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The 2018 “Digital Trend Safari” inspired by the BIG 5

The Mobile Migration of smartphones has begun and we are expecting 500 million smart phones in Africa by 2020.

As the herds graze through the pastures of a connected world, and the “smartphone herds” are increasing as the sun rises and sets. Witness the many similarities in our wildlife that help us to stampede through 2018, trends that you look out for to become a formidable force in your marketing and communications strategy.

Allow me to paint the picture for you… You have travelled a long distance, escaped from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle to spend time in Africa’s unrivalled Wild Life. The Game Ranger collects you at the lodge before sunset to go out to explore and among other things… Go and see the Big 5 – a must for anyone’s bucket list. You come prepared with your water, sunblock and of course a fully charged phone to help you capture the Spirit of Africa and share your adventure with friends and family.

Here is what you will learn from your “Digital Trend Safari” with the Big 5 and how each animal represents some key trends this year:

A Pride of Lions

The lions are very social, in comparison to solitary cats. Lion prides live in groups of related lionesses, mates and offspring. Prides consists of up to 30 lions. They play, hunt and sleep together.

In the Marketing and communications world, our Lion is Social Media.

Social Media has become a dominant vehicle for people all across the world, those with smartphones are heavyweights in the consumption of Social Media.  As WIFI infrastructure increases we will see a more prominent adoption.

The trend that’s creating a buzz is Video. To generate success, brands use video as a form of Native Advertising. Especially in the age where news and politics are the most engaged content in this day and age.

Another popular platform within Social Media is Mobile Messaging Apps (e.g. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp).

I quote Head of Social at MEC Global – North America, Noah Mallin: “For a business that really has to think about where its resources are, putting your resources into reaching customers through a place like Facebook Messenger and Twitter is a smart way to bring that service experience to life,” says Mallin.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.

Arthur Goldstuck released the Social Media stats at the Marketing Mix Social Media Landscape Conference #SocialSA2018 and this is evident in the results from his report.

From Arthur Goldstuck’s recent report, here are some quick facts for you to enjoy:

1)  98.3% of brands have a Social Media Strategy

2)  Top 3 Social Platforms are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN

3)  Top 10Apps on Google are WhatsAPP Messenger; Wish-Don’t OverPay;  Share It and Facebook Messenger

According to Business Insider 80% of companies want to integrate chatbots into their strategy by 2020.

A Heard of Buffaloes

The buffaloes travel in large herds and are superior grazers. They swim in deep waters to take them to the best pastures. Female buffaloes exhibit what they call “Voting Behaviour”.  In a resting herd the females will stand up and shuffle around and sit in the direction they think the herd should move. A communal decision not based on hierarchy of dominance.

Where we see the correlation is within Community Social Groups. A good example would be the suburbs that start creating WhatsApp Groups and Facebook Pages of their community.    Within these pages it will be residents living in this area who want to be informed and they support local suppliers, posting local events, crime alerts, Soup Kitchens, petition, vote etc.  There is a strong form of “pier” support.  People living in suburbs tend to have the same social behaviour and interests.

When people are looking for a supplier to move homes, they will post in these communities to get a recommendation. This is a brilliant way for businesses to become the “buffalo” within local communities.

People who’ve managed to leverage this well are Influencers.  Influencers are people who create their own community of likeminded followers by providing authentic content.  People are more than likely going to trust an Influencer than a brand and that is why paying attention to a sense of community is paramount to success.

A Parade of Elephants

An elephant never forgets. They have excellent recall power and whether it is a negative event they faced in the wildlife, or being reunited with an old friend. This brings me to one of the most exciting of trends – Big Data and Dark Data.

Take history of various data sets and analyse it to make better strategic decisions to empower your organisations operations and revenue.

The term Dark Data analyses historical complex data to interpret real world problems and questions.

You can’t change the future, unless you understand the past, and therefore successful brands are investing in “Math Men” to define the road map based on behaviour patterns and lifecycles.

Information is not only reliant on Social Media, there are very deep insights understanding your own data and the further enhancing it within social listening and data analysis.

Understanding Dark Social is a challenge, but a huge asset to your marketing efforts in you can tap into those insights.  According to RadiumOne, 70% of sharing is dark, and growing.

 A Leap of Leopards

Each leopard is unique and has its own markings or colour, similar to the human fingerprint.

This brings us up close and personal with the marketing direction brands need to take into consideration for 2018… Drum Roll… Hyper-Personalisation, which is defined as the use of data to provide more personalised and targeted products, services and content.

Technology grows by leaps and bounds which enables us to have more real-time, meaningful conversations with our customers.

Each person drives a different route to work, a different shortcut to avoid traffic, but location-based targeting is a powerful tool when you catch someone at the right time at the right place.


CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, couldn’t have said it better: Investing in digital technology instead of Digital Ads, is a factor to their success. If your aim is to build customer loyalty and deeper relationships with your customers, you need to take the “Leap of Faith”, and invest in technology and better execution to bring Hyper-Personalisation to life.

As the smart phone penetration grows, brands are able to master Micro-Moments.

Data Visualization will also become more important than ever, in order to identify meaningful patterns and tell you a visual-rich story  to identify trends within your own environment.  We need to move away from being “Spreadsheet ostriches”and take our heads out of columns and lines.

 A Crash of Rhino

Fact: Rhino’s are speed machines according to

They can run 30-40 miles per hour, the fastest human can run 15 miles an hour, so finding a tree to climb is a better strategy than trying to outrun a rhino!

This brings me to the final Big 5 opportunity to watch out for, which is Machine Learning.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 97% of business leaders feel the future of marketing will consist of clever human marketers working in collaboration with machine learning-based automation entities.

As our consumers are becoming tech savvy and the technology landscape is growing rapidly, if we are not relevant in the most individualised way, our consumers will turn their backs on us, and they will become extinct, just like our beloved rhino.

Machine Learning will become the trees in your forest, The water to your river, the thoughts in your mind.  It will become the most valuable resource in your marketing strategy.

We hope you enjoyed your DigitalTrend Safari, and now we encourage you to have a “campfire” with your clients, colleagues and vendors and chat, collaborate and see how you can leverage the Big 5 in 2018 and “M”-Power your customers.

I quote Christopher McDougall:

“Every Morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”


Carmen Murray is a passionate entrepreneur and consultant who has been a tour de force in strategy development for Global Brands across Africa. Carmen has more than 18 years’ experience in Sales, Marketing and Management and is an expert with a proven track record in mobile marketing, technology and innovation. She currently holds the position as Chief Innovation Officer for a prominent mobile technology company.






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