Q&A with Vanessa Clark

What role do you play as part of the extended Yellow Door team?

I get called in to assist the team with brand and messaging strategy sessions, especially where there is a strong leaning towards technology or a content-driven outcome.

Which of the Yellow Door values do you resonate most with and why?

Authenticity. I’m lucky enough to know a lot of the team socially as well as professionally, and this is something that has always stood out for me. This resonates for me because it means I can bring my authentic self to any client workshop or piece of work, which always results in my best work.

Tell us a bit more about your area of expertise, and why you are passionate about it?

I am a technology journalist, and today that means I ghost write thought leadership pieces for tech leaders, as well as write editorial technology trends pieces. Alongside that, because it makes my job as a writer easier, I help companies figure out their sustainable competitive advantage, and then put this into words to create the golden thread that ties their story together.

Digital technology is an absolutely fascinating space to be in today. We’re busy building our future world right now, so the decisions we make and paths we choose are critical. If I can help that process by demystifying technology, and exploring the space where technology and people intersect, I’ll be happy about my career.

What do you find most challenging about this area of marketing?

It’s so busy, with a lot of hype, scare-mongering and undifferentiated jargon being thrown about the place. In amongst all the noise, you have to find a clear message, articulate that in a compelling way, and then be consistent, persistent and relatable in getting this message out to your audience.

What trends are you looking forward to learning more about/ implementing as part of your approach?

I’ve just spent some time with an incredible group of Agile practitioners and am fascinated with how this approach can uncover knowledge, insights and connections in a group. There is no doubt that this maps closely on to the future of work, where a group gathers together for a specific project and ideas come from anywhere. The top-down way of decision-making and idea generation is just not relevant anymore. Plus, Agile principles and approaches feel far more compassionate and inclusive than traditional ways of working (and having meetings).

Agile is typically associated with software engineering projects, but there is no reason not to (and very good reasons to) apply them elsewhere in organisations. I’m looking forward to experimenting with Agile techniques during branding and messaging sessions.

What are your top three projects or brands that you’ve had the opportunity to work on?

  • I ran Twitter’s local PR campaign when it launched Twitter for Business in South Africa.
  • An article I wrote that I am hugely proud of is a piece on immigration and innovation in South Africa for Brainstorm in print publication earlier this year.
  • Recently I worked with fintech JUMO on its updated brand narrative and new website.

What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?

This sounds very mundane, but often doing the dishes helps! Or going for a walk. My process is to give my brain all the information it needs and then to let it percolate away, trusting it to do the work and deliver the goods. I’m also a big fan of cross-pollinating ideas from unlikely places, so reading something totally unrelated is also usually helpful.

What do you do when you’re not working?

At the moment, working on my Master’s in media theory and practice. And reading, walking, doing Pilates, Instagramming my cats, and getting better at riding my scooter, which I got earlier this year. (Top tip: scooting is super fun!)

If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

Doctor Who (13th incarnation, obviously). Because who wouldn’t want to be an eccentric, centuries-old, rogue Time Lord with two hearts, travelling through space and time, solving problems and having adventures with their human friends?

5 practical steps to grow your online community

At Yellow Door we always talk about having a holistic marketing approach, and community management is a crucial part of this. My role as a community manager is to interact with clients’ customers on social media platforms – to complement in-store customer service.

In today’s world responses need to be quick and on brand; as incorrect community management practices can be damaging to the brand and mean you could lose out on business.

So here are our five best practice tips for community management:

Understand your audience

Before you dive-in and interact with your customers online, you need to know a few things about them.

  • Who is your current target market?
  • What age group do they fall under?
  • What are their needs? (In term of services and products)
  • How they might interact online?

Understanding your audience will ensure that you address and engage with your online community on a level that they can relate to, and will help you create the right impression of the brand.

First message resolution

Responding to your fans’ messages, comments or reviews is important, and solving their queries or complaints first time round is vital to create a perception that this is a brand they can trust.

  • Ask simple, practical questions when unsure of what the customer wants.
  • Provide links to product pages or more information that will resolve the query.
  • Provide relevant departments’ contact details.
  • If it is a complaint, escalate it to the relevant department (ask the customer to provide their contact details).

Consistent tone

Ask yourself, is the tone I’m using on brand? This will help to build a persona for your brand, and enable fans to relate to it.

  • Create a greeting that isn’t too formal or generic (include emojis)
  • Have a general response sheet handy to save time for FAQs, and personalise each reply slightly

Create a schedule

To get to all the important aspects of community management such as complaints, feedback and managing competitions, set aside a chunk of time each day where you will check these interactions.

Engage

Building an online community and creating brand awareness requires that you engage! When the level of interaction around your brand increases online you will be visible to potential customers. Ensure that you respond to each comment, message or review.

Even if a comment doesn’t require a response, you are still able to interact by liking a positive comment. Customers appreciate feeling important to a business, and they are! So always remember that if you take the time to engage, you will see growth online and in revenue in return.

Leadership part 1: what I’ve learnt so far

About 15 minutes in to the first episode I realised why I was hooked (and falling for the main character, which may come as less of a surprise) – it was actually all about leadership. About leading by example, inspiring people and asking one simple question: ‘how can I help?’

The script writer has created a character that I aspire to be like every day. So in this blog post series I plan to reflect on my own leadership journey, what I’ve learnt so far and the impact this has had on Yellow Door. I’ll also explain why developing my leadership style is something I look forward to working on in every chapter of our business, and how I go about this.

But let’s start at the beginning. Soon after we established Yellow Door in 2014, I began to understand the distinction between being a manager and being a leader, and why both are essential in any business.

Dom and I quickly learnt to wear multiple hats , and how important it is to play to our individual strengths. As the team grew, we also realised that she is a far more patient and hands-on manager than I could ever be! In fact, her top five strengths couldn’t be more relevant: relator, communication, positivity, includer and woo (read more about each one here ). So we developed a structure where I support her in this management role, and am happy to step in when needed, but it’s not a primary focus.

When it comes to leadership, we work best as a team. Despite having different leadership styles, our values are aligned, and we make time to connect and ensure we are on the same page every week.

At a stage when I was feeling pretty over my role and questioning whether all the stress and hard work is really worth it (yes, we have those days too!) I booked a one-on-one session with our happiness coach Tammy Godsall . She did a few exercises with me to really pinpoint my purpose, pushing me to identify one word that sums up why I do what I do. And that word was to INSPIRE.

A day when I inspire a team member, a partner or a client energises me and gives me a sense of satisfaction that is hard to beat – even if it’s after a focused four-hour strategy workshop and I’m ready to fall in a heap!

So much of life is about working together towards a common goal, and at Yellow Door our mission is to add value to the brands we work with and to develop the people we work with, even if they are only here for a season or two. But that’s enough rambling for one post… I will leave you with a quote by Madiba, one that isn’t always an easy pill to swallow, but certainly a sign of a true leader:

“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.” – Nelson Mandela

Q&A with Camille Eddy

What is your position in the Yellow Door team?

Marketing intern

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I like to use my creativity and find ways for it to work for our customers

What part of your role do you find the most challenging?

To get my head around all the software that we use at Yellow Door! I already have some knowledge, but I can tell you that my colleagues have a really great level!

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Yellow Door team?

I like the fact that they trust me, even if English is not my native language. I will learn a lot about the language and their different marketing techniques.

What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?

I put on my headphones, and I get on with another task until my inspiration comes back…

What is your pre-work routine?

An apple, black tea, some R’n’B music, and I’m ready to start my tasks!

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

I’d say Wonder Woman, because I’m a brunette and I can show compassion, like her.

What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

I’m in Cape Town with my three best friends from France, so I’d say have a little drink on a Friday night with them to start the weekend. Then on Saturday, to go to one of those little markets in Cape Town where there’s an incredible choice of meals from all around the world. Then go out on Saturday night with friends, and on Sunday rest before resuming the week!

What music do you like to listen to while working?

I would say, that it can vary from French rap to Bob Marley, through to Moby when I feel a little stressed.

Introvert or extrovert?

Before I get to know people, I’m a little introverted. But once I’ve talked to them for 10 minutes, I become totally myself : that means I speak and laugh a bit loud…

Cats or dogs?

Dogs, for sure! I always wanted a Labrador, but my mother never gave in.

Shoes or barefoot?

At home, definitely barefoot. But I think it’s better to put shoes on on the street…

What’s your favourite spot in Gardens?

Roots Café has very good bagels and carrot cake !

Think twice before cutting your marketing budget in a tough economic environment

Although no surprise – we do not agree, and as strategic marketing partners urge business owners to rethink this strategy. Instead of asking how much to cut your marketing budget by, ask yourself how much should your business allocate to marketing?

Well-known American entrepreneur and marketing thought leader, Seth Godin, explains: “If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realise that it is an investment.”

At a time when more than half the South African population is actively looking for information online, it’s never been more important for your brand to stand out from the crowd in the digital space.

It’s tricky to find relevant local statistics, so we’ve taken a look at the suggested spend guidelines from Chicago based marketing specialists Nuphoriq, to suggest how much we believe small to medium sized South African business should be allocating to their marketing needs.

So how much should you be spending?

According to Nuphoriq, your marketing budget – which includes marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and any ‘marketing’ related events – should be about 5% of your sales revenue. (Keep in mind that the 5% is not a static percentage and will have to change from year to year, depending on your business needs.)

This is relatively conservative considering that U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending up 7 – 8% of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising, if your revenue is less than US$5 million and your net profit margin is in the 10 – 12% range.

It’s also important to note that start-ups and new businesses will need to allocate 12 – 20% to launch their brand in the public sphere.

So the bottom line is that the sweet spot is somewhere between 5 – 20% of revenue – depending on the stage of your business journey, your profit margin, and how aggressive your growth targets are.

The basic marketing foundation for any business includes:

  • Branding
  • Marketing strategy
  • Website design and development

Each of these elements is a core focus of our service offering here at Yellow Door – so check out our portfolio section to see examp­­­les of our recent work.

With your website being the first touch point for your brand, it is essential your site is up to date and correctly reflects your brands objective – this is in terms of best design practices, technical maintenance and software updates, as well as general web trends. With online trends continuously evolving, your website should be updated every 2 to 3 years – and these years will require more than the suggested 5% in order to execute effectively. We also try to practice what we preach, so have recently revamped our own WordPress website – check it out and let us know what you think: yellowdoorcollective.com.

So, this begs the next question…

How should you allocate your marketing budget?

Step 1: Set marketing goals

In order to allocate your budget effectively, you will need to identify your goals. We suggest selecting two or three key goals with predefined success measures so that you can evaluate your marketing efforts performance post implementation.

Common ones include:

  • Increase targeted leads to the website – measured by success of digital marketing and Google Ads campaigns
  • Increased conversions – measured by number of enquiries/ subscriptions
  • Increase online sales – measured by sales revenue

Step 2: Check your marketing foundation

In order to reach your goals your need to have a solid marketing foundation.

Check your brand, website, communication pieces and reporting systems to ensure:

  • You have a clear, up-to-date brand that properly represents your company and consistently generates the same brand image for consumers
  • Your brand has a consistent look and feel across all marketing platforms
  • Your website is a cut above competitors in your area
  • You have the correct tools and systems in place to measure the success of your marketing investment
  • You have a solid strategy for business development and marketing related to it.

Note: any weaknesses identified in this step need to be addressed before allocating spend – as it is more than likely that extra funding will be required to address these weaknesses.

Step 3: Spend

With a sound marketing foundation, goals set and success measures in place, you can then begin to allocate your marketing budget.

A brand’s needs will differ from month to month, and depending on their objectives, but here is a rough idea to use as a starting point to allocate your budget:

If you’re in need of a website upgrade, a revised marketing strategy or just need advice on how to launch your brand online then pop us a mail on hello@theyellowdoor.co.za and let’s chat.

Q&A with Jessica Pitman

What is your position in the Yellow Door team?

Junior account manager

 

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

How diverse it is in terms of what I cover with each client – you’re never bored or unstimulated. It’s also a role that provides me with huge growth in many different areas, whilst being in a supportive and uplifting environment. What more could I ask for?

 

What part of your role do you find the most challenging?

Presenting quarterly strategies to clients is nerve-wracking! I’m also learning how to appreciate constructive feedback and not to take it as criticism, which is something I look forward to working on.

 

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Yellow Door team?

It’s rare to find a team of people who are both striving for the best, whilst also remaining authentic, properly supportive and non-egotistical. This is what attracted me to the team from the beginning.

 

What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?

I plough through the Book of Life archives (a sub-section of Alain de Botton’s The School of Life), read, talk to people who I love most, troll Pinterest, or get stuck into an art commission whilst listening to music.

 

What is your pre-work routine?

I’m still figuring this one out, but my ideal pre-work routine would be to make myself a delicious cup of coffee, read one Book of Life article that appeals to the section of my life that needs reflection, do a small meditation, and lastly to walk to work whilst taking in the beautiful Cape Town landscape. This is certainly not how every morning starts, but that’s the ideal one.

 

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

I can’t think of a comic book hero, but when I watched the movie About Time, I thought about the ability to go back in time, to moments you miss deeply and with people who are no longer close by. I would want, more than anything, the superpower of being able to go back to those times.

 

What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

I would replicate the weekend I just had. I’d work on my art, playing music and eating delicious food at my apartment in Wembley with my closest friends around me reading or doing their work. I’d have a braai the next day with friends, and wind down on Sunday with my book or a good series and my twin sister close by.

 

What music do you like to listen to while working?

Anything except for hard rock, rap, or country music.

 

Introvert or extrovert?

Both, but slightly more extrovert.

 

Cats or dogs?

If you had to make me choose – cats.

 

Shoes or barefoot?

Shoes.

 

What’s your favourite spot in Gardens?

The lawn in front of my Wembley apartment, because my sister and our Wembley friends all gather there with the dogs playing around us.

Q&A with Dean Palmer

Q&A with Dean Palmer

By Dean Palmer

Posted on 28th August 2019

I’m Dean Palmer - my actual name is Dylan but everyone calls me Dean! Originally from Delft I now live in Woodstock in a shared digs. I enjoy reading and keep to myself mostly but I can be an extrovert too, when the situation calls for it. I love Harry Potter, fashion and food - I'm not fussy about what, and I'm also a qualified bookkeeper!

What is your position in the YDC team?

I am a community manager for Yellow Door.

When did you start working at YDC?

Monday 22st July, been here a little while!

What part of your job do you enjoy most?

Finding ways to improve the customer’s experience.

What part of your role do you find the most challenging?

Navigating through the various platforms was a bit of a challenge.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the YDC team?

The relaxed environment 🙂

What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration?

I listen to music to get me going, I usually listen to pop or R&B. I currently enjoy Sam Smith’s new music.

What is your pre-work routine?

I just show up!

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

Superman! It would be fun having x-ray vision.

What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

I enjoy reading a good book, I read anything from philosophy to romance. I’ve read ‘The original sin’ by Marius Gabriels, thrice.

What music do you like to listen to while working?

Anything except country music.

Introvert or extrovert?

Ambivert.

Cats or dogs?

Dogs.

Shoes or barefoot?

Barefoot.

What’s your favourite spot in Gardens?

Yours Truly – I love the vibe and everyone’s always friendly.

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This way to your best marketing partnership

Support

It’s a dog eat dog world out there. This is the information age and also possibly the most competitive in terms of marketing. What you need is someone in your corner, the coach that is going to guide you through from start to finish.

As a team we not only care about what our clients do, but why they do it. We offer steadfast, knowledgeable insight and we do it with your vision in mind.

 

Strategy

Any good marketer will tell you that strategy is half the work done. It is no use posting content on social media, having a website or even a brand if you have not put strategic planning into its implementation.

Running a business is business enough – allow us to take a deep dive into your marketing strategy and help you plan your next steps. A holistic strategy takes the vision of the business into account, looks at all the possible avenues for marketing and allows peace of mind for you as a business owner. We analyse your company, the competition and your objectives before putting anything in motion on social media, print and even broadcasting.

 

Creativity

Writer Jack London once said: ‘You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club’.

Every day is different, but challenges remain consistent. As a team we do our best to creatively construct solutions and learn a lot along the way.

 

Implementation

Systems play a big role in the way that we execute marketing strategies. We make use of templates and scheduling tools to keep things constant.

Our relationships with our clients also mean that we remain pliable and open to our clients’ needs. We partner with each one to build their brand presence on every platform that serves them well.

 

Culture

Last, but certainly not least, the backbone of Yellow Door – our company culture. We are an agile group of marketers with adventurous and varied backgrounds. We care about our clients, we care about what we do, but we also care about each other.

This might not seem like an important point for potential clients, but it spills over into the work environment. We go the extra mile and execute everything with integrity, maintaining long term relationships that have stood the test of time.

In summary, once you step inside of the Yellow Door, we guarantee there will be no looking back.

Go on, give us a call.

Junior account manager position

Junior account manager position

By Yellow Door Collective

Posted on 14th August 2019

Reading time: 3 minutes

We’re looking for more than just a kick-ass account manager with a passion for all things marketing – because for us it’s about the culture fit, the relationships with clients that we will entrust to the successful AM, and how much we will invest in them as a person. Sound like something you’d like to find out more about? Read on.

Job description:

Account manager for 5 – 8 mid-size brands. This includes being the main point of contact for each client, creating briefs for social media, blog posts and newsletters, writing social media content; and overseeing an intern who will assist with scheduling, community management and admin.

You will be working in a close-knit team that prides itself on being agile, providing tailored solutions to clients and taking a holistic approach to every opportunity or challenge.

We are looking for someone who has attention to detail, can think on their feet and identify with the company values (having a can-do and care-why attitude, integrity, authenticity and consistency).

Responsibilities include:

  • Taking initiative and ownership of projects
  • Managing a diverse portfolio of clients and being the primary point of contact for 5 – 8 retainer clients in various industries
  • Managing client expectations and quality service delivery (ensuring they are updated on projects regularly)
  • Adding value to client’s business by identifying opportunities outside the scope of work
  • Managing an intern
  • Staying on top of trends and new technology
  • Creating content
  • Briefing creatives
  • Managing work flow and deadlines
  • Overseeing social media community management
  • Pulling and analysing data for reports

Qualifications and experience:

  • A tertiary qualification in marketing or business-related fields
  • At least two years of experience in a relevant role at an agency
  • A comprehensive understanding of all social media & advertising platforms
  • Experience using Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Word and Excel) and Google Docs and Sheets
  • Bonus points for:
    • an ability to write well
    • SEO best practice
    • digital marketing and/ or advertising experience
    • experience using Photoshop or Illustrator
    • video editing
    • experience on Slack, Hootsuite and Business Facebook

Skills and personal characteristics:

  • Professional approach to work and client relationships
  • Personable and able to build meaningful relationships
  • Conscientious
  • Attention to detail
  • Good communication skills
  • Enthusiastic & willing to learn
  • Team player 
  • Hard working
  • Adaptive and good at problem solving
  • Good time management
  • Embraces challenges and feedback
  • Calm and able to manage stressful situations

The perks:

  • Work from home one afternoon/ week
  • Wrap up at 3pm on a Friday if you’ve hit your targets for the week
  • Bonus leave over Christmas and New Year
  • Work closely with our founders Emma & Dom
  • Every day is different, and there is a lot of potential for growth
  • Have the opportunity to play to your strengths and sign up for courses/ webinars to learn new skills
  • Team building activities from yoga in the park to Pecha Kucha evenings!

Start date:

Preferably 16 September 2019

Salary:

R14 000 – R17 000, depending on amount of experience and level of expertise

To apply for the position:

Complete the questions below, and then submit your CV and cover letter at the end of the form.

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Past experiences & future opportunities

Past:

Starting off was hard, coming fresh out of college classes trying to find work was not an easy task. Being me, I automatically wanted to find myself in a junior position doing EXACTLY what I envisioned for myself. But life giggled at me and said, “not today, hunnybunns”; and as a result, I looked for work in different sectors that were more widespread and accessible to people in my position.

Long story short, Yellow Door Collective snatched me up and sat me down for a good few months of intense training. The weeks went by and I could feel my brain re-wiring itself to think, feel and see the world from a more professional viewpoint. As an intern, my tasks were not stuck to any particular framework, I delved into anything I was given, and a little later on, I was invited to delve into whatever I wanted to help with.

Yellow Door granted me the experience and skills to do web development, copywriting, digital design and much more. Working on many a website to do with conservation or retail (such as www.conservationtravelafrica.org and www.boandluca.com), while juggling copywriting for GP/OKCID and digital design for Pick n Pay Plumstead.

Present:

As of now, I find myself near the end of my stay here at Yellow Door, trying to find my way into the UX/ UI and interaction design fields, as it is what I studied and where my heart lies. I often think on how well equipped I feel after my experiences with Dom, Em, Kirst, Sah, Ant, Dan and Janine. They helped me become more confident in myself, allowed me to discover my capacity for growth and allowed me the opportunity to bring forth my work ethic. Thank you all, for the help and direction I needed!

Future:

As for the future… well, what can any of us really say? Yellow Door first asked me in my Q&A post, what superhero I would be if I could, I feel almost as if I have obtained new superpowers during my stay. Superpowers along the lines of proper task management, work autonomy and knowing what to prioritise.

Remember when I said my ideal job was in the UX/UI and interaction design fields? Well, that may be true, but I would not have traded the 6 months I had with Yellow Door for anything. Growing alongside the business, being there for their 5th birthday party, seeing clients come and go while being able to work on a whole host of things in different industries has been eye-opening. Going forward, I now have a base of knowledge that will help me be a well-rounded and knowledgeable candidate wherever I go, the opportunities seem to be that much closer now that the work has been put in and the skills have been sharpened.

That being said, I feel confident I can tame that hulking great beast of a future I know is waiting for me, and I am all the more excited for it. Kudos to you Yellow Door, you’ve been a dream!