In this issue of Communicare, a number of authors explore various aspects of message content in a variety of contexts. The emphasis in this edition is on message-creation strategies as they pertain to contexts that range from the institutional to the personal. It seems particularly relevant to focus on message content amid the emergence of new technology that has enabled the public at large to access and afford new means of interaction and communication via the Internet's intelligent web services and fast broadband. Greater access has resulted in a proliferation of so-called user-generated content that refers to media content created and published by amateur (or non-institutional) communicators who have previously simply been content consumers. Clearly, phenomena such as these specifically challenge institutional communicators to reconsider their message strategies, and to revise top-down approaches to determining message content.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is a central bank. It is the public institution responsible for managing the South African monetary policy. Any decisions taken by the bank and how these decisions are communicated affect all the participants in the economic activity of the country. This study undertook a thematic analysis of the media releases, monetary policy statements and SARB Governors' speeches delivered between 2008 and 2009. It revealed that the SARB, through having achieved a relatively high level of economic and policy transparency, achieved lower procedural and political transparency. The results also indicate that, despite there being an increased demand for the accountability of organisations to a broad spectrum of stakeholders, the SARB directs most of its communications to only a relatively limited group of stakeholders.
This study aimed to discover what specific beliefs of students at a South African university should be addressed when trying to persuade them to go for HIV counselling and testing (HCT). The participants were 113 students from a previously disadvantaged university. The students completed a questionnaire that included questions about participants' HCT intentions and about possible predictors of such intentions. Students' HCT intention proved to be positively related to their perception of having control over their HCT behaviour (self-efficacy), and to their perception of social pressure towards going for HCT (perceived norm). The students' belief that they would not be either too afraid or too stressed to go for HCT contributed positively to their self-efficacy, as did the belief that they would be able to deal with the possibly disadvantageous outcome of the HIV test. The students' belief that their parents would approve of their going for HCT proved to be a strong and positive predictor of their perceived norm. Furthermore, perceived susceptibility to HIV/AIDS was positively related to HCT intention, and stigmatising attitude towards people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) was negatively related to HCT intention. These outcomes suggest that in trying to convince black students in South Africa to go for HCT, developers of promotion messages should focus on students' susceptibility to HIV, on how to deal with the possibility that their parents might not approve of their going for HCT, and on how to cope with a possibly disadvantageous test outcome.
What is described as 'a major leap of faith' by producer Danie Odendaal (Labuschagne, 2010: 62) has turned out to be somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. For one, 7de Laan was, at the time of the study, the most popular Afrikaans soap in that it reached a bigger audience than any other Afrikaans soap, such as Binneland (M-Net and KykNET) and Villa Rosa (kykNET) (TVSA, 2010). It further held its own in the fiercely competitive timeslot of 18:30 during which two other soaps, namely Isidingo (SABC 3) and Rhythm City (e.tv), were then broadcast. The soap has also received the Voters' Choice Award for best soap opera two years' running at the South African Film and Television Awards, thereby confirming its popularity. Although initially commissioned for the upper-income category (De Lange, 2007: 3), 7de Laan now has a much wider audience base, which includes viewers from different socio-economic, racial and language groups. Using reception analysis as point of departure, this study used in-depth interviews with a cross-cultural sample of viewers to describe the appeal of 7de Laan.
The editors of Communicare have made the decision to depart from its normal editorial policy and to publish the following non-refereed case study of a super music brand - Queen, and its brand director, Freddie Mercury. This is written in a unique personal style by Aubrey Malden, a college contemporary of Freddie Mercury's who studied marketing and advertising with him and who witnessed the making of the band and brand, from an insider's perspective. Aubrey is himself a marketing expert and author. This article follows several riveting presentations on the said topic by Aubrey and his partner, John Griffin, to spellbound audiences throughout the country.
So often we seem to speak in abstracts about marketing. We may all nod our heads when it comes to the importance of the basics of digging and delving into the marketplace and thoroughly researching the competition and looking at trend analyses. When we moreover talk about the importance of positioning our brand and differentiating it by means of both an impactful name and packaging that really do express the brand's character, its DNA, we may all nod our heads again.