2020 was not fun. Yes, my 2020 was vastly different from every single other person because we all managed and dealt with it differently. We also all had our own tragedies, successes, accomplishments, failures, losses, and more. It started off with Tiger King, 5FM getting rid of Thabooty Drive (which was 2 weeks before national lockdown, and I blame 5FM for the rest of 2020), then we all ran out of toilet paper because some folks thought that we would also run out of paper pulp, and ended off with those weird monoliths popping up all over the show – we even had a monolith South Africa. Of course a lot happened in-between, but who decides to ruin car rides home by getting rid of The Thabooty Drive!
Last year this time, I wrote a blog about 2020 Trends (just like every other MF in marketing out there) but it wasn’t a generic list of AI this and 4th industrial revolution that, it was more around trends of topics I wanted to see come through on social media. However, the elephant in the room, made a lot of trends seem inconsequential – a bit like Kim Kardashian posting about a $ 2 million birthday party on a private island, mist a pandemic, and said, “we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time” because yes Kim, you are so used to a “normal” life.
To be honest, I haven’t written anything for about 4 or 5 months, purely because I thought there were far bigger issues and happenings (in my life and the world) to focus and put time into a writing a blog post. I also just couldn’t think of anything relevant to write about (still can’t to be honest). I saw a lot of blogs and posts that were around keeping sane during lockdown, how people found side hustles, how to do a cartwheel while wearing a mask, and a lot of posts from wannabe motivational speakers on LinkedIn.
That said, it is easy to look at your troubles and go, “Oh well, there are far worse issues in the world at the moment, so I really shouldn’t be complaining that my level of unconscious anxiety peaks when I need to go buy loo paper and simultaneously might put my life at risk by catching a deadly virus.”
Wrong. You can worry about that, and you can also worry about the starving children who aren’t eating or getting an education because ministers would rather spend R 37 million on a chicken wire border fence, than worry about educating and feeding the mass population. Don’t be like Kim Kardashian, but also don’t think that your issues aren’t relevant because somebody else has got “bigger” issues.
This is becoming more of a conversation with myself, but here are a number of learnings that I had from 2020, and maybe you did too.
People who stayed in touch during lockdown are real friends, don’t take them for granted
Job security is something that you need to work your arse off for – we saw global companies shutting down in a number of weeks
Family, if you are lucky to have one, is an extremely important foundation and pillar during crisis, happy moments, and they will always be there for you
Up skilling – something that I have decided to continue to do in 2021 but increase this goal ten fold. I am half way through a part time degree, but 2021 is the time to learn a 3rd language too. No idea which one just yet, but certainly a local one.
Appreciate the outdoors. I have always loved nature, being a game ranger would be the ultimate job for me, and I have increased my snorkeling, surfing, and hiking, the past year (when we could, and in 2019). But during hard lockdown, it really made me realise how much I had the urge to be outdoors and just get fresh air. So 2021 is about increasing that, be it a hike, a paddle, a swim, or a run.
Focus on the important issues. I did and still do, get annoyed when I see people breaking covid rules, but what is the point? They don’t care about anyone else other than themselves, so why should I give them any ounce of my time? Our president banned all beaches, lakes, rivers, lagoons, and more in hotspot areas, but people are still deciding to flaunt the fact that they are going on these rivers, lagoons, and oceans, and it annoys me because they are the reason why this lockdown and certain rules will continue to be in place. But it really shouldn’t annoy me. So 2021 is going to be about focusing on what really matters, friends, health, and family.
This bladdy pandemic. It has been brought up in most conversations that I have, it comes up when in meetings, and even when I am relaxing watching Netflix. I am pretty good at sticking to the rules, I wear a mask, I keep my distance, and I am just not a dick about it. Which – unfortunately – a lot of people have decided to be. It blows my mind a bit, when I see people out and about flaunting the rules as if they are Iron Man – not realising that it’s not about them, but if they are spreading it. That is where the issue is, people are selfish.
It’s a very simple solution – don’t be a dick.
The one thing that has really stuck out for me, is that people lack so much empathy and it has been quite an eye-opener. But the empathy aspect with people isn’t really what I am going to talk about, because I know people are dicks. What there needs to be a big change in, is empathy from celebrities and people also need to start selecting who they make famous. I for one, am going to start being more empathetic to people – friends, family, people who I interact with etc.
I saw a Tweet a few weeks ago, about a celebrity boasting about buying a Mercedes during a pandemic and claimed it was the best investment he had done, and encouraged others that buying a luxury car is a great investment. Thankfully a lot of people spoke up, 1) pointing out how badly he was reading the room, 2) pointing out that a car is the worst investment you can ever buy, 3) pointing out that he 100% is paying off his car on a monthly basis and must just get back in his hole and stop trying to live out his means.
This empathy thinking needs to start happening, quickly, across media, advertising, conversations, retail, restaurants etc.
The more empathetic the content is that people consume, the more empathetic they will end up being.
Empathy can be brought up in so many examples. A big one for 2020 is BLM – if people just cared about other races, religions, and people, like they do themselves, there wouldn’t be such hideous people in the world who think others are less based on colour. And if they do think others are less, just stfu about it – not hard.
Short and sweet, be nice people.
PS: Here is another pug, feel good about yourself.
I wrote an article, blog, script (whatever you want to call it), the other month about how absolutely nobody cares about you. It was somewhat well received, just over 5 500 reads, and I’ve had a few people ask me to write something about what I have been up to – none work related – to keep busy. So, here it goes.
Firstly, I would like to clarify that this is my first, and hopefully last, global killer virus pandemic that I have lived through. I am 27 (at the time of writing this – incase you read this is 10 years time and wonder what I’m talking about), so I was also not in WW1 or WW2, nor was really impacted by H1N1, Spanish Flu, Black Plague….. well, any global disaster – viral or war – to be honest. So I am not speaking from experience, I am just speaking from what I think would be a good way of handling things when speaking to your customers, potential customers, and even your staff.
I am going to keep it short, as I’m sure a lot of us are a bit tired of reading about COVID-19.
This is a terrible time for everyone, unless you sell hand sani and face-masks of course, but there are also a few upsides to being on lockdown. I mean, it’s only regarded an upside if you decide it’s an upside – or you can mope around all day and watch shitty reality TV on Netflix until 2am in the morning and repeat for 10 weeks (we hope this ends soon), and the issue is you will leave lockdown feeling like you have achieved nothing because you’ll see Tony who did a half marathon and 30 minute core workouts every single day, got his yoga instructor certificate, and got verified on Tik Tok. But, if your upside is watching Love Island on repeat and chowing pizza for 10 weeks – by all means, indulge my friend.
All that said, this is an awesome opportunity to reassess. From a personal perspective, that’s what I have been doing over the past 10 or so weeks, and it has been hard. There have been weeks where I have been down and demotivated and achieved none of my personal goals, and there have been weeks where I achieved all of my personal goals. To make reading this slightly more digestible, I’m going to write the areas in my life that have reassessed in a list format – purely because a paragraph about myself might just make me vomit, and I also don’t want to share too much about my personal life with a bitcoin scammer who could be reading this.
This was always going to be hard, because I have never been good at sticking to personal goals – even when a raging pandemic wasn’t around – but I was determined to try. After reassessing how I perceive goals, I learnt that I needed to re-look how I set goals completely and instead of setting out 10 goals for a set amount of time, I decided to set goals per week and then carry them over and add more goals the following week. So for example, week 1 was to be more aware of other people and their emotions and what they might be going through, and week 2 was the same as week 1 but then I added that I wanted to be be more mentally active before 8am – ie read a book, read a poem, or learn something. I also decided that it doesn’t matter if I don’t reach a certain goal or if I slip up, it literally does not matter.
Sense of achievement
This sort of follows from my last sentence in the point above. I always had this ideation that I needed to achieve my goals outright, in order to have them achieved. This lead to me either giving up on them or forgetting them when I didn’t achieve them within a few weeks. I reassessed this, and I decided that even if I try, and fail or slightly achieve something, I have achieved my goal. For example if it is to lose weight and eat healthy, if I have a week of indulgence, I shouldn’t just give up on my goal, it was a break and the goal needs to carry on. If I lose 5kgs instead of 10kgs, this isn’t a fail as I have still achieved something.
I think this is something that a lot of people have realised during this pandemic. I reassessed, and realised what friendships are worth maintaining and what “friendships” are not. The ones that check-in, talk to you every day, once a week, or even just once a month, are worth keeping and holding onto. I have always had friends that have different opinions to me, and I love that because it means we can go from joking around to having very deep conversations in a matter of moments. I think it would be incredibly boring and not very stimulating if we all shared the same opinions.
Social Media has become even more addictive, because people are at home and can scroll the whole day. I recently downloaded Tik Tok and discovered a whole new world of subcultures – as Vogue wrote about from a fashion POV. I had just been understanding Twitter subcultures, which was a mine field on it’s own! But, all that said, social media has always been a place that I share personal photos on, but I decided to start following creative accounts and I created an account that is a creative outlet for myself. I logged out my personal page for a while, and mainly just scrolled through content that I really got a positive vibe from and whenever I put my phone down, I was happy. I solely follow accounts that focus on creative and food – so that is all I see, in my feed, in my search, and even in adverts. One might say I beat the algorithm, HA.
Support Local. This has been a movement on it’s own for a while, and the pandemic has spearheaded it, and I can’t wait to see what local brands do in the future. Tshepo Jeans, MaXhosa, Bathu Shoes, and others, are making huge strides locally and internationally. Merchants on Long have always been the pedestal for brands to leapfrog and have always supported brands that are local, with an undying passion for African brands. If you want to get more involved in supporting local, start with them, as they have hundreds of designs and designers. This movement goes further than fashion, retail stores (I hope) are going to start stacking their shelves with more local products opposed to imported products, and I will be buying them. I have set my goal – long term – to have my cupboards 70% locally made clothing, which I am happy to say that my jean collection is already at 80%.
I have become far more aware of my community and my country, by engaging in conversations online and in real life. Conversations around BLM, LGBTQ+, GBV, and Supporting Local – these are real life issues, that aren’t just a hashtag. You need to understand why these movements are fundamental to society, and not just post a black square and feel you have changed the world. I am a straight white dude from Cape Town who enjoys oat milk with his cafe lattes, I will never understand what it is like to be part of the LGBTQ+ community or what it is like to be black – or both. However, I can educate myself on why these movements are so important, and how I can support my friends, family, and businesses, that are part of those communities. I have had deep conversations around all these topics during lockdown, and I am proud to say that all my friends and family are on the same page with these topics. We don’t give two shits who you love, what you look like, who you praise, what you eat, or how you speak – what we do care about is if you are kind, that’s it.
This has been really important to me as I am currently studying, but I am also aware that there are thousands of people and children who have had their studies interrupted. I decided to reassess my understanding of learning – of course getting high school and tertiary education is highly important, that’s why I am studying part time – and so I have been delving into the world of Webinars, live IG/IGTV, Zooms, and free courses online. The amount of industry leaders and thought leaders that have shared knowledge, for free, during this pandemic is incredible. The true beauty is that you can watch these learnings and conversations from wherever you are in the world – you don’t need to physically be at a festival or an event – because it has all been streamed. I have learnt heaps, and it has been incredible.
Mental and Physical Health
This is also an important one that I reassessed, because ever since leaving school I have struggled with physical health, probably because I am lazy shit and prefer to sleep in, but partly because I was always involved in team sports. However, I decided that physical fitness doesn’t mean running a half marathon like Tony, but it could mean going for a 10 minute walk, doing a 20 minute stretch, or finding a quick HIIT workout on YouTube and doing it before dinner. Being healthy is what you make of it, we live in a world where billionaires, models, and a false perception of success and happiness is rammed down our throats 24.7 – but to be honest, absolutely nobody cares. I love the ocean but I used to avoid the beach because I didn’t like how I looked – I would literally avoid doing something I loved because I thought people were laughing at me – but when I eventually did go to the beach and realised that literally nobody cared, it was freeing and now I go as much as possible. This is similar to a lot of people, who don’t do what they love because they are worried about what some random dude might or might not think about them. Some people avoid painting, even though they love it, because they are worried that their bulldog might think their still life pot plant is crap. Others might avoid running because they can’t run without coughing up a lung after 200m, yet nobody is even noticing that (for all you know they might think you’ve just finished a 21km). I have decided to just do what makes ME happy – do do do – because why not?
From a marketing perspective, it’s time to sit back and look at all your marketing plans, channels, methods, strategies, and possibly do an audit – and see where you can improve, what can get dropped, and what is actually working well. Reassess how you speak to your customers, how often you engage with them, what drives them, what makes them interested in your brand and it’s marketing.
People like it when others care – funny that.
What is probably costing your company a lot at the moment, is the cost of previous business and marketing strategies, failed campaigns that are still running, a brand strategy that is so ingrained – but actually isn’t working, a product that is making a huge loss (but a few others aren’t so you keep it), distribution channels that are old but it’s too much of an effort to update them, and more. Companies that grow fast and are successful for a while, often fall into the trap of not being able to pivot and suddenly their strategies are outdated and they are restricting movement and further success of the business. Yes, the business might still be very successful, but it could be even more, and now is a great time to change those strategies and re-look at them. If this virus doesn’t kill your business, at least allow it to make it stronger. If you have time, reassess everything. Internal communications also plays a huge part in how business operates, make sure that the people working for you feel safe and secure during this period, and they will come back stronger, ready to put in all the effort. Why? Because people like it when others care – funny that.
Don’t let this virus kill your business, allow you to make it f***ing stronger.
We have moved into a space where nobody wants a product shoved in their face anymore – we want high quality engagement, we want brands to make us feel more than just a piggy bank, and we want to feel that the brand is human and actually cares about us. Brands that are communicating with their audience about how they relate to them during this period, and brands that are constantly keeping their customers updated with facts, stories, engaging posts, and competitions to keep people interested – will be the ones that come out of this on top. You need to keep top of mind, even if it means talking about a virus when you normally talk about pet food. Pivot, adjust, change, make the conversation happen, and just show people that you care.
I think to sum this up nicely – just fucking care about other people. Social distance, wear a mask, not for YOU but to protect people FROM you, and just be a good oke.
PS: Here is a dog looking boujee to make you smile
In my previous post I said nobody cares about you. That was prior to a global shut down due to a killer virus. But, they probably still don’t.
So, unless you live under a rock, on an island, or you’re part of Big Brother Germany – you should know about the pandemic, known as COVID-19 (not the Chinese Flu, Mr Trump.)
Disclaimer that probably isn’t needed: I am not a doctor, obviously, nor have a lived through a global crisis (health, war, or financial).I’m a millennial who works in advertising.
Before we get stuck in – making fun of a pandemic is some peoples way of easing their anxiety and making life slightly less stressed. Here is an article filled to the brim of memes, videos, and some feel good factors – click the link to enjoy. FUNNY SHIT DURING A PANDEMIC.
What to do in a global pandemic
Number 1: Don’t be an asshole
This should be pretty obvious, but it seems that a lot of people don’t quite understand how to be a decent human being midst a global crisis. That is basically the only thing I can think of, but some other things people probably should be aware of:
Pay people who work for you. If you see them once a week, once a month, every day – pay them. We live in a world, believe it or not, where you can send money without touching the person. Mind blown. People who live on day pay literally need that income to keep their kids fed, tummies full, and for survival.
Tip your UberEats driver – you should normally – but just do it. A lot of place have said free delivery, so put that R 10 towards someone who is doing a service that is keeping a restaurant open, and your cravings satisfied, and probably their income flowing.
You can eat out. Just keep ya distance. Most places have sanitiser on tables, as you walk in, and clean the tables before and after every customer. Also, tip the waiter – more than normal.
If you have a sniff, stay at home – simple. If someone in your family is an at risk person, how would you feel if they got it via a local transmission? Pretty angry, probably.
If you live in a flat that has old people, offer to do their groceries for them.
Stay clean. It’s blown my mind how many people are only now realising that you should wash your hands after taking a shit. After this global pandemic ends, I am still going to be doing the elbow greeting – f-that noise.
Get outside but at a distance. You can go for a walk. You can go for a run. You can do exercise. You can keep healthy. Just don’t spit on anyone. Obviously.
Watch sport that is being live streamed, watch highlights of your team winning – you will always be unbeaten, this amazing for an Arsenal fan. I have recently become a big fan of watching online chess and E-sport – I literally just need some competitive adrenaline.
Wear a mask, wear a hazmat suit, wear whatever keeps your mind at ease. If someone makes fun of you, cough on them. JOKES. Do not do that. Just pray they get the virus. JOKES. Don’t do that either. If someone makes fun of you for keeping your mental and physical health in check during the pandemic that is literally causing financial and world destruction – tell them to fuck off.