Brands wrestling for relevance

In an ever-changing marketing environment brands have to work harder to stand out amongst the clutter of social media, advertisements, branded content and streaming services. Which is proving harder to do everyday because consumers have so many options when it comes to the content they consume and how they consume it; plus consumers are content producers too. They, too, have a strong and dedicated following that they are committed to building and growing through the content that they post on their own social media platforms. Thus splitting people’s attention even more… so what is a brand to do? How do brands stay relevant, how do they progress and how do they keep the attention of their current audience and attract new audiences?


 Sanlam taps into the Whatsapp family group

Sanlam took their marketing to a new level with their Whatsapp drama series, Uk’shona Kwelanga, in which consumers follow the family group chat of the Langa family as they organised the funeral plans for their deceased father. The drama was written in collaboration with one of South Africa’s leading script writers, Bongi Ndaba and featured many well-known actors such as Makgatso (Isidingo), Bongani Madondo (Mtunzini and Shabangu) and Thembe Mtshani (Stokvel, League of Glory and The Queen) to name a few.

The drama was relatable because everybody has to deal with the group family chat and all the woes that go with it and it was an experimental and accessible way to reach consumers. The series had a lasting impression and people followed the drama with ease on Whatsapp.



Vuzu rebrands

In order to reposition themselves from a youth orientated channel to a family orientated one, Vuzu recently underwent a drastic rebrand. Vuzu revamped their content in 2010 to appeal to families and not just their younger core audience. The repositioning also involved the introduction of a new logo.

With this recent repositioning Vuzu seems to have strayed a little too far from their original, young flair, that made them special. The new look was intended to make Vuzu appear more sophisticated and grown up but the rebrand strikes me as a little unnecessary since Vuzu already had so much family orientated content on the channel but still managed to speak to their core audience. Vuzu has gone from being a niche channel to too generalised.



It’s an exciting and yet challenging time for brands because the new landscape is forcing them to continually out think themselves and work harder to capture the attention of consumers. Sometimes it works and results in great work like the Sanlam drama or efforts can fall flat and leave people confused like Vuzu’s rebrand. One thing remains, though, brands have to stay on their toes to remain competitive and relevant in the unpredictable present that they find themselves in.



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