In an era of rapidly advancing technologies the challenge for each and every brand and business is to future-proof itself, to ensure it doesn’t go down in history as the next Nokia or Kodak. Consumers have never been as discerning as they are now. The average US consumer is faced with around 10,000 advertisements a day, so to break through this clutter, brands need to be marketed differently, said Publicis Africa Group’s Verusha Maharaj at a recent Product of the Year Innovation masterclass held in Johannesburg. “In an age where you can skip or delete an ad, customer engagement is more important than ever before.” It’s also an age of scepticism, with less trust in mass media and many consumers preferring to conduct their own research among their peers. There is no doubt, said Maharaj, that the Internet plays a huge role in a brand’s success and reputation. He warned, however, against an obsession with artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics rather than focusing on customer e...

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