January 2014

Life on Long Street

When I worked from home, there was a school next door, and the sounds that would drift in through my window were excited shrieks and yells of break-time games and netball matches. (Side note: teachers should get paid ALL the money.)

Now, in our new offices, it’s the sounds of life on Long Street that filter in through the window – traffic, conversations of pedestrians (both foreigners and locals), sometimes singing, laughter, taxis calling out their destinations, people getting on with things. It’s not that hard to choose which I prefer.

Stepping out onto the pavement, there is so much to see and explore on this vibey street. Each day I notice something different that I haven’t seen before, even though it’s been there all along.

Here is a little taste of life on this famous street.

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It's called Long Street for a reason. The right footwear is crucial for exploring.

It’s called Long Street for a reason. The right footwear is crucial for exploring.

Social Media trends for 2014

So we’ve all finally got our heads around the fact that the working year has begun, and the trauma of early mornings and no afternoon naps has been faced. Let’s get our grown-up pants on, stay on top of our game and check out the trends forecast for social media in 2014.

Stop following me!

Like we used to hang out in our parents’ cars and play CD’s during their lame dinner parties, teens are fleeing social media platforms where their parents (gah just leave me alone!) are encroaching and are carving out their own social spaces online. The fleeting nature of Snapchat seems most appealing – Fast Company reports that “with more than 360 million photos shared – and deleted within seconds – this company is proving that a younger generation is in fact cozying up to the idea of private moments.”

If you can’t beat ‘em…

Google Plus had a rough start with a reputation for being unintuitive and obscure but an obligatory SEO tool for anyone wanting to please the great Google. Brafton predicts steady growth on the platform and hails its unique features: “Google+ offers a lot of functions that other networks don’t have, such as Communities, Hangouts and the ability to share specific content with targeted groups.”

Content is king

To kick off the year, Mashable asked nine successful entrepreneurs how they are planning on altering their social media marketing strategies in the next six months, based on their predictions for the new year. Here’s what Andrew Howlett from Rain had to say:

“To achieve a deeper connection with your customers, a company needs to engage on a deeper and more intelligent level. Short videos, infographics, quality imagery and polls are all ways to engage deeper. Companies need to look at the content they put out and ask themselves, ‘Is this shareable?’ […] Also, companies need to focus on the fans they have and not the fans they want. If your message is always trying to reach out, you’ll bore the fans that have chosen to connect with you.”

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Make your presence felt: Pomegranite workshops

Why do I love running workshops? Apart from the snacks (obviously), I really enjoy helping people craft their voice online – whether it’s through helping them go back to the core and articulate their brand or teaching them the skills to use social media platforms effectively.

Never before have brands needed to be so personable. To stand out in the virtual cocktail party of social media, individuals and businesses need not only to be competent at using social platforms, but also something far more alluring: themselves. It’s easy to be safe, to hide behind generic advertising speak, but when brands go for it online and show some character, it’s magic.

Brand strategy

We work with small and medium-sized businesses – people who started with a great idea and have thrown themselves in and grown it into a viable business. Often, it’s only when they come up for air to consider marketing elements like a website or social media that these businesses realise how important it is to be able to articulate clearly who they are, what makes them different, and how they’re going to communicate that personality. Clients often want to have a brand workshop before we build their website or run their social media for them.

Social media training

Our social media training caters to everyone, from wary individuals to corporate teams. What I’ve learned is that everyone gets a kick out of becoming comfortable with a new way of expressing themselves. Some of our clients are individuals wanting to develop their voice online in order to make their mark in an industry; some are businesses wanting to use their team (who better?) to represent their brand. -One thing is clear across the board: a strong voice online is valuable currency.

If you’d like to chat to us about booking an affordable workshop, just pop us a line – we’d be happy to see what we can do for you.

 

 

No laughing matter: Launching comedians’ online presence

The way things are going these days, if your business doesn’t have a website, people tend to trust you a bit less – or at least consider you slightly less professional. Even if you get up on stage and make jokes for a living.

Towards the end of last year, Pomegranite was approached by two Cape Town-based comedians – Kagiso “KG” Mokgadi and Angel Campey (yes really, Angel) – who needed websites. Both had impressive Twitter followings, but they needed a platform where people could find out more about them and book them for events.

Kagiso “KG” Mokgadi is a quintessential comedy heavyweight. We built him a site with a subtle boxing theme – informed by his tagline: Heavywieght comic with knockout gags.

Kagisi "KG" Mokgadi website

He was chuffed with the result and had lovely things to say about us. Flattery – it will get you everywhere.

Angel – yes, her name really is Angel – is a relatively new face on the South African comedy scene and she has already started to make her mark. Given the name Angel at birth, she didn’t have the career luxury of becoming a doctor or lawyer and her options were limited to being a stripper or stand-up comedian. After a few test runs in front of her own mirror she chose comedy as it made the neighbours boo less violently.

Angel already had a blog, but she needed a professional website that allowed people to contact her and book her for what she does best: MC events. Comedian. Comedic Writer. Tweeter. Blogger. Opinionater and Converting Oxygen to Carbon Dioxide (Free. Special).

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We had a lot of fun working with these guys and it’s always great when clients love the end product. Just one example of some of the awesome people and projects that Pomegranite has brought into our lives.

Who’s next?

 

Microphone image source

Step inside our offices: A photo tour

On 6 January, Pomegranite moved into our new office space on Long Street. 127 Long Street to be exact. It’s been the best decision we’ve made – after starting Pomegranite. Obviously.

While working from home had its perks (like a fridge occasionally full of food and a dressing gown), being in an office space with other humans just makes us feel… a bit more real.

If you’re in the area, pop in and say hi. In the meantime, here’s a little photo tour.

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Yes. That is a phone on the wall. Also, a cow being friendly.

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Just because this phone is pretty awesome…

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The meeting/workshop area, plus a bit of our desks. And what is a desk without Ouma Rusks? Nothing. That’s what.

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Old school chairs

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Looking towards the entrance – and our desks in the background

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Looking out on Long Street

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And one last time – this guy. Just because.

‘GIRLS’ talks to its viewers in their language

Love it or hate it, GIRLS is back and they’ve developed a great online presence ahead of the launch of their third season, which aired on Sunday night. I’m an unabashed GIRLS fan, so move on over if you don’t smile with fondness at these ladies (I’m a lady, you’re a lady, she’s a lady, we’re the ladies.)

 

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Wednesday night

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The show hasn’t gone without criticism – indeed the above images show a group of well-off twenty-somethings staring at their navels – but if you happen to be a twenty-something ‘girl’, it reflects your messy existence better than anything else out there. It’s refreshing to laugh at your own ridiculous naivety and self involvement through this group of undeniably hilarious characters.

The show’s target audience is of a similar age and that market is online. All the time. “For us, this is an increasingly challenging demographic to reach with traditional means,” Sabrina Caluori, HBO’s vice-president of social media and marketing, told Mashable. In the lead-up to the release of season 3, HBO has made some great marketing choices, reaching viewers through a range of current platforms.

Because the show is so quotable, an early mark online was the ‘GIRLS’ Tumblr page (previously WhatShouldWeCallGirls), which posts a bunch of GIFs, memes and fan-art, allowing fans the satisfaction of in-jokes and reliving moments from the show. Their Facebook page has run a fun campaign giving character portraits through emojis (Shoshana’s signature mode of communication) accompanied by translations. Over on Twitter, it’s a family affair with cast and crew members live-tweeting during the show, and answering fans’ questions after the show, starting with episode three using #GirlsFYI. These strategies have been adapted for emerging platforms such as Instagram, Vine and even Snapchat, as well as the usual social suspects like  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The biggest move so far has been the release of the double-episode season premier on Youtube just 12 hours after its release on HBO.

While the show may not speak to everyone, GIRLS is doing a great job of using online platforms to reach its audience.

Five things I’m looking forward to in 2014

I don’t know about you, but lately my Facebook timeline has been full of New Year resolutions. That and engagements (ALL the engagements!) – but that’s a whole other story! People are looking forward to the fresh start that comes with a new year, whether it’s because last year was crappy, or just because 1 January brings with it a whole set of untapped possibilities.

Here are five things in particular I’m looking forward to in 2014:

1)      Working in a real, live office
We’ve been in our office on Long Street for a week now – and it’s been amazing. While working at home in the early days of Pomegranite was ideal (let me just remind you that we started in July, in the cold and the rain, when working in a dressing gown was more appealing than I would like to admit), being in an office with a bunch of other people, listening to the sounds of vibey Long Street drifting in through the windows, feels wonderful. It all finally feels real. And I suspect that we are going to grow more quickly into the business we would like to be because of this new step.

2)      Finding ourselves
Don’t be alarmed – we won’t be embarking on a trip to India armed with a backpack, fisherman pants and a copy of Shantaram. Rather, with each new project we complete and client we meet, we get a clearer idea of the kind of business we want to be, and of the way in which we would like the business to fit into our lives – both now and in the future. I think that 2014 is going to be a time when Pomegranite grows into what we want it to be. And that is very exciting, because we can decide, in a significant way, what we want our lives to look like in 10 years’ time. We can make that happen – and it all starts now.

3)      Exploring Cape Town on two (working) feet
In 2013 I spent a lot of time on crutches. And by a lot, I mean about eight months over the last three years. By a lot, I mean that, at one point my guns would have given Sylvester Stallone a run for his money. So – 2014 is my year of exploring this beautiful city on two working feet. This year I will be hiking, running, swimming and dancing all over Cape Town…. Just as soon as the biokineticist gives me the green light.

4)      Meeting awesome people

Pomegranite has brought so many awesome people into our lives. We have met jewellery designers, environmentalists, race car drivers, teachers, comedians, architects, property developers, actors, designers – the list is extensive. I can’t wait to see who 2014 will introduce us to.

5)      Whatever comes of tough decisions

I’m going to be honest with you – 2013 was full of some horrendously tough decisions. The kind that make you look long and hard at your life and make some big calls about what you want in life. There have been times when it all just felt a bit impossible. But I think, at some point, the universe has to give you something back. A cosmic noddy badge of sorts to say: “Well done, human, for being brave and for taking those leaps. Here is your reward.” Right? Well. Let’s put it to the test, shall we?

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