Conversation LAB Blog
Managing director of South African based digital agency, Conversation LAB has decided to embark on a political campaign to be the next president of South Africa.
If you clicked on this article because you believed that caption, then you have fallen for one of the biggest scams taking place in the digital world – FAKE NEWS.
Now, this is not a new phenomenon, but with the rise in social media, it has become more prolific. These “news” stories range from your favourite celebrity being killed in an accident, to more sinister news, aimed at creating political crises, and racial and religious conflict in countries around the world.
Claire Wardle of First Draft News identified seven types of fake news
- satire or parody (“no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool”)
- false connection (“when headlines, visuals of captions don’t support the content”)
- misleading content (“misleading use of information to frame an issue or an individual”)
- false content (“when genuine content is shared with false contextual information”)
- imposter content (“when genuine sources are impersonated” with false, made-up sources)
- manipulated content (“when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive”, as with a “doctored” photo)
- fabricated content (“new content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm”)
Two of the most notable fake news stories was the Great Moon Hoax in 1835 and War of the Worlds in 1938. The Great Moon Hoax saw The New York Sun publishing articles that were intended to entertain readers and not mislead them. However, many readers believed that a real-life astronomer and a made-up NY Sun Journalist had observed bizarre life on the moon. The publication had to then issue a statement announcing that it was a hoax and had to deal with the backlash from readers.
Orson Wells (an American actor, director, writer, and producer who worked in theatre, radio, and film) was the individual who created “mass hysteria” when War of the Worlds was broadcast on radio on 30 October 1938. War of the Worlds was intended to be a radio drama anthology series. But two parts of this can be classified as fake news – as the news was simply an adaption of the book of the same title. Secondly, the mass hysteria that was reported, was no more than a local town attacking a water tower because they misidentified it as an alien.
With the invention of social media, governments, businesses and individuals are now creating a cyber-warfare to distract or mislead followers. But how? Fake news can be generated by journalists or PR agencies, intentionally reporting on incorrect details or false articles, having them published on reputable news publications. Fake news saw a higher sharing on Facebook than legitimate news stories, as it appeals more to the readers’ expectations or were more exciting than real news.
Other digital fake news generators include socialbots for Facebook and Twitter. Socialbots are a type of bot that controls a fake social media account, and unlike having a person tweet or post from the account, the tweets are automated using high-tech software. Socialbots are used for widespread distribution of the same message or tweet across the platform. They can drown out any messaging that is against theirs and be online 24/7 disseminating the message.
In South Africa, fake news is a growing problem. It is used as a tool to increase media distrust, discredit political opponents and to divert attention from stories and articles about corruption. Most recently, media outlets owned by the Gupta Family have been targeting media outlets and individuals who are attempting to block the Gupta’s attempts at state capture. By levelling accusations, they are saying that these organisations and individuals are promoting state capture for the “white monopoly capital”.
While many fake news articles seem credible, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure that you don’t get fooled.
- Check the source. There are many sites that are known for being satirical. These include The Onion, The Daily Show, The Daily Mash and El Mundo Today. You can find more here.
- Look for the same news/information from reputable sites. Search for the same news on mainstream media. If you can’t find any information on their sites, it’s most likely fake news.
- Use a fake news checker like Snopes or Twitter Audit
See if you can spot fake news with this handy quiz
It has been proven by many influencer marketing experts, influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement are two very different options for brands to include in their marketing campaign. The two do not operate or function the same and both options offer very different results.
“I’ve actually learned first-hand that brand advocates and micro influencers have the potential to recruit long-term brand advocates into your brand, which (surprise-surprise) is much more powerful than generating a one-off sale” –Philip Brown, Head of Influencer Marketing & Brand Advocacy at Come Round.
But what’s the difference? How will your brand benefit the most from one or both?
Celebrity Influencers and endorsements
It is no surprise that celebrities have more followers than influencers. Just because your favourite celebrity posted about the newest perfume or a festival, doesn’t mean that it is credible or a genuine post from them.
Brands continue to throw money at them, most recently the failed Fyre Festival. Models and celebrities including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski, were paid $250 000 to endorse the event, while other high-profile Instagram users were paid $10 000 per post shared on the platform. The problem with that tactic was that they failed to disclose to the public that these were paid posts, all against Federal Trade Commission policy 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. These influencers had legal action taken against them citing “Social Media ‘influencers’ made no attempt to disclose to consumers that they were being compensated for promoting the Fyre Festival. Instead these influencers gave the impression that the guest list was full of the Social Elite and other celebrities.”
In other instances, celebrities have outed themselves as being paid to post, sharing more than what they should. Remember when Scott Disick revealed all the details of his BooTea Shake product endorsement to his 15.9 million followers, before quickly deleting it?
It might be an exciting way to get people interested in your product or event, but the repercussions to your brand could far outweigh the benefits. Often the content for this paid endorsement or post comes across as forced and unauthentic but there is light at the end of the tunnel if your brand wants to go down this route. Work with the celebrities to ensure that it sounds like them. Let them tell it in their own brand voice ensuring that their audience will naturally engage on the post.
Influencers and bloggers
An exciting new area for brands to explore in communicating their messaging is with smaller, and at times, slightly more unknown influencers and bloggers. There are two types of influencers – macro and micro.
Macro influencers are not that different to celebrities, besides the celebrity title. These influencers have large audiences that they can push your message and brand out to, often at a hefty price tag. Unfortunately, the engagement on macro influencers posts are on the lower end. If you are looking for reach on your post then you’ll be in good hands.
Micro influencers are an emerging market. By using micro influencers over macro influencer, brands can communicate through real people, in an authentic voice. however, have a smaller following than that of a macro influencer or celebrity. Micro influencers have between 1000 and 90 000 followers.
Their audience is more engaged in the content that they post, which makes these up and coming influencers and bloggers more attractive to brands. These types of content creators are in it for the long haul and want to leverage off your brand as much as you want to leverage off their following.
There is something to be said for bringing in influencers and bloggers for a long-term brand affiliation, rather than just paying them one off. Together you can create bespoke messaging and content. You can also ensure a complete buy-in from the blogger or influencer. This translates into engaging content on their platforms for their followers and your future followers and customers.
There is no right or wrong way forward for your brand. Just make sure that the celebrity, blogger or influencer is right for your brand. They must communicate your vision and objective without sounding forced or fake. Get this right and your campaign will always win.
SA and UK – Conversation LAB Cape Town have wrapped up social media account of fashion giant Markham, coming off the back of an impressive recent win with Godrej Kinky Hair brand.
This men’s fashion giant dating back to 1873 is a leader in The Foschini Group stable with over 300 stores nationwide.
Conversation LAB has been appointed to manage the complete integration of all four social media accounts of Markham including media planning and buying, content creation and community management. The agency will also be analysing data to their eCommerce site to help with better conversions and ROI.
Edward Spearman, Conversation LAB Cape Town agency lead, stated; “Markham is an iconic brand with a deep South African fashion heritage. We have just turned 5yrs old at Conversation LAB and could not be more excited and proud to be partnering with such a massive player in the retail space”
Conversation LAB, with head office in Durban, has recently expanded into Johannesburg, Cape Town and London. This win, added to the Environ Skin Care account run out of Cape Town underpins the arrival of Conversation LAB on the Cape Town advertising scene.
Work has already begun.
For more information, contact Edward Spearman at Conversation LAB:
South Africa and UK – Digitally focussed creative agency Conversation LAB adds Kinky World of Hair, the SA market leader in dry hair products, to their growing stable of Female Care FMCG clients.
Conversation LAB has been appointed as the Digital agency of record across the full range of Kinky products which include human hair, wigs, weaves, braids and hair accessories. Kinky World of hair has been a market leader in the dry hair products since 1971, operating 22 stores across SA in addition to selling through a range of leading retail brands.
Heather Goate, Godrej South Africa, Head of Marketing for Dry Hair stated: “Conversation LAB has done an outstanding job on the wet hair brands within our stable, most notably Inecto and Renew hair colour ranges, both now #1 market share, so it is with confidence that we have appointed them on Kinky, another of SA’s favourite brands. We see digital playing a significant role in this category.’’
In 2014 Reuters reported that the dry hair market is estimated to be worth over R66billion across Africa. South Africa is regarded as the largest hair care nation in Africa with the black hair care industry estimated to be worth R10b.
Commenting on the new business win, Kevin Power, Group Managing Director of Conversation LAB said: “We have had great success in the wet hair market with Renew and Inecto – so to now get the opportunity to work on Kinky, a household name in the dry hair market is hugely exciting. This is where the real action is in female care – and Kinky is at the forefront.”
The agency will be responsible for developing, implementing and tracking a multi-layered digital eco-system. This will include management and development of all content across a range of Social Media platforms, a new website and mobile site fully optimised for the huge Google search market, engaging with influencers and managing all digital media spend – a full end to end digital solution for Kinky under one roof.
For more information, contact Kevin Power at Conversation LAB:
Netflix is taking the world by storm and even has South Africans mesmerised, pitting themselves as strong competitors against local broadcasters and satellite TV.
And while the population is cosying up to a constant stream of series and films, Netflix has even more great news!
Customers all over the world can now download series and films, from old favourites such as Gilmore Girls to new favourites like Stranger Things, at no extra cost. These downloads can then be viewed offline at a later stage.
It’s as easy as clicking the download button on the details page for a film or TV series. Just be sure to update your Netflix app to the most recent version.
In an online statement Netflix’s Director of Product Innovation Eddy Wu said, “Many of your favourite streaming series and movies are already available for download, with more on the way, so there is plenty of content available for those times when you are offline. For example, Orange is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown are available for download.
His statement goes on to say that this download capability is available to all Netflix plans including on mobile for phones and tablets on Android and iOS.
Agency Conversation LAB has teamed up with consumer columnist, Megan Power (formerly of Power Report in the Sunday Times fame).
Power recently started her own customer-journey and brand-management consultancy. In future, it will collaborate with Conversation LAB (Megan is the sister of Conversation LAB co-founder and managing director, Kevin Power), adding Conversation LAB’s full digital service offering to her clients.
Says Megan: “I believe my six years of exclusively listening to and resolving consumer complaints across various industries, corporates and brands, [have] given me unique insights into what consumers want from the customer journey.
“Digital offers brands an unprecedented opportunity to bring integrity, honesty, and transparency back into business. It’s also a great way for brands to share news-you-can-use content with consumers to make their lives easier. Incredibly, it’s a chance many still miss.”
Megan’s suite of offerings will also be offered to Conversation LAB’s clients and prospective clients.
“When Megan decided to break from the Sunday Times and build her own commercial offering, it was obvious to us that we needed to partner,” says Kevin. “In fact, it is something we have been discussing for some time. I believe Megan has identified a huge void in the market with no-one credibly offering her kind of expertise – which is wide ranging and deep. Megan’s consumer work in recent years has earned her the respect of much of SA’s top corporate leadership, now eager to use her insights to improve their customer journeys. I see us jointly unlocking a huge amount of potential for clients.”
Megan says a big part of her new initiative with brands involves the kind of conversation they’re having with their customers in store, on the phone, on email — and on social media.
Digitally-led creative agency Conversation LAB has won 14 awards at the Assegai Integrated Marketing Awards.
Conversation LAB has added 30 new awards to their trophy cabinet in 2016 across The Global MMA Smarties, The New Generation Social and Digital Media Awards and now the Assegai Awards.
Conversation LAB won one gold, six silver, six bronze and a leader across a range of their clients, Environ (Gold), Varsity College (two silvers and a bronze), Unilever’s Sunlight (Silver and two bronze), Soft Bev’s Coo-ee (two silvers) and Godrej SA’s Inecto (3 bronze and a leader).
The Assegai Awards, known for their focus on results and strategy, were inaugurated in 1998 and have grown from strength to strength. The event in Rivonia, Johannesburg attracted over 500 well-known guests from all the top agencies and brands in South Africa.
Kevin Power, managing director of Conversation LAB, says, “It’s been a great year – our fourth – and we are enjoying every minute of it. We expanded into Johannesburg and Cape Town earlier in 2016 and it’s been a wonderful ride. We are acutely aware of course that it can all turn very quickly, so we are remaining focused on the work and results, and aim to deliver more success for our new and current clients in 2017 – but right now, we celebrate.”
Conversation LAB has added a United States household name to their client list – Ninja Blenders.
Ninja Blenders is one of the market leaders in the US and the around the world for premium home and commercial blenders and will come to South Africa and Africa to rival the Nutri Bullet and others in the local market.
Ninja Blenders South Africa has appointed Conversation LAB to run all their digital activity including social media, creative development and management, media buying and planning, and SEO activity to drive their e-commerce offering.
Nicole Smith, CEO of Ninja Blenders, says “Our search for a digital partner on Ninja Blenders, a new entrant to the SA market was not taken lightly. We need both scale and disruption, but also rigour around return on investment. Conversation LAB impressed us with their creativity, agility and most of all, the ability to deliver on limited early budgets.”
Ninja Blenders South Africa will sell online through their own e-commerce platform and will be expanding to major retailers. The brand will launch with two sizes with a view to expanding to the full range.
Kevin Power, managing director of Conversation LAB, says, “It is always exciting to launch a brand into the African market, especially one that is a global leader. Of course with that comes high expectation to match the success of other regions – but this is a challenge we are well up for.”
For more information, visit www.conversationlab.com. Alternatively, connect with them on Facebook or on Twitter.
It was a night of wins for Conversation LAB at the 2016 New Generation Social & Digital Media Awards.
We picked up an impressive 13 awards for our work on Inecto Plus, Renew, Varsity College, Coo-ee and Environ Skin Care.
Our Community Manager, Silindile Nkosi, also took Silver for Best Community Engagement Manager.
Congrats to our team! You can take a look at the complete list of winners here: http://bit.ly/2e7fSlj
Monday Killabite #70
The world of Social Media is buzzing with new developments, with Facebook at the forefront. So if you feel a little out of touch, don’t worry! We’ve got the latest on all things social in this edition of the Monday Killabite.
Facebook launches Lifestage app for school teens
“Facebook has launched a new social media app aimed at school teenagers. Members of Lifestage, currently only available on Apple devices in the US, upload pictures and videos based around feelings, likes and dislikes. These are then turned into video profiles.” Read more here.
Exclusive: Facebook Live is getting a cool new feature [Updated]
“According to a reliable source we spoke to this morning, Facebook is set to begin a phased rollout of a new feature that allows for two-person broadcasts on Live. Originally announced at VidCon back in June, we’re now told the feature should make its way to users on Monday. The initial rollout is said to be available to public figures using the Facebook Mentions app on iOS via a verified profile or Page. The feature will require both accounts to be verified and use the Mentions app on iOS to go live.” Read more here.
Twitter adds more user control with latest features
“Social networking site Twitter announced Saturday that it is adding two new settings, enabling users to customise their usage experience by controlling what they view in their feed and what they get notified about.” Read more here.
Instagram passes 1 billion Android installs
“Instagram has reached 1 billion app installs on the Google Play store, Android Police has noticed. This makes the photo sharing app the fourth Facebook-owned app to reach the milestone, after Facebook itself, WhatsApp and Messenger. The number does not accurately reflect the number of users, as it counts multiple app installs, but it’s still a nice milestone that only a handful of apps have managed to achieve.” Read more here.
South Africa and UK – Digital creative agency Conversation LAB has won the digital account for market leader Sunfoil, part of the Willowton Group.
Conversation LAB, working in close partnership with lead creative agency Y&R Durban, has been appointed across a wide range of digital activity for Sunfoil, including all social media and digital content development, website management and importantly the live social media activity for the Sunfoil Test Series and digital properties.
Hilton Cairns, National Marketing Manager, Willowton Group stated: “Y&R Durban who we have worked with for 8yrs introduced us to Conversation LAB and right from the get-go they have proven to be a great fit for our brand. They get sport sponsorship and their social media and technology credentials speak for themselves.”
Sunfoil has been the proud title sponsor of Proteas Test Series cricket for 5 years now giving Conversation LAB a great property to continue to build on, with the upcoming test series against NZ about to kick off.
Commenting on the new business win, Kevin Power, Managing Director of Conversation LAB said: “Sunfoil is a great brand for the agency to win, not only is it a household name and in every cupboard up and down the country, but with the added excitement of the SA Cricket Test side sponsorship, really does make it a Gold standard client to work with. It’s another proud moment in our short agency history.”
Work will be serviced out of Conversation LAB’s Durban office working in a fully integrated way with Y&R Durban.
For more information, contact Kevin Power at Conversation LAB: firstname.lastname@example.org; 031 536 3412 / 071 340 3119.
Read more about our media coverage on Media Update.
Durban-based agency, Conversation LAB, has grown from a four-person shop to a 40-person agency in little over three-and-a-half years. It was launched on 1 August 2012, when three TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris staffers broke away from that agency.
Read all about the journey here.
Conversation LAB has secured tyre brand Dunlop Tyres as a client. We will manage all brand conversations and content across multiple social media platforms, as well as digital campaign development and online activations.
Digitally focused creative agency Conversation LAB adds household favourite Laager Tea4Kidz, the market leader in children’s tea, to their growing stable of FMCG clients.
Conversation LAB wins Renew
Conversation LAB shines with market leader Inecto
Conversation LAB has been appointed as the digital agency of record across the full range of Inecto Hair Products which include Inecto Originals, Inecto Colours and Inecto Plus. (more…)
We’re already well into the swing of things, with new work and new faces here at the LAB!
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