Building an authentic and impactful presence in Africa
In mid 2017 DUO was appointed by Oracle to build awareness and brand recognition in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
The goal was to change the prevailing perception of Oracle as being a database business to a company defining the future of enterprise computing. A requirement was to make use of aggressive customer advocacy to demonstrate successful customer implementation of Oracle’s technology, how its solutions supported the digital transformation of business and to highlight customer satisfaction.
Part of the communications objective was to secure business media coverage to make C-Suite executives aware of Oracle’s cloud and emerging technology solutions. The aim was to help a business audience get a better understanding of how technology solves business challenges and provide a competitive edge and not just how it works.
DUO immediately went to work to set up the PR fundamentals, gain strategic market insights and build thought leadership. Our team participated in an onboarding workshop to understand the business goals and messaging, and agreed on an SLA to guide our activities and ensure we work towards a common goal. We prepared media lists for each region and maintained them on an ongoing basis.
We worked on a 90 day plan to sustain Oracle’s media share of voice among influential media and increase visibility in mainstream business media. We delivered media relations including interviews, briefings, press releases, thought leadership articles and feature participation to gain media coverage and further Oracle’s impact.
For social media, we were to assist with the development of weekly content calendars, designed to highlight the different parts of the business, with the content published to Twitter and Facebook. In addition, the DUO team had to identify B2B technology influencers with whom Oracle Africa would engage with. These tactics formed part of a holistic social media strategy to drive further engagement and increase the platforms’ following organically.
DUO’s solution was to create authentic content in the form of thought leadership articles, press releases and localisations to emphasise Oracle’s cloud solutions, while supporting the narrative of each country. Whether it was the Kenyan government’s Big Four Agenda, the Nigerian economy being bolstered by a thriving small to medium enterprise (SME) community and its government’s vision to become one of the largest economies in the world by 2020 or the State of the Nation (SONA) address in South Africa, the content we created tapped into the news agenda and touched on how technology can solve some of the biggest challenges on the continent.
We achieved authenticity by speaking to Oracle’s leadership teams, conducting desktop research, staying on top of local news and collaborating with our in-country partners.
We found creative ways to weave a customer story touch point into almost every piece of content we created, prioritising local customers, but also bringing in global customers where relevant. It was important to highlight customers’ business challenges, digital transformation successes and the value they realised from Oracle’s cloud services. The DUO team delivered customer advocacy through written content in the form of thought leaders pieces and press releases, but also through social media posts and videos.
In terms of social media, we conducted an audit to evaluate the audience demographics, organic reach and engagement of content, and to identify topics that resulted in high organic post performance. We developed weekly content calendars for Facebook and Twitter that focussed on Oracle’s line-of-business priorities, with posts being scheduled for publishing following approval. Ad hoc posting included those for events, secured online news coverage, customer success stories, and more.
The DUO team further identified B2B technology Twitter influencers in South Africa and the region with whom Oracle Africa engaged with. In an effort to truly engage and not simply interrupt, these interactions leveraged conversations that were initiated by the influencers themselves. Our responses provided them with additional information – whether Oracle blogs, YouTube videos, or online news coverage – that was highly relevant to their original posts. Ongoing engagements have helped form a relationship with these influencers, which has resulted in them sharing Oracle content with their own audiences.
We reviewed our performance on a quarterly basis, identified news themes we can tap into and provided consultancy on how we can jointly go about improving PR and social media’s performance. We also conducted a quarterly competitor analysis across traditional and social media and made recommendations based on the analysis.
After a year, DUO delivered 650 pieces of coverage across the three markets, with a marked increase in the quality and calibre of coverage, especially in top tier business publications.
DUO secured coverage in Business Day, Business Report, Financial Mail and Sunday Times in South Africa; in Business Daily, Daily Nation and The Standard in Kenya and in Business Day, New Telegraph, The Nation and This Day in Nigeria.
South Africa’s business titles are particularly challenging when it comes to obtaining coverage for companies not listed on the local stock exchange and we succeeded by connecting Oracle’s narrative to local news drivers. Examples include linking cloud adoption to government’s drive to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Job Summit and how blockchain can prevent future tragedies such as the listeriosis outbreak and Life Esidimeni and can address the challenges at State Owned Enterprises (SEOs).
We went from three customer coverage pieces in the second quarter of 2017 to 65 pieces of customer coverage in the corresponding quarter in 2018 (equivalent to nearly 40% of the total coverage for the quarter).
In terms of social media, while there has been moderate improvements in average daily reach and impressions of Oracle Africa’s content, there has been a sharp increase in the number of average daily engaged users on Facebook. There was a noticeable increase in the total number of link clicks, retweets and likes of Oracle Africa’s Twitter content, leading to a slightly higher engagement rate. DUO created 50 influencer engagement posts over the course of the year.
A key highlight was two pieces of coverage in Business Day and one in Business Report. Headlines in South Africa such as SA enterprises turning to cloud to ease security and growth, Oracle unveils new cloud solutions in South Africa, Time for Africa to embrace the cloud and Oracle on how blockchain can transform transactions in South Africa demonstrated that we achieved our goal of positioning Oracle as defining the future of cloud computing in an authentic manner.
In Kenya we achieved headlines such as How cloud computing can up Kenya’s growth, Cloud computing can improve local realities in Kenya and Autonomous tech key to business growth.
In Nigeria headlines including Oracle Blockchain technology will boost Customs revenue by 50%, Blockchain technology, others have transformed business in Nigeria – Oracle, Nigeria 2018: The state of cloud adoption and Oracle positions for uptake in Nigeria’s tech market highlighted Oracle’s key messages and customer successes to both business and trade audiences.
For social media, continued engagement through Twitter with identified local influencers has started to yield results. This has included interacting with most of the posts shared, while four influencers have further begun retweeting the content shared, helping increase brand visibility in an organic manner.