Ghana to host African Brand Conference 2011
This year’s African Brand Conference will be held in Accra from 3 to 4 November, it has been announced.
The conference, which is expected to be attended by 500 business executives, will outline social media branding tactics. The growth of social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be emphasised, with “Transforming your Brand in the New Media” as the theme.
“New media has a key role in transforming product and services to greater heights because brands are getting interactive across the world. We have seen the increase in corporate leverage on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media channels in product launching by global corporations,” commented AkinNaphtal, the conference director.
"This conference will engage delegates to tap into these effective mediums of communication to strengthen their brands and business profitability.”
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According to Internet World Statistics, at least 119 million of Africa’s 1 billion people are internet users. Around 31 million of these use Facebook. In wealthy Nigeria, it is estimated that 3.4 million people are Facebook users and 44 million people use the internet.
"This represents a huge marketing opportunity on the internet and more so, on social networks in Africa for African brands," Naphtal stressed.
While 94 of the world’s top 100 companies have run a marketing campaign on YouTube, Naphtal suggested African businesses are yet to take full advantage of this marketing platform.
Bola Akingbade, chief marketing officer at MTN Nigeria, and George Thorpe, CEO at Market Space, will both speak at the conference. International speakers will include Steve Cranford, CEO of Whisper Branding, and Afdhel Aziz, the brand director at Heineken USA.
“ABC 2011 provides a huge opportunity to learn, network and share experience with peers from around the world,” noted Naphtal, who is also CEO of Instinct Wave, a marketing firm in the UK.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”