HomeStandard StyleDigital future indaba explores new communication landscape

Digital future indaba explores new communication landscape

New technologies continue to disrupt the way corporates function the world over. Executives grapple with the challenges associated with the introduction of innovative methods of doing business, and the emergence of start-ups that continue to shake the business landscape.

public relations with Lenox Mhlanga

Sonia Sengupta
Sonia Sengupta

The need to keep pace or be history is more critical now than ever before, and opportunities presented to learn and dissect new skills and processes are a dime a dozen. Getting the “real deal” when it comes to such information sharing and training seminars or conferences is difficult in our environment where cutting corners has become the norm rather than the exception.

The public relations and marketing sectors, being at the coal face of corporate communications, know and feel the need to keep up with changing technologies. Their survival and relevance depends on it.

It is in this vein that Techzim — a news blog focusing on covering business and information technology news, views and reviews about products and services in Zimbabwe and the surrounding region — has once again teamed up with TBWA Zimbabwe, a globally linked agency that understands “disruption”, in its most creative forms, are organising the Digital Future conference — Zimbabwe’s largest gathering of digital and marketing minds on May 11 and 12 2017.

The conference brings together professionals from various sectors to address the marketing and public relations challenges presented by growing digital advancements globally.

After a hiatus in 2016, Digital Future 2017 presents speakers from renowned organisations, under the theme Digitise, Monetise, Realise.

Marketing executive for MNet’s eastern and southern African channels, Sonia Sengupta — will bring insights from her experiences as a market researcher for GfK (the fourth largest market research company in the world), specialising in telecoms, consumer electronics and gaming sectors for the Angolan, Mozambican and South African markets.

Sengupta will unpack the threat of digital to traditional industries such as broadcasting, publishing, tourism and transport, helping attendees to come away with an understanding of how these industries can harness the digital space to compete and stay relevant.

With two companies in a race to become the first trillion-dollar business: Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Apple, Digital Future will feature Dane Knezic at this year’s conference. Knezic is a technical solutions consultant at Google, specialising in advanced measurement and attribution solutions across Google AdWords, Analytics and Tag Manager.

As a measurement specialist, Knezic primarily works with clients in implementing advanced analytics solutions, and will shed light on where analytics fit into digital strategy. Attendees will learn how to track the performance of their brand’s digital activities, and how to optimise digital spend and maximise return on investment through analytics.

Online reputation management is a critical success factor for every brand. Kalay Maistry, Business Unit head at Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants will present specialised knowledge drawn from over 20 years’ experience as a journalist and broadcast technical advisor.

With experience as a southern Africa correspondent at organisations such as Al Jazeera English, SABC, Talk Radio 702 and eTV among others, Maistry will help attendees grasp the fundamentals of crisis management, and how to monitor a brand’s reputation and feedback online, turning customers into brand ambassadors in the process.

Kalay will also provide an invaluable reputation management training session to give insights diving deeper into best practices and case studies in steering a brand in the public eye — both online and offline. The training will allow attendees to learn to create strong, actionable reputation management strategies with a clear return on investment.

Digitally-minded corporate backers such as TelOne, Telecel, Gtel and DStv are joining Alpha Media Holdings in promoting the Digital Future platform that will enrich local corporate entities and individuals through seminars and specialised training.

They all represent brands that are highly visible, well-established and respected in Zimbabwe, with digital services and platforms that are central to their brands. TelOne offers telecommunication and multimedia services, and recently launched the TelOne Data Centre and Cloud Solutions, allowing them to host huge amounts of data as well as migrate billing to a prepaid system.

Telecel is one of Zimbabwe’s three mobile network operators that offer customers affordable high-tech mobile phone products. The company provides a variety of digital telecommunications solutions for both the corporates and individuals.

Gtel, whose mission is to connect everyone through what they term, “world class, affordable, innovative and accessible products and services”, will also be present as is DStv, one of Africa’s entertainment and television companies. These companies represent the advent of digital, both locally and internationally.

At Digital Future 2017, attendees will learn more about the impact of digital on traditional industries such as broadcasting, publishing, tourism and transport, helping attendees to come away with an understanding of how these industries can harness digital to compete and stay relevant.

Alpha Media Holdings, the publishers of The Zimbabwe Independent, a business weekly published every Friday, The Standard, a weekly published every Sunday and NewsDay, a daily, are the media partners to this must-attend conference. AMH publications have a visible digital footprint and are pioneers in their genre.

Digital Future 2017 will be held in Harare this week at a local hotel and more information can be found on

Lenox Mhlanga is an associate with Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants. He has worked with World Bank Group and lectured in public relations at the National University of Science and Technology. He is a communications specialist with over 16 years’ experience. He can be reached at

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