Last week, the Brand Council South Africa (BCSA) presented the annual Brand Barometer Survey results from 2017, providing all who attended the event with sobering truths about the state of our industry.
In 2008, leading members of the Brand Marketing industry gathered with the intention of forming the Brand Council of South Africa (BCSA). Over the course of late 2012 and early 2013, the first survey was introduced.
Says Leigh-Anne Acquisto, Chairperson of the BCSA, “The objective was and remains to this day, to assess the state of the branding industry in South Africa, gain meaningful insights, and highlight issues that require attention. From there, we can improve and create a better industry for all.”
Participants of the Brand Barometer
The Brand Barometer is conducted online through digital online research house, Columinate. It is aimed at a variety of stakeholders from different arenas within the industry so that the results remain objective and inclusive. These arenas include brand agencies (advertising, design, digital, PR, and marketing strategy), academia (regulation and training institutions), brand management (managers, directors, and CEOs), and brand measurement (research individuals and bodies and marketing and communication bodies).
Each of these arenas culminates in relatively smaller sample sizes, however it’s worth noting that while they are small, they are stable enough to give a good indication of what’s happening in the industry. These results help the BCSA gauge brand measurements and how brands measure ROI, academia within the industry, factors influencing pricing, consultants and benchmark pricing, and finally, transformation in the workplace, the MAC charter, and talent (human capital).
Increasing the perimeters
Since its initial inception, the scope of the survey now also investigates how the industry compares to International standards, how the effectiveness of brand marketing efforts are measured in the industry, and how spending patterns are changing in the industry. Additionally, it explores the extent to which inspiring thinking is present in the local industry, the state of education in our industry, and whether the industry is successfully connecting with society, government, and other areas of business.
Importantly, the survey now also seeks to discover the level and understanding of transformation within the industry.
In 2017, the survey pool was broadened to make the survey even more inclusive. To that end, a cross-section of respondents from the brand, marketing, communication, research, and design industry was included in the survey pool of participants.
2017, a year in review
Says Leigh-Anne Acquisto, “In widening the Brand Barometer 2017’s survey scope, our eyes were opened to both a series of improvements that can be built on and the challenges that we as an industry have faced and which must be overcome in order to play our part in South Africa’s evolving socio-economic environment.”
Among these results from the Brand Barometer 2017, it was noted that the local industry performs on par or below International standards. Significantly, it was found that there is a perception in South African boardrooms that the brand marketing industry intentionally focuses more on being creative than on business results.
Moreover, the results revealed that the level of compliance and understanding of B-BBEEE in the industry is rather low and needs to improve if the industry is to play an important role in the social development of South Africa. Coupled with this is that while the quality of talent entering the profession is seen to be improving, there is concern that brand marketers are not receiving sufficient training for their professional development.
It was also discovered that low budget and limited access to large International opportunities as compared to our International counterparts are entrenched issues which would take some time to improve.
Looking ahead in 2018
“The insights that we discovered in 2017 tell a sobering story, however they are not discouraging, and instead shine the light for where next the focus of our industry should be,” says Leigh-Anne Acquisto.
The Brand Barometer Survey 2018 will tackle this next leg of the journey that we as an industry must embrace in order to create true value for brands, enable positive growth in our economy, and support our ability to compete as a nation.