responsibilities that form part of what we do in our business. Among other things, it states that public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to:

1. Shape organisational character by enhancing, maintaining and protecting the organisation’s authenticity – its reputation for consistently communicating truth and meriting trust.
2. Be guardians of the organisation’s character and values by providing feedback to the organisation on how this character is being judged and received, and communicating the character to stakeholders.
3. Ensure organisational values guide decisions and actions internally, and that externally they are recognised and understood by stakeholders.
4. Evaluate the organisation against those values by monitoring stakeholder views and discussions about the organisation.
5. Help leaders to uphold and communicate those values to inspire stakeholders to follow, support, or change behaviour.
6. Help leaders understand where they need to change, and ensure they are equipped to be effective communicators and to embrace communication responsibilities.
7. Work with senior managers, human resource professionals and other management functions to ensure that structures, processes and ways of working reflect the claimed organisational character and values.
8. Research and create initiatives that bring the culture to life, recommending the most appropriate communication channels, content and tone.

Key to carrying out this mandate on behalf of our clients is, we believe, building a good relationship with the client. This requires trust – which can only be built over a period of time and with the input of both the client and the PR professional.

It’s all about reputation . . .

In choosing a PR company to represent them, clients are effectively trusting that company with their reputation, across all forms of media. Just as an advertising agency ensures the client’s branding is consistent throughout every campaign, so the communications professional must ensure that the client’s messaging and values are consistent in every PR initiative.

To do this, PR companies must understand the culture and values of the companies they represent and ensure that every staff member who has anything to do with that client’s account is briefed accordingly. The PR professional is, essentially, a spokesperson for the client and should consider themselves a part of that client’s company.

While client-sign off is a vital part of all campaigns, it isn’t always possible with social media – especially where a customer has an issue with the client and demands an answer quickly. Here, clients must trust that their PR professional is going to deal with the situation with their best interest at heart and protect their reputation.

It’s a difficult arena for most clients to grasp (or let go of!), but public relations professionals proficient in reputation management have the experience required to deal with things “on the fly”. A good PR company should already have gone through a “crisis management scenario” with you, and discussed all eventualities.

The Big Trend for 2013 (and way into the future) is going to continue to be online communications, with more and more companies using social media and apps to their advantage. PR companies that stick to the mandate listed above across all platforms will ensure their clients get the most out of all communications, building trust with clients and client’s clients as they go!

Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2013 for all.

Visit our website or talk to us on +27 (0)11 300 6400; Email:

Tshepang: Place of hope where children deserve a chance . . .

The Tshepang Programme is an after-school care programme located in the Princess informal settlement in Roodepoort, Johannesburg. It was established by Susan Rammekwa, a previous programme director at the Department of Health and Social Services and someone who is passionate about making a difference in the community.

Touched by the needs of the children and the families living in Princess, Susan founded Tshepang (meaning “place of hope”) in 2006. Her aim was to provide the children (and the greater community) with hope and a place of refuge from the daunting social challenges they were faced with every day: unemployment, HIV/Aids and crime, among others.

She wanted to create a “safe” space where these children could grow and play – and be children. Above all, she wanted to create a support structure where they would be able to go to school and do their homework. In this way, she was confident she would give them a means to escape the cycle of poverty and potentially be able to create better futures for themselves.

The programme teaches orphaned and/or vulnerable primary school children basic literacy, numeracy and life-skills. They are provided with a meal daily which, for many, is their only meal for the day. The children are taken to school in the morning and return to the centre in the afternoon where they are assisted with their homework. They return home in the evenings.

Tshepang is currently caring for over 300 children and supporting 11 child-headed households, providing for their every need. This year is a milestone year for the centre in that its first group of learners will be matriculating in just a few months’ time.

Tshepang is a registered non-profit organisation. It relies on the very little government funding received to pay small salaries to its staff – many of whom are volunteers. Private donations of both cash and goods typically sustain the programme.

Apart from caring from the children, Tshepang also runs a soup kitchen twice weekly and has set up a sewing group; a beading workshop; started a bakery and have a vegetable garden which supplies its kitchen. All of these projects have been initiated so as to generate sustainable employment in the area.

NPO NUMBER: 049-660 PBO NUMBER: 930-023-236

Bank Details
Account name: Tshepang Programme
Bank: Nedbank
Branch: Fourways
Branch Code: 16840500
Account Number: 1034454889
Reference: <your name> Shoes
Swift Code: NEDSZAJJ

Please send your proof of payment to Lilian at Letsema Holdings:
Fax: +27 11 300 6410

Five online courtesies

Guest Blogger, Letsema Communications

With communications being largely online these days, it’s important for us to remember some common courtesies to afford people. Just because it’s “online”, doesn’t mean we can’t have “cyber manners”! Here are some courtesies (some tongue in cheek, others not) you may want to observe when dealing with others online:

1. Don’t interrupt: Just as we try not to interrupt someone mid-sentence with something that has no bearing on the conversation (oh look, shiny things . . .), it’s considered in bad form to interrupt a thread online with something totally unrelated. For example, big discussion happening about climate change or poverty eradication on Facebook and someone pops up and says, “Hi – are we still going out for tea later?” Don’t be that someone . . .

2. Mobile phones have an off button: If you’re in a meeting, turn your phone off or have it on “silent” and forward the call to answering. That way, if someone tries to get hold of you, you will get a message and avoid any issues arising. Phones ringing in meetings, places of worship, hospitals, during dinner, etc  is . . . well,  just not very considerate. (It’s also off-putting for someone addressing the meeting to see you checking your phone every few minutes . . .)

3. Respond: Any social media manager worth his or her salt will respond (hopefully in under an hour) to messages left on Facebook or Twitter, and – in the same way – people genuinely do expect a response when they e-mail/text you. Especially if the message has to do with business, deadlines, finances and other things that may be career- or life-changing.

4. Tardiness: Mobile communications are not a “get out of jail free” card. If you have a meeting with someone and are running late for good reason, phone and let them know. But cancelling a meeting by text message 15 minutes before it’s due to happen is not a great reflection on you or the company you represent.

5. Excuses: Many years ago a certain printing company (which shall remain nameless) in downtown Johannesburg (on a busy road, just off the highway) claimed to have not been able to deliver an urgent job because “a horse died in our driveway and we can’t get the delivery vehicle past it”. No, really . . . The cyber equivalent of that is “My battery died JUST as I was about to call you”; “The dog ate my laptop”; and “I didn’t have a SINGLE minute to send you a message”. Today we have mobile phones, land lines, tablets, laptops, 3G, WiFi, ADSL, e-mail, text messaging, Whatsapp (and others), Facebook, Twitter and chargers that work in the car. And if you haven’t got the seventeen seconds it takes to send a message saying, “In a meeting. Speak later”, it may be time to take that holiday at the coast. But you’ll have to stop and make that call . . .

There you have it – five little ways you could thrill your clients, bosses and friends!

Integration: Key to truly effective marketing & communication?

By Lorrine Araujo, managing director, Letsema Communications

A recent online survey, conducted by Avidan Strategies and published by Forbes, questioned some 1,900 US business leaders in marketing, media and procurement – and revealed the dim view they take of agencies’ performance.

The report says that corporate America is questioning the return on their advertising investment and that agencies continue to struggle to prove their value. Here’s how it reads: “There is an impatience for efficiency and effectiveness, and there are higher expectations of accountability. The proliferation of media choices has brought about a fragmented advertising marketplace as well. Many clients have upwards of 20 agencies and marketing service firms, creating rosters of ‘microspecialist’ agencies. As specialisation continues there is a need for coordination through integration.”

There’s the rub: Integration. With ad agencies, PR professionals, social media companies and the rest of a brand or company’s “marketing arsenal” all promising a certain ROI for their services, shouldn’t each group be represented at client strategy meetings? Surely integrating all of these services would mean a stronger message reaching the market? And, if that’s true, how do we go about achieving integration of sometimes diverse functions? Continue reading

Project Cinderella: You could be a Prince(ess) for just R200!

Project Cinderella is a school shoe drive for about 300 children at the Tshepang Day Care Centre near Johannesburg.  Letsema Communications and Switch are asking as many people as possible to donate about R200 each towards a pair of shoes, a bag and some basic stationery to get these little ones excited and ready for school next year.

If you can help – even with the smallest donation – please send a mail to Lorrine at . . . Imagine the joy of having school shoes in January 2013!

Why social media isn’t working for you . . .

By Dianne Bayley, Guest Blogger

The recently-published South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study from World Wide Worx and information analysts Fuseware says that “95% of major corporations surveyed have some form of social media strategy aimed at consumers. However, only 51% rate their efforts on Facebook as effective – and only 33% believe they are effective on Twitter”. (See article from

Here’s why . . .
Continue reading