As an entrepreneur I have often wondered why so many South African businesses struggle to adopt new technologies and trends. I then cast my mind back a good few years and remember a day that a sales man demonstrated this thing called a fax machine. You should have heard the gasps and then the comments: “This is just a fad and it will never take off!”
My first thoughts were “where is the magician hiding and hells bells what a cool thing, I want one!” Like so many other great business tools that have come along, we take our merry old time to adapt and by the time we have them implemented and running in our businesses then next innovation is already on our doors.
New media platforms right now are like the first fax machines. “Ooooh they are never going to work and they are just a fad!” But stop for just a moment and look at the things you as an individual are tapping into – Instant Messaging, Twitter, Facebook, the Internet, Smartphones, Websites – the list is endless. Now imagine that you could combine all those things into a single platform and be able to connect with a community (this being the broad word for the people in your business and personal network).
I can actually see you smiling right now and saying: “Now that would be cool or are you whacked in the head?” Either way these platforms do exist – they are called new media platforms that embrace all of the above and the best part is that you as an individual can decide when and how you want to engage.
The new trend in Africa is live audio streaming that is linked to all the above platforms in a seamless integration that requires just one click. Some of you may call it online radio (but that is just one part of the platform). I have always dreamed big and have been fortunate in my life to work with some of the greatest entrepreneurs globally and they all have said:”Hell let’s try it, what do we have to lose, we can only learn and in the process discover great things.”
So began the conception of www.bizradio.co.za – a multi-media platform that integrates all the new media platforms and allows interested people to interact on their terms and not ours as a business. Along the journey a few other players have joined this adventure and we are all doing well, each catering to a different market segment and in some cases there is a lot of cross over between our markets, but the great thing is that the market determines the content and not the other way around.
I am sure that some of these players will fall off the radar as they are trying too hard to be like regular radio but better and online, but hey lets all play in this new frontier and see where the adventure leads us. I know for sure that the market is ready for this new frontier and that finding like minded people/companies to join you on this journey may seem hard (and yes you would be right) but there are some brave brands out there that liked the concept and see the huge potential of this medium – a medium that they can truly engage and converse with their clients/customers/consumers/competition, etc and really share their knowledge and industry insights in an open platform that is perfect for conversations and interaction.
So what is www.bizradio.co.za – it’s an online space that looks at the world of business and the business of the world and has conversations around marketing/media/advertising/promotions/business /entrepreneurship/lifestyle/travel, etc – in fact it’s a meeting and sharing space for brands and individuals to share what they are doing and are open to discussing what and how they do it and how the market can benefit from what they offer.
It’s not a space where you buy advertising and hope you reach potential customers, it’s a place where a brand comes onboard and says let’s talk about what we do and how you as a consumer would like to engage with us. It’s not scripted, it’s not edited and the interaction through all the social media platforms are there for all to engage and interact with.
Clearly there is a place in the market for what BizRadio.co.za does, otherwise we would not have thousands of (and this grows hour on hour) unique IP addresses per hour who log in and either live stream or download our podcasts or share their own insights online on issues for a period of 1h52 minutes at a time – clearly the content is what is keeping them with us.
Is this not what you would want for your brand? Real engagement and real conversations?
Stop worrying about the numbers/listeners/downloader’s/followers – concentrate on content and creating and sustaining two way conversation and the rest will follow.
Ingrid von Stein is the director of possibility of Indigo Zebra Communications, NGO Marketing and BizRadio.