“The species that survive the longest, are the most adaptable”- Mzamo Masito
That is what Mzamo Masito thinks of 2020. In marketing and in life. The brands that do the most to change and adapt, are the ones that will thrive.
The last Pat On Brands Dialogue for the year was an intimate yet powerful one. We gathered at the hallowed halls of the Pat On Brands headquarters, at Tshimologong Precinct, in Braamfontein Johannesburg. This past Thursday, 5 November 2020.
Our CEO, Pat Mahlangu, sat down in discussion with one of the most inspirational and unique individuals you can imagine. CMO of Google Africa, Mzamo Masito boasts a wealth of experience and knowledge in the marketing industry. He has a career capital and success that many marketing professionals can only dream of.
However, it was not always like that. Mzamo grew up in Khayelitsha. He did not imagine himself in a creative industry. He decided he would study accounting at UCT because that was the most desirable career that he could imagine at the time.
It was not until he got to varsity that his horizons were broadened. He was introduced to free-thinking and got to understand the power of his blackness. He realized his passion for communication in the African context, which led him to build a repertoire that includes teaching at UCT, 11 years at Unilever as a data analyst and market research specialist, and wearing the CMO cap at Nike, as well as Vodacom Africa.
Fast forward to the present, Mzamo is the CMO of the biggest, most influential company in the world. Not only that, but the position did not exist before him. Through his drive and determination, he will go down in the history books as the first CMO of Google Africa.
2020, in retrospect
2020 has been challenging with multiple disruptions caused by the pandemic. When asked to analyze this year, Mzamo simply said, “this is nothing compared to what our ancestors had to go through. Humans have existed for thousands of years, the one thing we know how to do is survive tragic events”.
“We need to evolve, in order to live long”.Mzamo Masito
He likened marketing to anthropology and the study of human behavior. Saying that the core of marketing is adaptability. Understanding why humans behave the way they do and then converting the ‘why’ into ‘insight’, and insight into opportunity.
The prospects of marketing in 2021
Marketing is about building relationships with your audience while meeting your promise as a brand. In other words, it is about convincing strangers why they need your brand or product.
Here are the top 3 prospects of marketing as delivered by Mzamo:
1. Less is more
Brands will have to put their money where their mouth is. Many companies and organizations have had to decrease their budgets to lower costs. Therefore, brands will have to ensure that they do more, for less. “We need to get creative, find businesses that are willing to do more for less, that can bring a large impact with less money”, said Mzamo.
2. The things that make marketing will not change
The things that make marketing, marketing have not changed. People still need good products that bring a solution. Brands still need to advertise and market their products or services. The only thing that will change is the way in which brands will deliver their message. Due to the pandemic, more brands will move to digital marketing, however, there is a need for brands to stand out and be a reference in a crowded environment where there is more competition for consumers’ attention.
Good marketing equals value plus reputation. When brands wrap their messages in values, that keeps them prosperous. Consumers feel the need to relate to brands now, more than ever.
“A brand that is transparent and fixes mistakes, will thrive”.Mzamo Masito
They need to ascertain themselves and their values with the brand. it is not just about feeling a connection to the product itself. It is about keeping up and building the relationship over time with consistency. “It is about offering a solution, at a good value, and doing it with consistency”. Says Mzamo.
A word from the wise
The marketing industry is like an impatient lover, always looking for the next new shiny thing. It has transferred from the days of traditional advertising to data-analytic, digital marketing, and a change in ways of operating. However, brands will thrive as long as they are “responsible, useful, and helpful”.
I know everyone who attended the Pat On Brands Dialogue was inspired by Mzamo’s journey. He emphasizes the importance of breaking out of a myopic world view and locating ourselves as part of the globe.