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WHITE PAPER: Digital Disruption

Changing the rules of business for a hyper-connected World.

Dimension Data / GIBS Digital DisruptionPublished by The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science in collaboration with Dimension Data.

Click here to download the white paper

Howard is member of the GIBS / Dimention Data Digital Disruption Programme Advisory Board.

A celebration of the Lego Brand. | The Art of the Brick Exhibition.

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Lego art by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. Howard visited The Art of the Brick exhibition in Rosebank in June 2015.This exhibition was named as a “top 10 must-see exhibit” by CNN.
This post and this website are not affiliated, sponsored, or endorsed by the LEGO® Group. LEGO®, the LEGO® logo, the Brick, DUPLO®, and MINDSTORMS® are trademarks of the LEGO® Group. ©2012 The LEGO® Group.

PHOTOS: Magnum Ice Cream Pop Up Shop | Brand Experience


PHOTOS: Brand Museum South Africa

Howard sits on the Advisory Board of the the Brand Museum South Africa.


VIDEO: Brand Museum – The evolution of brands in South Africa

Howard Fox interviews Ken Preston, Publisher of Brands and Branding regarding the Brand Museum exhibition at GIBS Brand-Week.


Brand Signage from the Brand Museum SA.






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From Brand Week Exhibition at The Gordon Institute of Business Science 27 October to 1 November 2014.


INFOGRAPHIC: Internet of Things

Overview of the Internet of Things – Infographic.

Internet of Things

Unfortunately I am not able to vouch for the veracity of the data in the Infographic above. 


DATA: Marketer optimism in Europe outpaces rest of world

WARC’s latest Global Marketing Index show marketer optimism in Europe outpaces rest of world.


Trading conditions show improvement in all global regions.

Marketing budgets rise for 21st consecutive month.

Staffing levels continue to show steady growth.

Marketing confidence in Europe rose to its highest ever level in September, according to Warc’s latest Global Marketing Index.

The region’s headline GMI index – which takes into account marketers’ expectations for trading conditions, marketing budgets and staffing levels – rose 4.2 points from August to record a value of 60.2 this month, where a reading of 50.0 indicates neutral sentiment. The reading also represents an uptick of 5.3 points versus the same month last year.

The GMI is a unique indicator of the state of the global marketing industry. Every month it tracks conditions among marketers within their organisation and region. It tracks marketing budgets, trading conditions and staffing levels. A reading of 50 indicates no change, and above 60 indicates rapid growth.

Howard contributes to the Global Marketing Index.


The ubiquity of everything. How the ‘sharing economy’ will destroy brand value.

If you have enough money, there is virtually nothing you cannot buy. The value of possessing some physical goods, I would contend however, is now reducing in some instances to only slightly above the value of the commoditised functionality the goods provide.

There was once a time, not that long ago, that arriving at your favourite purveyor of fine burritos late at night in a Ferrari, differentiated oneself as being in the economic elite. Certainly put you in the ‘1%’. And such differentiation was worth a premium. You remember – for the brand – all those attributes carefully crafted by us marketers.

No more. Could be that you have deadmau5 (a DJ of some not inconsequential repute), as your Uber driver, in his Ferrari.

Got a ride to Chipotle with my personal @Uber_TOR driver @deadmau5 ! Thanks for the ride. — Tucker Schreiber (@tuckerschreiber).

No need to buy the Ferrari yourself, to impress, then.

Want to really impress your neighbours in the Hamptons NY? Catch a helicopter using the latest flight sharing scheme: “We want to make it approachable and easy and transparent for young people who think only billionaires fly planes,” Evan Licht, general manager at “Blade” an app that facilitates booking helicopter trips from Manhattan to the Hamptons for just $450 a ride, reportedly told The New York Post. That is far less than the usual $3 000 beating the traffic to your Hamptons holiday-home normally costs, and is infinitely cheaper than watering and stabling your own helicopter in New York City.

Diamonds are forever. At least de Beers hopes so. But what if previously exclusive, extraordinarily expensive, diamond necklaces became accessible to the masses? – “The savvy approach to luxury, rent.” Or – “The look worthy of a princess – rent the Middleton earrings for only $160”. Accessible luxury means such “luxury” becomes far less differentiating for the limited few who truly can afford to own it outright.

The ideal type of luxury goods, such as top branded champagne, designer handbags, jewellery and luxury cars, are what are known to economists as ‘Veblen goods’, named after economist Thorstein Veblen, who famously identified the concepts of conspicuous consumption and status-seeking. Veblen goods are the holy grail of luxury brands because their desirability increases with an increased in price. In effect they are desirable because they are only accessible to those prepared to pay a high price. Conversely, decreasing their price (even through sharing apps or rental arrangements I contend) decreases peoples’ preference for buying them because they are no longer perceived as exclusive or high-status products.

What does this new-age, increased product-accessibility mean for brand owners? Consumer access to brands used to mean having to buy the actual associated physical good (excluding services and intangibles, obviously). Now that is no longer a requirement, and it doesn’t take much of an increase in accessibility to significantly reduce the exclusivity and thus differentiation of such branded goods. This could be crippling for luxury brand owners. More troubling is that brand owners lose control of their brands to others (e.g. such as the Blade app) who leverage the value of the brand to their own benefit, while reducing the brand’s exclusivity and brand premium to all other purchasers – to the clear determent of the actual brand owner.

I foresee brand owners resisting the sharing and rental of their branded goods to protect brand exclusivity. Lawyers, start your engines.


“Internet of Things” bumps “Big Data” as most hyped technology – Gartner

Gartner’s Hype Cycle Special Report places Internet of Things at the pinnacle of their well known “Hype Cycle”. 

Personally I am a bit surprised. Sure I have seen the vigorous drum-beating by Cisco, and everyone is quoting that $14 billion value of the IoT espoused by Cisco / “multi trillion” valuation by PwC (by 2020), but down here at the tip of Africa, “Big Data” still seems to hold sway by a sizeable margin.

That said, Marketers across the world appear to remain underwhelmed by the real opportunities and threats the IoT offers. I suspect, just like the development of “digital marketing” was effectively driven by technology suppliers and internet startups rather than professional marketers and their service providers – the IoT will again face at best a reticent marketing community, at worse a recalcitrant one.



Press release on Hype Cycle here.

Gartner’s [Free] Hype Cycle Special Report for 2014 here.

PwC report: Sensing the future of the Internet of Things here.






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