The sixth annual MOST Awards was full of surprises as the best South African media agencies and owners were announced at a ceremony in Johannesburg on 4 September. Vizeum Cape Town won the Best Media Agency Award, and Times Media Group (TMG) walked away with the Best Media Owner Sales Team Award. There has been a notable improvement in scores across the board since the launch of the MOST Awards in 2009, making it particularly tough to reach and maintain the top positions.
“A recurring theme over the years has been the critical importance of having knowledgeable employees who are committed to delivering ‘good old fashioned’ service. From discussions with category and overall winners in previous years, it is evident that these companies have not simply paid lip-service to the need for formalised and committed training programmes for their staff,” says Brad Aigner, managing director of Freshly Ground Insights (FGI).
The MOST Awards is an independent web-based survey commissioned by Wag the Dog Publishers and conducted by FGI to help media agencies and media owners to assess and improve their service delivery to their clients, and to their media owner or media agency partners, which ultimately will lead to a better industry for everyone.
The Lamb award for companies who receive between 25 and 30 votes was presented to media owner Mxit, and media agency Mediaedge: CIA Johannesburg, both for the first time.
Six criteria were ranked in order of importance and used as weighting factors for the rating scores given by professionals from media agencies and media owners voting for their counterparts in the survey.
From a media owner perspective, the most important performance criterion expected by media agencies was ‘knowledge of client brands and the market landscape’, followed by ‘knowledge of the media landscape’. The former has also been rated the most important criterion every year since it was included for the MOST Awards survey for media agencies. ‘Communication’, ‘professionalism’, ‘involvement’, and ‘empowerment’, follow in order of importance, as the remaining four performance criteria.
Vizeum Johannesburg was voted as the Specialist Media Agency Winner for the first time, and Vizeum Cape Town came out on top as the Full Service Media Agency Winner.
This year the performance criterion considered most important to media agencies in terms of their expectations of media owner sales teams was ‘knowledge of own brands and media landscape’. Significantly this has been rated as most important in four out of six years of MOST Awards surveys. It is evident that media agencies continue to value well-trained media sales executives who are supported with relevant marketing collateral for their brands. ‘Service delivery’ remains a crucially important deliverable to media agencies, with this criterion having been ranked as either most important or second most important since the MOST Awards started in 2009. The remaining four performance criteria, in order of importance, are ‘knowledge of client brands and the market landscape’, ‘innovation’, ‘involvement’, and ‘empowerment’.
The media owner category winners featured newcomers and stalwarts. The SpaceStation was awarded the Digital Media Sales Team Winner for the fourth time; Primedia Broadcasting upped its game and was selected as the Radio Sales Team Winner for the first time; TMG kept up its exemplary performance as the Newspaper Sales Team Winner for the fourth time; Caxton Magazines got to the top of its game and was ranked as the Magazine Sales Team Winner for the first time; Continental Outdoor Media outplayed its competitors once again as the Out of Home Sales Team Winner for the fourth time; and DStv Media Sales regained its leading position as the Television/Cinema Sales Team Winner for the fourth time.
Jedd Cokayne (The MediaShop) and Andrew Cooper (Primedia Broadcasting), whose sales team took top honours in the radio sales category
The Legend and Rising Star awards are presented to individuals for outstanding contribution to the media industry. Names are submitted by respondents to the survey. These names are then considered by a panel of previous winners using selected criteria. Panellist votes are added to these from respondents thus ensuring a thorough and rigorous process. The 2014 MOST Awards tightened up on criteria and the rules now specify that a person can only win the Legend and Rising Star awards once.
Harry Herber, director and former group CEO of The MediaShop, won the Media Agency Legend award, and Adelaide McKelvey, managing director of Continental Outdoor Media’s rest of Africa business, won the Media Owner Legend award. Wayne Bishop, managing director of PHD Network Johannesburg, won the Media Agency Rising Star award.
A special award that celebrates selfless contribution to the industry was presented to Paul Middleton, managing director of Ebony and Ivory. He won the Shepherd Award for his continued commitment to the media and advertising industry.
“The purpose of the MOST Awards is to set industry benchmarks that are on par with global standards. Wag the Dog Publishers likewise aims to keep improving the standard of the MOST Awards, not only in terms of how much fun we have at the event, but in the quality of the results. We had consultations with all stakeholders to ensure the survey questions remain relevant. We had a record number of participants this year,” says Sandra Gordon, CEO and founder of Wag the Dog Publishers.
Freshly Ground Insights (FGI) exceeded their voting target of 6 000 votes for the 102 media agencies (listed in the questionnaire) and 110 media owner sales teams respectively. The integrity and independence of the results remains of utmost importance. External statistical experts Consulta verified accuracy of the results. A few basic changes were made to the MOST Awards questionnaire and certain statistical analyses to the final data in order to yield greater variance in the scores given by MOST Awards ‘voters’ to media agencies and media owners respectively. As a final measure to maintain the validity and integrity of The MOST Awards results, the survey method and data analytics were reviewed by the analytics department at the University of Pretoria and given a clean audit.
“A consulting statistician has been commissioned to assist the FGI team in building greater variance into the results data. In recent years we have noticed that the final MOST scores for companies, especially the top performers, in certain categories have been very ‘close’, sometimes with just decimal points separating them. A methodology was developed to manage any instances where small, statistically insignificant variances in overall scores occurred between companies. Specifically, voters were asked to nominate the best performer in each category in which they voted. This metric was used to break the tie.’
“This year, ‘voters’ were asked to rank the six performance criteria in order of importance before selecting companies to vote for. This ranking data was used to weight the criteria scores given to each company that was voted for. Voters were asked to give a score out of ten for each performance criteria for each company selected. Finally, various exponential transformations were applied to the weighting scores and criteria scores in order to yield greater variance in the final MOST scores for each company. From this process, we are confident that the end result has delivered statistically valid distinctions between the final MOST Awards scores for the companies that were voted for,” says Aigner.
Research reports can be purchased and provide analyses and competitive comparison of votes across the six criteria and by region and size, to facilitate improved performance.
IMAGE: Tanya Schreuder (Vizeum Cape Town), Sandra Gordon (Wag the Dog), Trevor Ormerod (TMG)
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