Celebrating and creating legacies
Liezel van der Merwe, Managing Editor of FLOORS in Africa Magazine, says that hosting the SA Flooring Awards in October 2013 was one of the hallmark achievements in her career. The prestigious black tie event was held at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank and all the movers and shakers in the local built environment attended to celebrate excellence in flooring.
“The first South African Flooring Awards was my father’s, the late Schalk Burger, vision. He produced the first magazine dedicated to the South African flooring industry and it meant a lot to me to be able to pull off a successful event that was dedicated to his memory,” says Liezel.
Liezel adds that being able to positively inspire and influence people, and collaborate with the team at the magazine, is what gives her energy each day.
“Your dreams can come to life with vision, strategy and hard work. The positive impact you have on people’s lives will be your legacy,” concludes Liezel.
Work hard and make your own luck
Roxanne Mancini, Editor of FLOORS in Africa Magazine, says one of her greatest achievements was taking on the role of Editor and Business Unit Manager at the magazine a few years ago. Not only did she feel that it was a nod to her capabilities, it was exciting and challenging at the same time.
“It was an honour to accept this promotion to be the editor of a very prominent title in the industry. I knew that I had big shoes to fill as Liezel van der Merwe had been editing the magazine for many years, so the bar was set high,” says Roxanne.
Roxanne adds that moving into a senior management role and being a part of the strategy of the brand and the transition into digital platforms is daunting and thrilling.
“My advice to people is to work hard, make your own luck and you will be blessed in return,” concludes Roxanne.
Being a part of the digital revolution
Business Unit Coordinator at FLOORS in Africa magazine, Madelein Smith, has been with the publication for almost two decades. One of the most exciting times in her career has been helping clients move to digital platforms.
“Change isn’t always comfortable and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. Moving from a print only publication to offering a complete range of digital platforms was challenging but also very rewarding,” says Madelein.
Seeing clients increasing the amount of exposure their brands receive and being a part of this digital transformation has given Madelein a sense of accomplishment.
“Mastering our online content management systems was a great experience as I enjoy learning new things. Seeing our clients’ messages reach more people and the affect that this has had on their brand engagement makes me proud,” concludes Madelein.
Let the interviewee guide you to the heart of the story
As journalist and copywriter of FLOORS in Africa magazine, Adrienne Brookbanks interviews many people in the built environment, but one of the articles that stood out for her was this year’s Custom Flooring Feature. The captivating feature took readers on a journey through the creative process that interior designers follow when they are hired to create unique and often complex projects for clients.
“Many times, the designers have to find out-of-the-box solutions to meet the aesthetic and performance requirements of clients. South African designers are very resourceful and they often go above and beyond to either import the right products or to partner with a local flooring manufacturer who can design something from scratch. I found it inspiring to hear how designers collaborate with clients to bring their projects to life,” says Adrienne.
Revamping the look and feel of our magazine
Each year, the editorial team at FLOORS in Africa magazine considers how we can spruce up the look and feel of the magazine’s cover as well as the layout of the magazine. Graphic Designer Leanne Eksteen is most proud of the cover design launched in 2016.
“The revamp in particular stands out for me because the design was quite a big change for us. The big visual of the floor, smaller logo and unique typography at the top of the cover contributed to a powerful design layout. We also opted for a black logo, which is associated with power, elegance and formality,” says Leanne.
Another change in the design of the latest cover design is that it is printed on matt, which is attractive and stylish. The magazine’s striking, contemporary cover received great feedback from readers.
“It’s always good to up your game and keep changing. Never doubt yourself and consider a revamp annually,” advises Leanne.
Getting maximum brand exposure for clients
Advertising Account Manager at FLOORS in Africa magazine, Santie Koch, says her journey into the flooring industry has been an eye-opening experience.
“Coming from a background of general advertising, it was a refreshing change to work in such a niche sector. Since joining the FLOORS team, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with clients and brainstorming marketing strategies to take their brands to new heights in a very competitive industry,” says Santie.
What Santie enjoys the most about her job is working with clients to create powerful content strategies, regardless of their budgets.
“We can customise a campaign to make sure that clients get the most bang for their buck. I love finding different ways to use our platforms to gain maximum exposure for a client’s brand. Our platforms have a very targeted audience so I’m confident that my suggestions will give brands the visibility they need in the flooring sector,” says Santie.
Believe in your goals
In an area where digital noise is the order of the day, it’s refreshing when a new digital project, or a change in existing digital strategies, yields the desired results. It is for this reason that FLOORS in Africa Magazine’s Digital Manager, Tania Wannenburg, sees the revised digital blueprint for FLOORS in Africa and the subsequent relaunching of the Building and Décor website as some of the most notable achievements of her career so far.
“Whenever we take on a big project like this, we have very specific objectives in mind. I truly believe in the vision and goals for our digital media strategy and it’s rewarding to see us moving closer and closer to reaching all of our goals,” says Tania.
While Tania says that big change rollouts can be stressful, the key is to take a deep breath.
“Be like a duck – make sure you appear calm and collected on the surface, even if you are paddling like crazy underneath!” advises Tania.
Better content strategy
Geraldine Murray, Digital Coordinator at FLOORS in Africa Magazine, says that being involved in the content strategy change of the Building & Décor Facebook page was particularly rewarding. Geraldine and her team were tasked with transforming the page from a predominantly consumer-driven platform to one that professionals in the flooring industry would value and engage with.
“Changing content strategy always comes with a few risks because you could lose existing audience or it could negatively affect the growth of the social media page. In the end, we succeeded in attracting the right kind of professionals in the built environment to our Facebook page and we continue to receive great feedback about the content we share,” says Geraldine.
Geraldine adds that one of the key takeaways is to be open to change, but to adopt change slowly.
“When a big ship needs to turn, it happens slowly. Content strategies can’t change overnight. It requires careful planning and execution to be successful,” concludes Geraldine.
Working together to achieve results
Lizzy Mathibela supports FLOORS in Africa Magazine with digital projects and events. Lizzy is renowned for going above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done at the magazine. What Lizzy values the most about her work is the collaboration with team members.
“I cherish the relationships that I have with everyone at FLOORS. Working together as a team to deliver an outstanding magazine is everyone’s top priority. Having a common goal gives you a greater appreciation of the skills that each person brings to the table on bring projects like a magazine,” says Lizzy.
A career highlight so far was the magazine’s roadshows because she had the opportunity to receive feedback from readers.
“The roadshow gave me the chance to really connect with people who read our magazine and this was a great experience,” concludes Lizzy.