08.22.19

How to ace the year-end function

BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ
Year-end functions, while fun, can bring about a lot of stress. There is so much pressure to get it right, to please everyone and to make sure that everyone invited feels celebrated. No one wants a boring run-of-the-mill year-end lunch that doesn’t have any unique element of fun to it. So, the stress in making it all happen can often feel overwhelming.
 
Below are five tips from Dominique Van Wezop, Food & Beverage Operations Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront on how best to ensure that your upcoming year-end party is an event to remember for all the right reasons.
 
The venue needs to be carefully considered
Probably one of the most important decisions to be taken is where to host your year-end bash. When the designated planner is considering venues, they should consider the fact that the venue should ideally be desirable and employees need to feel as though they are being spoilt. Also, consider a venue that offers up something pretty, unique or interesting to look at. Our hotel, for example, offers the best location in Cape Town with breath-taking views of the ocean and offers so many Instagrammable moments.
 
Make it different to the usual events
Almost every business in the country will be doing a year-end and, let’s be honest, we all discuss what our company arranged to see who had the best event. Make the event memorable by adding something unique to the day. At Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, we love looking into different ways to make special events truly memorable. We have a canapé class that can take between eight and 16 guests. During this class guests learn how to plate delicious canapes by our chef in a competition with their peers. Canapés are then served along with drinks at the end. We can also create a bespoke event with cocktail mixology stations or spa treatments amongst other options we can tailor. Do some research and find out about things such as interactive stations, live demonstrations and the like to help you find inspiration that works for your business, your team and overall company culture.
 
Have a fun theme
Most people love themed parties. The opportunity to dress up as something or someone completely out of character is just very appealing to most. If you can, choose a fun theme for the day to get people talking and excited about the event ahead of time. Then, try to fashion some of the food, drinks and decor into this theme ask us how we can help
 
Plan some engaging entertainment or activity 
Entertainment or an activity can make an event, make it memorable for them and thank them for a year of hard work.. Get the team to engage with each other, to interact and unwind.  Keep in mind the type of vibe that you want the event to have, be it a swing band at a formal dinner, the sound of the ocean for lunch, interactive team build or relaxing spa days.
 
Give some thought to the gifts
If you are doing party favours or year-end gifts from the company, then this is one that needs some careful thought. Think of something that most people will find value in, or something that people really like, but will seldom ever buy for themselves.
08.21.19

Augmented reality gives new life to wine marketing

BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

German-based Vollherbst LABELS, a 98-year-old premium label printer and fourth-generation family business, has launched LABELinmotion – a digital application brand aiming to disrupt the traditional product labelling industry. LABELinmotion is a sub-brand of and funded from Vollherbst LABELS innovations and marketing budget, which has one single goal: launching one major inspiration or innovation every year.

Launching LABELinmotion

The first step was to design the concept and the brand of its augmented reality app. Vollherbst developed the strategy together with its employees aged 18 to 35 – the main age group targeted by augmented reality applications. After two brainstorm sessions, the company had a concept that was promising enough for it to develop and launch.

“Programming the app and its first augmented reality experience (a ‘lightbulb-example’ where a lightbulb was flashing and finally bursting) was the second step, which was surprisingly easy,” says Vollherbst, who believes that augmented reality is far less complicated than one might think. “The third and (up to now) final step was to bring it to the market and convince clients to give it a try.” The company won the attention of KWV, one of the world’s most admired wine brands and the most admired South African wine brand, as its first partner to develop an augmented reality experience. This also gave LABELinmotion global attention as the Cathedral Cellar brand it was working on is marketed internationally.  “Since then, we have launched two more augmented reality experiences on top of our initial showcase project,” Vollherbst says. “One of them was for Germany-based winery Michel Schneider, and features a lion jumping out of the label and telling jokes!”

Storytelling in action

LABELinmotion is now working with three clients and in talks with more companies that will hopefully join soon. Every additional augmented reality experience in LABELinmotion helps the current users to raise awareness of their own experience as all of them are presented in the app. Vollherbst believes that this is a great network effect “where all the LABELinmotion clients are playing together on an online consumer platform”. 

“LABELinmotion and augmented reality offer us a fantastic new way to tell a story emotionally and excitingly at the point of sales as well as at the point of consumption,” he says. “Brands can use multimedia like videos, sounds, and interactions on their websites and social media. However, in today’s fast-paced world, the way for the consumer to get to these channels is relatively long and there is not necessarily a direct link to the product.”

In contrast, by scanning the label with LABELinmotion, and having the brand experience right on the product, there is no way brands lose their customers through distraction or interruption. That’s why Vollherbst believes that the possibility to interact with consumers has never been as great as it is now with augmented reality labels.

“We should not forget that everything that can be digitalised in the future will be digitalised in the future,” he says. “The sooner we learn how the digital space works and the quicker we learn to understand consumer behaviour in the digital world, the better a brand will perform in the long term. It will be a key success factor to win new customer segments – the Generation Y and Z – especially in the wine business.”

An attractive future

Vollherbst believes that the printing company is still part of a ‘traditional industry’ that focuses on printing and embellishing paper that is glued onto a product, be it a wine bottle or a honey dispenser. And while none of that has changed in recent years, he finds it fascinating to see how entire industries are being disrupted by digitalisation and platform strategies, from Uber in the passenger transportation industry to Netflix in the entertainment industry. 

“I see concepts like that as an opportunity in the label business as well, but also think that to date in our business model it is still crucial to have direct interaction and personal consulting with our clients,” he says. “That’s why it is so important to not only watch but take part in developments like augmented reality labels and innovative print techniques.”

While customers can’t get this from the shelf as a standard, Vollherbst can imagine a day when things might change. “One day there might not be printed papers on bottles anymore,” he says. “Maybe we will 3D-print bottles with integrated labels? I’m sure this will take a lot of years but if it ever happens, we want to keep playing that game and offer our clients what we can do best: a beautiful dress that makes their products more attractive.”

Stand a chance to win a bottle of Cathederal Cellar wine by entering the competition on Fast Company SA’s Facebook page. T&C’s apply. 


08.20.19

IBM predicts the next stage of human evolution

BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

We have been acclimatised to the concept of artificial intelligence (AI), and heard the hype about the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR):  Now prepare for the next stage – when advanced AI meets 4IR to enable the always smart, always learning, ubiquitous computing of the future. Combining Internet of Things (IoT), a plethora of smart new devices and sensors, and a hyper-connected high-speed global network, 4IR is already transforming business models, and analysts expect the pace of 4IR-driven change to accelerate. By fully integrating now-mature AI into the mix, the world will gain computing that impacts every facet of business, work and daily life, and crucially – keeps getting better at it.

While IBM pioneered AI in the form of Watson several years ago, many industries were slow to adopt – in many cases, because they simply were not sure where and how to apply these novel technologies, and whether they would deliver ROI. In fact, a 2018 study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group found just under 20 percent of companies could be considered pioneers in AI adoption. But IBM researchers expect AI adoption to pick up in enterprise this year, beginning in areas such as customer service. AI-enabled chatbots are now taking over some of the resource-intensive work of dealing with customer queries, and doing such a good job of it that up to 69 percent of consumers now prefer to deal with chatbots for quick communications with brands.

Businesses in Africa are also embracing AI in financial services, for predictive maintenance, to support cyber security and for market analysis and research. But the AI spike is just beginning. In a hyper-connected environment where everyone and everything is connected, AI’s true potential will begin to be realised. Everyone and everything will transmit vast amounts of big data that was never before available for analysis and forecast. The world will know where and how everyone and everything interacted, what factors impacted on their movements and behaviours, and therefore – how to simplify and improve these processes and what they are likely to do next. With advanced AI in the mix, systems will automatically make the improvements necessary for better health and safety, productivity and outcomes. It has the potential to dramatically improve food production, revolutionise health care, end manual labour and make life safer, cleaner and better for everyone.  4IR underpinned by advanced AI is set to change the way people exist so profoundly that it might be seen as the next phase of evolution – where man and machine merge.

Revolutionary change in just 5 years
4IR is already underway: IBM Research’s annual “5 in 5” technology predictions assess the very real AI-enabled innovations emerging across the world, and their potential to impact all facets of life. Each year, we showcase some of the biggest breakthroughs coming out of IBM Research’s global labs – 5 technologies that we believe will fundamentally reshape business and society in the next five years. 5 in 5 reveals that within the next 5 years, radical recycling processes will transform plastic waste disposal and recycling, AI sensors will detect pathogens in food, cheap monitors will allow for food safety tracking across the supply chain, and digital twinning will support better agricultural yields at lower cost.

4IR underpinned by cloud
4IR, incorporating Blockchain and powered by cloud and edge computing, are now transforming the way we live and work in much the same way that the advent of the Internet, PCs and mobile phones did in previous decades. Gartner states that Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Quantum Computing are the top strategic technology trends for 2019, which will have an impact and transform industries through 2023.  Recognising this, organisations are expected to change their cloud strategy focus from the low-end infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) opportunities to focus instead on extracting valuable data from their business processes; integrating data across the enterprise and with external data sets; and applying AI, blockchain and analytics technologies to that data. 

In future, as people and objects become increasingly connected, we will see organisations across all sectors exploring new ways to harness these connections and the resulting data, to create goods, services, workplaces and environments that were once only the realm of science fiction. We are understanding that businesses developing and wanting to use these powerful new technologies have an obligation to guide those innovations in ways people can trust and that foster broad economic prosperity. Therefore, the 4IR has encompassed the power to transform many spheres of our daily lives, unleash new journeys of discovery and push new boundaries in Africa and across the world.

 

The 5% rule, and other learnings from Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa

BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ
Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa program has graduated 35 startups since it kicked off in early 2018 – five of them South African. At a dinner hosted by Google recently, the South African alumni sat down with media to discuss their experiences in the accelerator, mentorship, and life after Launchpad.
One of the five South African companies to go through the program, Pineapple, shared its learnings on valuing a startup in Africa. Founder Marnus van Heerden says the program gave Pineapple insight into how startups should be valuing themselves, reflecting that South African companies tend to value themselves beyond the 5% acquisition threshold of the largest organisations in any given field. He argues that if a startup is going to be bought, the company doing the buying will look to spend a maximum of 5% of its overall value and/or market share in that space. The program, van Heerden says, helped give Pineapple a global perspective on this important issue. 
 
For most startups, a standout part of participating in the Google Launchpad Africa classes was working with mentors, not only because of the global nature of the mentors, but because the accelerator takes a holistic approach and looks at all aspects of the start up – from people, to tech, to business processes. 
 
As Preeva team member Améry Winter put it: “We thought we had a tech business and needed to solve our tech problems. After the first few days at Launchpad we were asking if we actually had a viable business at all. Going through the program and working with our mentors helped us realise the problems we had weren’t tech problems, they were business problems, and as a result we’ve been able to fix these issues and grow.” 
 
Voyc.ai founder Lethabo Motsoaledi commented that the input the mentors provided was invaluable to her business as well. She says her company was able to get actionable feedback from mentors and implement it immediately. 
The five South African companies that have graduated so far operate in the agritech (swiftVEE), fintech (Pineapple), edutech (Preeva and Zomila) and customer experience (Voyc.ai) sectors. Aside from the tech mentorship, they all agreed the program enabled them to connect with other entrepreneurs who could share expertise and market insights, and potentially facilitate access to other African markets as well. 
 
Since graduating, Pineapple has expanded its product offering in South Africa and has spent the last few months working with a global partner to offer its services in the US. Voyc.ai is currently in public beta, and is working with 11 large call centres in South Africa. SwiftVee has sold the first bulls online in South Africa using streaming video Webcast, and just recently won an award from the FAO (United Nations) this year as the best E-Agriculture Platform. The company has also just completed a funding round.
 
Google’s first regionally-based startup accelerator program, Launchpad Accelerator Africa runs out of a dedicated space in Lagos. Announced in 2017, Google has committed to training 60 African startups over 3 years, representing over $3-million in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month programme.
 
08.19.19

Unwanted Twitter DMs may soon be almost unnoticeable

BY Fast Company 1 MINUTE READ

If people keep sliding into your DMs with unique yet uninvited offers of sexual acts that are not physically possible, relentless photos of Ed Sheeran, and opportunities to fund new ventures from Nigerian princes, Twitter has some good news. The social media site is testing a small tweak to make unsolicited, uninvited DMs harder to see.

“Unwanted messages aren’t fun,” read a tweet announcing the test. “So we’re testing a filter in your DM requests to keep those out of sight, out of mind.”

Of course, you can turn off open DMs altogether, but people have legitimate reasons for wanting them open without fielding endless messages from trolls, ardently opinionated strangers, and eager publicists. Essentially, this test feature adds a new destination for those. Now, in addition to the standard “Messages” folder and the “Message Requests” folder, there will also be a brand-new “show” option within message requests that will reveal whatever messages the attention-seeking, desperate weirdos are trying to send you. The best part is that you never, ever need to click on that subfolder, and they will never, ever know.

It’s a small, mostly pointless step, but heck, we’ll take it.


Article originally published on fastcompany.com. 

08.15.19

Two Tone Global: a 100% Black Owned Agency becomes a member of the global Travel Consul

BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ
One of South Africa’s most cutting-edge integrated agencies has become the latest inductee into the prestigious Travel Consul, sealing its brand as a bona fide global leader in the travel and tourism communication industry.
Two Tone Global now boasts a strategic partnership with the Travel Consul, a world-wide network of best-in-class tourism marketing agencies and a member of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) Affiliate.
With experience that stretches over 18 years within the Advertising, Brand Marketing and Communication industries, Two Tone Global (TTG) has offered expertise in the FMCG, mobile, travel, and tourism sectors and has executed numerous through-the-line campaigns and projects throughout the world.
Now that the world is becoming firmly entrenched in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and technology plays an increasingly critical role in business, companies recognize that they need to accelerate the development of digital solutions to ensure they remain on the competitive vanguard. As such, TTG draws from its well of expertise and useful alliances with global partners to ensure that the agency is always in touch with cultural and business trends worldwide. These relationships and partnerships allow the agency true agility to execute at a drop of a hat!
“It is with great pleasure that I announce Two Tone Global’s membership and affiliation with Travel Consul as our regional partners across Africa; key markets include SA, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. Our selection of Two Tone was not coincidental, as Travel Consul selection process for global partners are based on speciality and excellence within the Travel and tourism industry. Two Tone’s impressive international credentials and experience within the Travel and tourism sector, made it an easy decision to choose as Travel Consul’s African partners” said Al Merschen, President of Myriad Travel Marketing and Chairman of Travel Consul. 
 
As a member of this exclusive Travel Consul network, TTG will now have access to more than 600 highly qualified professionals, in 40 offices around the world, serving more than 450 tourism brand clients; ensuring a seamlessly unique offering and delivery to its own clients. 
Group CEO of Two Tone Global and TTG Investment Executive Director, Carlo Murison, applauded this high validation.
A true specialist in the African Brand Communications business landscape, Murison said: “Being a member of the Travel Counsel Group brings together deep skills in business and organisational strategy, product ideation, creative communication development and deployment, and organisational change management to help support clients through successful transformations.”
As a Marketing & Communications Industry Advisor for the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), Murison sees this induction as a win not just for TTG, but for “Brand Africa” as a whole. “This union will allow us to provide the very best travel communications program and portfolio strategies on which we’ll conceive, design, and build the next generation of travel and tourism globally,” he adds. 

Mantsho by Palesa Mokubung becomes first African designer label to collaborate with H&M

BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ

The highly anticipated Mantsho x H&M collection is finally here and will officially launch on August 15. In an astute business move, Mantsho by Palesa Mokubung was announced as the first African label to collaborate with giant retail brand, H&M in April this year. This collaboration fortifies the brand as a high-end localised retail player, fulfilling an otherwise vacant spot in the market as a cross between fast-fashion competitors such as Zara and other local couture labels. 

Mantsho x H&M is an exciting collection that celebrates the elegance and vibrancy of Africa with modern edgy designs created  for the stylish carefree woman. The range features flowy, easy-fitting cuts, frills and gathers in a range of colour palettes  from blues, browns and blacks, to hues of pink and amber reds. Afrocentric fashionable accessories which include shoes, earrings and a clutch bag complete the versatile collection. “This is my love letter to the world from Africa,” says Mantsho’s head of design, Palesa Mokubung. “I hope customers around  the world will enjoy the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand-out pieces from my last three collections.”

“Palesa’s creativity with colour, print and silhouettes is inspiring as she celebrates the female form through her designs which complement the female shape in a flattering and playful way. We are so excited to share this collection with our  customers across the globe,” says Pernilla Wohlfahrt, Assortment Manager for Collaborations and Special Collections. “This is my love letter to the world from Africa,” says Mantsho’s head of design, Palesa Mokubung. “I hope customers around  the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand-out pieces from my last three collections.”

“Palesa’s creativity with colour, print and silhouettes is inspiring as she celebrates the female form through her designs which complement the female shape in a flattering and playful way. We are so excited to share this collection with our customers across the globe,” says Pernilla. 

The Mantsho label, meaning ‘black is beautiful’ in Mokubung’s native Sesotho language, was established in 2004 and has since graced numerous runways including Greece, India, USA, Jamaica, Nigeria, Botswana and Senegal.

The Mantsho x H&M collection is now available at Sandton City,  V&A Waterfront, Mall of Africa,  Gateway Theatre of Shopping and  Canal Walk Shopping Centre. 

Images: Jerri Mokgofe and Bonolo Modise 
Article originally published on iol.co.za

9 tips for navigating online trading like a pro

BY Fast Company 1 MINUTE READ

The online trading economy in South Africa is massive. Commmunity website Gumtree has more than 700,000 live ads for goods and services alone – and it’s growing all the time. Gumtree SA GM-Director Claire Cobbledick says that although the vast majority of online sellers and buyers are genuine, it is important for everyone to be alert and aware. He suggests these 9 steps to help prevent fraud. 

1. Don’t open any suspicious website pop-ups.
2. Contact details are an important signal. Warning signs include bad spelling, a foreign phone number, unfamiliar e-mail service providers.
3. Use Gumtree’s chat facility during initial enquiries to avoid giving out your e-mail or cellphone address. However, if you are proceeding with a purchase or a sale, it’s essential for both sides to have cell phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses, and to check that they are valid and operational. 
4. Don’t be taken in by photos. Sometimes a scammer will pull images from elsewhere. Be very wary of low-grade, cropped or pixelated photos. If in doubt, ask the advertiser to send additional photos. If possible, inspect the item before paying to make sure it is in the promised condition. 
5. If the seller or buyer is pressurising for a quick transaction then be suspicious. Don’t be rushed into a deal without verifying.  
6. If the price is very cheap then there may well be a problem. A real cut-price bargain, without adequate explanation, should raise alarm bells.
7. Never release your banking details.
8. As a seller, do not send an item before receiving the money.
9. Make the online space safer for everyone by immediately reporting any suspicious posts or fraudulent acts. Gumtree investigates every report and blocks fraudulent traders and, in criminal cases, passes information to the police. 

08.14.19

Choosing your next tablet: Apple or Android for the win?

BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

Great news for tablet fans. With our busy on-the-go lifestyles, these nifty little devices are becoming more useful by the day. With each new generation of tablets being released, brands are cramming all sorts of exciting new technologies into their slim profiles, paving the way for a tablet revolution of note. While there used to be a time when laptops held distinct advantages over tablets in terms of processing power and specs, the gap between the two is shrinking rapidly. Unless you absolutely need the keyboard, a tablet can perform all the general functions that a laptop is used for just as well but in an even slimmer and more portable package.

Deciding on which tablet to invest in can be a mammoth task! PriceCheck recommends before checking out brands, first have a look at which operating system best suits your needs – Android or Apple? To help with the decision, here is a quick look at the pros and cons of each, and which tablets are good options within both choices.

APPLE IOS

Pros
The primary benefit of apple tablets is that the iOS ecosystem has been incredibly well integrated by Apple. There are also over a million apps available on the App Store, many of which have been optimised for the iPad’s larger screen and which provide quirky and useful functions. While there are loads of unique apps out there for tablets, Apple has done a superb job of making sure the apps in its store stand out.  iRig is a peripheral that lets you plug your guitar into your iPad to tune it, while the ION iCade is an arcade-box shaped case that converts your iPad into an old-school arcade game, without the need to feed it with R5 coins.The other key benefit to iOS is that due to its more restricted and regulated design environment the system is more stable and provides longevity to the software – for anyone who wants a simpler and more reliable user experience it’s a good pick.

Cons
The one problem with the more limited design and development environment with iOS is that it means you can’t customise features and settings of your apps quite as much. There’s a more pronounced control of the options within an app, so if you’re set on customising your apps to a serious degree then iOS devices might not be quite what you’re looking for.

ANDROID

Pros
The strengths of the Android development platform lie in its open development environment and the origins of the operating system. It was the first serious operating system for smartphones that prioritised user customisation, and it remains at the heart of the system. The idea is that whatever feature of an app you can imagine, you will be able to regulate and customise to your preference, giving you far greater control of your apps and how they notify you or how you use them. Of course, this also means there are plenty of unique apps available for tablets using Android. The other benefit of an Android device is that compared to iOS, they are cheaper by some margin, so for someone who just needs a usable tablet that can perform its key functions well, an Android device won’t require a massive investment.

Cons
The primary issue with the community-based development that is allowed on the Android platform is that development is less regulated, which translates to lower quality apps. While it isn’t necessarily true for larger apps from recognised developers, it’s possible for more independent developers to release sub-par apps that can create irregularities and inconsistencies for the operating system. This generally means your tablet will deteriorate in performance faster than an iOS device will, and that you’ll need to keep track of your apps to make sure they aren’t affecting your device badly.

08.13.19

#WomensMonth: Spotlighting inspirational women in social media

BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ

Kefilwe Mabote
Instagram: 
@kefilwe_mabote
Followers: 689K
Style influencer and content creator Kefilwe Mabote has carved out a dynamic digital footprint for herself – one that has forced to South Africa and the world to look up take note. With 689K followers on Instagram and counting, Kefilwe (affectionally dubbed as ’Kefiboo’ by fans) is the recipient of numerous awards, including SA Style Award for Social Media in 2017 and Glamour Digital Influencer of the Year in 2018. With her affinity for all things luxury, she has graced local magazine covers and TV screens, and fronted the campaigns of high end designer brands. Her content showcases a lifestyle of travel, opulence and aspiration – told through a lens of authentic South African flavour. With 180 projects currently under he belt, Kefilwe has proven influencer culture is here to stay. 

Mihlali Ndamase
Instagram: @mihlalii_n
Followers: 796K
From shooting makeup tutorial videos in her bedroom to making Hopper HQ’s Instagram Rich List as the 17th highest paid makeup artist in the world in 2019, Mihlali Ndamase is a testament to the fact that digital platforms have entirely transformed traditional corporate norms, giving everyone an opportunity to forge their own success and relevance – completely on their own terms. Even more impressive? This 23-year-old from from Kwa-Zulu Natal sits amongst the likes of Kylie Jenner and Huda Kattan on the list. Mihlali has worked with brands such as Urban Decay, Benefit Cosmetics, Samsung and NYX, and, with more than 8.1 million people viewing her videos on YouTube since she started in 2016, the sky is the limit for this digital maven.


Nadia Jaftha
Instagram: @nadiajaftha
Followers: 322K 
Everyone’s favourite funny girl, Nadia Jaftha started out studying film in Los Angeles before embarking on her career as a digital influencer and proving her multiple talents. From making funny prank videos for Instagram to launching a music career with her summer anthem single, ‘Paradise’, Nadia has mastered the art of keeping her audience engaged. This paid off when she attended the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards in Los Angeles in March. The Cape Town-born-and-bred content creator also recently launched her own brand of shoes, called Slay Shoes, and we can’t wait to see what projects she has lined up next.