Digital Marketing star, Darren Struwig

Find out how this poster boy for Digital Marketing went from modelling in Johannesburg to Digital Strategist in London in a few months.

Darren Struwig is proof of how the world’s leading course in Digital Marketing can change lives.

In 2013, he was 22, an ex KTV-presenter and part time model. But this go-getter decided he belonged in the exciting new Digital Marketing field. So in April 2013, he attended the BrandSchool Digital Marketing course.

Without any prior training in Marketing, he mastered all the skills and went on to ace the exam.

Just a month prior we’d trained an MBA graduate with Honours in Marketing and 10 years marketing experience at Unilever. She also passed the international exam and did very well, but Darren’s results were exceptional. Which proves you don’t need a background in marketing to excel in the course.

The Digital Career Passport in Action

A few months after acing his exam, Darren packed his bags and flew to London.

Just 30 days later he landed a position as Digital Strategist for an up and coming agency.

Darren is living the Digital Marketing dream. He’s proof of how Digital Marketing can literally be your passport to a brand new career.

But he’s not the only person whose life has changed because of our Digital Marketing course.

From Wine maker to Wine Estate Marketing Manager

In future posts we’ll tell you about the winemaker who longed to land a position in marketing. He wrote to tell us he landed his dream job after completing our course.

From Retrenched Events Manager to Social Media Strategist in 5 days

Then there’s Jonathan, the events manager, who lost his job a week after passing the exam. He landed a great position with a Digital agency 5 days later.

From Intern to Marketing Manager at Intel

And then there’s Kholekile. When he began the course he was a communications intern at an insurance company. In January 2016 he landed a position as Marketing and Communications Manager for Intel.

As if that wasn’t enough, he was then offered a position with L’Oreal in Paris or Milan and asked to choose which country he preferred. He chose to stay with Intel.

From Student to Entrepreneur

And let’s not forget all the young entrepreneurs who started their own agencies after attending our course. All over Africa.

We’ll profile these talented entrepreneurs and their agencies soon.

They pursued their dreams. You can too. And we’ll help you do it.





1. Engage with consumers, don’t dictate

Brands like Coke understand that great content marketing means you need to engage with consumers, not dictate to them. Red Bull is leading this drive more than any other consumer brand, especially in Coke’s market.

2. Create “Liquid and Linked” ideas

Coke talk about the need to “produce liquid ideas that earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.” “Liquid” content is made of connected sub-stories that connect to the dominant brand story. Red Bull has been doing it for a while. Their brand story about how Red Bull “gives you wings” is perfectly illustrated by guys flying through the air on bikes, snowboards or in Felix Baumgartner’s case, breaking the sound barrier 24 miles above the earth. 

3. Content needs to be great

Coke wants to create space for “big, fat, fertile thinking”, committing to bigger thinking – “seeking bigger transformational actions over small incremental thinking.” Coke don’t want their content to “get lost in noise”, or worse, become irritating to their fan base.

4. Earn attention and build trust. Sell later

Don’t interrupt consumers or intrude with marketing messages. Say something relevant and interesting. Best of all, get them to talk about your message.

“Coca-Cola can no longer rely on 30-second TV-centric brand communications… we must instead create the most compelling content in the world… we have to have fat and fertile ideas at our core.” Jonathan Mildenhall, VP Global Advertising Strategy & Creative, Coca-Cola



5. Have a purpose

Coke’s over-arching purpose for content is “to make the world a better place. It’s a strong mission statement that they can be held accountable by their fans. The idea of Coke’s “Live Positively Principles” sounds like a big area to expand into from a content marketing stand-point and can work with an unhealthy product.

6. The importance of data

“Data is the new soil for ideas to grow…”, says Coke, “data whispers are the new messiahs.” Coke recognise the importance of data as a part of creating those big fat, fertile creative briefs and that they need to be brave, to measure what happens, to “iterate, iterate, iterate” and improve what they do based on what they learn from data.

7. Storytelling binds content together

Coke talk of “value and significance”, recognising that engaging content must engage consumers and spark conversation (Nandos has always done this so well, and so has Virgin). Stories need to be expressed consistently through every possible connection to have a real impact on popular culture.

8. Commit to Strategy 

Coke has a 70%-20%-10% model for content creation. 70% of content will be low risk and take 70% of their time resource.
20% of their content will be more innovative. It will work harder to engage the audience at a deeper level and carry some risk.
10% of their content will be high risk, based on brand new creative ideas.

“We have this belief in great, real content and creating content that can be spread through any medium as part of our “liquid and linked” strategy…My team, the digital communications and social media team, has been re-formed in the last year to look more like an editorial team at a long-lead magazine… with a production schedule and an editorial calendar.” Ashley Brown, Director for digital communications and social media, Coca-Cola Company








When social media began to dominate the world, Coca Cola hoped it was a fad. Joining the trend would mean revolutionising their entire marketing culture.

social media marketing strategy


It’s one of the biggest ironies of the social media space. At first, the world’s most sociable consumer brand was floored by a sudden shift in the marketing landscape.

With the rise of social media, Coca Cola found itself a wallflower, watching from the sidelines, as new, upstart brands began to monopolise the hearts and minds of young people worldwide.

All of a sudden trendy youngsters had become obsessed with tweeting and iPads. Coca Cola became peripheral to the real time documenting of youth, life, love and good times – all its proud brand properties since the days of the “Mad Men” of Madison Avenue.

Social Strategy

While strategising how to adapt its marketing strategy to the increasingly social web, Coca Cola marketing executives were frank about the cultural challenge they faced.

Historically, they had always maintained market share and brand dominance by buying attention.

Not by sweet-talking customers.

The usual route had been to fire up their ad agencies to pitch huge creative ideas, then plough these into TV ads en masse, until the consumer was thoroughly “brandwashed”.

Big budgets ruled back then. Not so much now.

In the end, Coca Cola’s marketing team could no longer stay on the sidelines. The whole playing field had changed. A whole new world beckoned, and respectfully and cautiously, they decided to change their marketing culture.

A New Playing Field

Change would be strategic, would be built up steadily, not by throwing big budgets at social media – the rules of which were still being defined. They would not just tag social media and content marketing onto their existing media mix. The party boy would change his moves and learn to flirt with consumers in a whole new way.

The marketing team piloted a few radical changes on a small scale – nice campaign ideas and a story-led corporate website in the UK, later copied by the US site. Response from consumers built confidence in a whole new way of doing things. The Coca-Cola marketing machine was slowly gearing itself up to take control of the brand new social world.

Its temporary social inhibitions would soon be a thing of the past.

20% of Its Budget For Storytelling

In 2011 Coca-Cola started to show signs of its former marketing confidence. CEO Muktar Kent stated that 20% of its £2.5 billion global marketing spend would go to inbound media (mainly content, social media and SEO). And Coke’s creative heads  announced that Coca-Cola was shifting to a storytelling approach.

In 2012 stories about the company continuing to champion storytelling were signals of bold change.

The most sociable brand in the world was finally stepping back onto the dance floor, to lead the dance. Confident in its ability to seduce consumers again.

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1. Focus on the main selling point

It’s common knowledge that web readers have all the attention span and focus of a puppy on speed. If you’re lucky enough to catch attention you won’t hold it long, so place your main selling point or top benefit front and centre. A funny opener can hook them, but the well-executed pitch converts.

2. Keyword stuffing is a No

Example: Do you like kittens? Kittens are furry and fun. You could buy a kitten from us today! Kittens love chasing string.

Keyword stuffing is a really bad idea. Not only does it ruin content for the reader, it can actually hurt your SEO efforts. The keys to effective SEO-optimised copy are balance and ingenuity.

Inject keywords into tight, relevant and interesting copy and the suspicious “stuffing” will disappear. Use your imagination to fit keywords into text in unexpected ways.

3. Polish and cut

The push for constantly updated content makes it less likely content managers have spent time editing. Successful ad copy, articles and landing pages need to be edited. And edited. And edited again.

Tight copy doesn’t necessarily mean short copy. It means that every word works hard, and weaker words are deleted. Short sentences always work better than long ones.

4. Adapt your style to the brand’s personality

Brands don’t care if your friends think your status updates are hilarious. They care if people buy their products. When writing for different brands, make sure your writing style doesn’t always sound the same. Each brand needs a specific tone that appeals to their particular target audience.

5. Focus on benefits not features

Wrinkle-resistant fabric is a feature. Being able to exit a plane after an 8-hour journey, with a crisp-looking shirt, is a benefit. Readers don’t care about a product’s features unless you point out how it will make their life easier, better, faster, cheaper or healthier. Always focus on the benefits.


Forbes Magazine summarised the key trends in Digital Marketing in 2012. 

  • Outside channels of communication have greater credibility to employees than internal channels
  • There are 4 marketing mindset shifts: 
    1. From focus on users to users and voices – the influencers of your brand 
    2. A shift from segmentation to segmentation and re-aggregation 
    3. From telling to delivering 
    4. From marketing to facilitation 
  • The future of retailing is delivering exceptional customer experiences daily 
  • Mobility is now a cornerstone of marketing and sales
  • Digital marketing automation companies are having the most success in both B2C and B2B markets
  • Personal reviews of products can increase conversion rates by 100% or more 
  • Social media is PR 2.0 
  • Analytics, social and mobile are dominating new venture projects 
  • Cross-social platform support and social integration are very needed in the market. 
  • Publishing, landing pages and analytics & dashboards are 3 areas of social media critical to getting right digital marketing strategies to succeed 
  • CRM is in for a disruptive series of innovations to streamline compliance and increase adoption.  While Salesforce has done well on the SaaS platform, it is getting a reputation in larger corporate accounts of being hard to customize and use.The Facebook-like interface of Chatter is a good start 
  • Mobility is dominating the VC landscape. 
  • The 8 rules of Big Data are:
    1. Collect everything
    2. Give data to get data
    3. Start with the problem, not with the data
    4. Focus on metrics that matter to your customers
    5. Drop irrelevant constraints
    6. Embrace transparency
    7. Make it trivially easy for people to connect, contribute, and collaborate
    8. Let people do what people are good at, and computers do what computers are good at
  • The 4Cs of Marketing have become more important and relevant than the 4Ps.  The 4Cs include Content, Context, Connection and Conversation. Marketers who are earning the most trust view these 4Cs as an ecosystem that need continually valuable, unbiased, intelligent content. 
  • Your Customer’s social graph is the new segmentation. AT&T had a 0.28% adoption rate for a new service using segmentation.  When they used the social graph, the adoption rate increased to 1.35%.




Today’s marketing professionals need quick, strategic, hands-on training in specialised skills – especially Digital Marketing.

Gone are the days when one could spend months or years studying specialised courses. And even then, textbook learning doesn’t always produce the calibre of professional needed to hit the ground running.

As a marketing professional today, you want to catapult yourself up the ladder – or at the very least, up-skill quickly. You need something fast, with a quick return on investment.

And above all, you need to be trained by industry experts who don’t only deliver theory, but practise the skills they are teaching – daily. Digital marketing student

Add to the mix the option to choose to proceed further to certification and you have a recipe for career success.



Highly skilled Digital professionals are in short supply. Especially in Africa.


Watch this space.


The power of copywriting in a digital world.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to brush up your writing skills.

You’d be amazed how profitable that can be.

Here’s why…

In October 2011 I received a very challenging brief. It was for a very expensive product my client couldn’t sell.

They’d tried different writers in the past, but nothing worked. Sales were so bad, they were planning to can the product and return the unsellable stock to the supplier.

The product – a CD Rom on how to trade Forex – sells for R9,995… Worst of all, customers were going to be asked to spend almost R10,000 on this CD Rom, just before Christmas.

And I knew nothing about trading Forex.

So what happened?

I did a LOT of research and wrote the letter. All 18 pages of it.

The result?

My client began selling the product online in November 2011.

By the 2nd week of January, 97 people had bought the CD Rom. That’s just under R1 million from copywriting in two months. And an ROI that runs into thousands.

Never underestimate the profitability of the pen.









David Ogilvy, who only began his career in advertising at the age of 39, went on to become one of the most successful ad men the world has ever seen.

By the end of the Sixties he’d led Ogilvy & Mather to billings of $130 million, rankings among the top 10 agencies in the USA and the esteem of millions of ad agency execs around the world.

A reverence that continues to this day.

In 2011, to commemorate what would have been Ogilvy’s 100th birthday, the Cannes Advertising Festival rolled out the longest red carpet ever seen.

Aside from being one of the greatest copywriters who ever lived, Ogilvy was famous for his belief that ads should focus on selling products rather than entertaining people.

But in truth, he did both.

The man was a born storyteller.

But before he began telling a product story he sometimes spent as much as six weeks combing through research to find a product’s USP – unique selling

He liked to say great advertising is marked by “a burr of singularity” — a “big idea” that sticks in a person’s mind.

Such methods came to the fore in some of his most famous ads.

Dove soap’s long-lived promise — “One-quarter cleansing cream. It creams your skin while you wash” — stemmed from information Ogilvy gleaned while visiting a pharmacy.

The famous Rolls-Royce headline — “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock” — was a detail buried in a research report, discovered by Ogilvy as he read everything about the car business he could find.

Sales of Rolls-Royces climbed 50 percent in 1959, a year after the campaign launched.

At times, this rational approach took an inspired turn. En route to his first Hathaway ad shoot, working with a tight budget for a print campaign, Ogilvy bought a black eye patch for $1.50 from a shop.

The legendary “man in the Hathaway shirt” brand personality was born and became closely identified with a series of eye-patch-wearing characters who collected butterflies or conducted orchestras at Carnegie Hall.

The ads made Hathaway shirts and Ogilvy instantly famous.

It was the first time that shirt advertising had focused on more than just the shirt itself.

The result?

Sales of Hathaway shirts more than doubled.

Ogilvy struck another first, as part of a campaign he created for Shell.

For the first time in history, an ad explained what went into petrol and how the ingredients in Shell petrol benefited users by giving them more mileage.

And he went on to demonstrate that message in a dramatic way in a 60 second TV ad.

Many other oil companies used similar additives in their petrol and an almost identical manufacturing process.

But they’d never bothered to tell the market about it.

Because Shell was the first to explain the process and how those additives could benefit car owners, they became the leading petrol brand in the market…

Of all the great Ad men, Ogilvy was the finest storyteller of all. Pretty ironic considering his focus was to “Sell” rather than “Entertain”.

He was a master at doing both.