Hellocomputer has appointed Marthinus van Loggerenberg as a senior digital strategist in its Cape Town agency. Here his main responsibility will be to combine the best audience insights, data, research, technology and distribution capabilities to connect Hellocomputer’s client brands to their audiences. Or, as he says, ‘solve problems that create narratives for brand stories across multiple platforms’.
He was asked 10 questions
When you were a little boy, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What led you to strategy?
I fell in love with strategy during my years at Musica as their Advertising Manager. I wanted to learn more and had the opportunity to indulge in the Vega School of Brand Leadership’s extensive knowledge on crafting meaningful strategy by lecturing the subject.
You specialise in brand communication and design, among other disciplines – what changes have you seen in this field over the 15 years you’ve been in the industry?
Faith Popcorn’s predictions all came true. Creative strategy and strategic creative blossomed into undividable symbioses. Design thinking has proven to be at the heart of strategy. Integrated brand communication overtook the reigns from integrated marketing communication. And media convergence is shining the light on outside-in contact strategies more so than inside-out channel or medium first. Brands realised the power of digital.
One of your other specialisations is branded entertainment and content – can you unpack exactly what that means?
The ability to craft strategy that tells authentic stories that provides value to target audiences by imbuing human-centred narrative with potential to resonate.
Your PhD dissertation (results due in December) is on ‘content’ – what did you focus on and what came out of this dissertation that benefits Hellocomputer and its clients?
I focused on content that entertains more so than just informs or educates, for instance. My research provided me with the ability to understand the intricacies of brand identity-focused narrative in context of the brand’s overarching narrative and how content narrative could be crafted to build brand equity. I hope to impart, learn and grow that knowledge to the benefit of Hellocomputer and my clients. I am also very fortunate to now further learn from some of the industry stalwarts in content creation at Hellocomputer. I built a strategic model to create resonant branded entertainment narrative that I would love to prototype.
Your MBA dissertation was on word-of-mouth marketing to emerging middle class women in South Africa – what learnings did you take from this?
Overall: the future of brand communication and building is in targeting and collaborating with influencers. Some findings: Marketers ought to understand female dynamic in supporting emerging middle class women to achieve their goals. This includes anything from applying a cultural lens to understanding how influencers and networks operate – and how word of mouth can be utilised to achieve brand credibility. It was a fascinating study!
What has been your biggest learning/paradigm shift in the last five years?
My biggest learning was to understand the human condition and to fully get to grips with behavioural psychology. My thinking has certainly evolved from a traditional advertising mindset to understand how brands can carry meaning and add value to people’s lives.
Digital and full service agencies are working closer and closer together; or at least they claim to be – what has been your experience at FCB and Hellocomputer, and how has this impacted on clients’ business?
FCB and Hellocomputer have seen major success in purposeful integration – from strategy inception stage to final product. Brands like Coca Cola, Toyota, Cell C and SA Tourism in our Johannesburg office consisting of dedicated teams, and on Cape Town soil WESGRO and the Western Cape Government characterised by a more agile approach, managed to fill the gap and continuously managed to deliver proven results. We are very proud of this.
What does it take to created award-winning work in today’s digitally driven media environment?
Digital or not – the question should be posed: Is this an equity-building, legacy-making idea? At FCB/ Hellocomputer we judge our work against very stringent criteria that assess ideas to work across platforms, something that could create media ecosystems. The idea must create behaviour that strengthens the bedrock of the brand. Relating to digital: something that people would like to engage with, share and add meaning to by contributing to the conversation and ultimately become brand evangelists. This is only possible through meticulous social and media planning to target the right people at the right time with provocative communication that deeply relates to them. Originality, believability, high consideration to craft, brand identity alignment, sincerity and most importantly, work that carries emotional meaning, win awards.
You ran with the bulls in Spain – how scary was that, and is it as scary as delivering great work for clients today?
It was a blast! What an interesting question. Two things. It boils down to good planning and getting to the end goal. In the case of the bulls: not getting killed and making the arena because they close the doors on you if you lag behind. To relate it to delivering great work: planning, focus, thinking on your feet, flexibility, tapping into your greatest passion, giving it your all and achieving the set objectives. Most important of all: to do it with heart.