At the helm of South Africa’s Interactive Advertising Bureau is Paula Hulley, who officially begins her new role as CEO of the IAB SA from 1 July.
The IAB SA champions digital in South Africa. This requires collaboration and connection across all the industries digital touches.
Hulley is approaching her strategy as CEO with a spirit of continued conversation, and mindfulness of the various needs within the body. She will build on the foundation set by her predecessor, Josephine Buys, focusing on the IAB SA’s five priority areas.
- The creation of a trustworthy digital supply chain
- Building brands digitally
- A consumer-centric approach (not just in terms of consumption/purchasing, but also what they want to achieve that digital can assist with)
- Making measurement make sense
- The transforming publisher landscape
“A key philosophy for me, and it always has been, is partnerships and collaborations. The IAB globally and IAB SA are platforms for the industry to shape the industry they’re in,” Hulley says.
“By prioritising dialogue with IAB members, establishing what we can do for their business, I can ensure we are a living industry body that always adds value.” This ethos, in tandem with the five areas of focus, will inform her strategy.
Exciting times for digital
Now, more than ever before, finding ways to up your game is crucial, particularly in the digital world. There are many exciting opportunities for those willing to embrace the challenges all media industries face.
“South Africans have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the creative application of digital technology. So while the market can be tough, I am excited about our combined potential and problem-solving abilities,” Hulley says.
One of the challenges is finding and placing digital talent. The current industry calls for all-rounders, people who thrive when taking on multiple roles and understand their digital role in a wider context.
Agencies face the challenge of navigating the current procurement model and striking the balance between maximum return on investment and the appropriate allocation of skills.
The area of digital measurement holds great opportunity for digital practicioners to illustrate their value to brands. “Knowing what metrics can be tracked to convey tangible outcomes is a big project for us,” says Hulley.
The IAB SA has partnered with Effective Measure (now rebranded Narratiive) to create a standard measurement process, which reflects best standards and practices.
The IAB SA draws from a global network of insight into digital, and has its finger on the global pulse. These are the Hulley’s top four digital trends:
- A focus on brand safety and how it is being looked after in the digital supply chain
- A focus on user privacy and data regulation, particularly the impact of POPI on digital
- New ways in which augmented reality is being utilised
- Developments in voice search and image recognition
The power of digital
Despite the challenges, Hulley believes digital is powerful for audiences and advertisers.
“Digital can connect at scale immediately. That capability is only going to become more powerful. I am personally most excited about this and digital’s immersive and engaging capability – whether within the technology sets, or the diverse teams it takes to solve problems together. I believe that digital is as its best when it is part of an inter-connected ecosystem (business and channel) that is created to uplift or upscale current life-experience, perception, sentiment – or simply created to increase our ability to connect and create joy,” she explains.
A wealth of digital experience
Hulley is no stranger to the IAB SA and its work, having served previously as vice-chairperson of the board for a year and a half, and head of the Agency Council. But before even joining the body, she had 15 years of experience working with digital, both on the creator side (creating tools and content for brands) and on the strategy and commercial side, during her time at Ogilvy.
“The main theme through my career has been sitting down and listening to a number of specialists and pooling knowledge and multiple technologies to create something bigger than the sum of its parts,” she says.
And she won’t be alone in her quest at the IAB SA. She’s excited about the team she will be working with and maximising on IAB Global resources and applying them within the vibrant local context.
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
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