Some people say you should reflect every few months of what you’re learning and what you’ve learnt. It will help you see where you’re going to. For me, I think my 2 year milestone at Cerebra is the perfect time for some reflection.
First thing I have to point out is that working for Cerebra had always been a goal of mine. Took me a while to get here but if I had to redo it, I wouldn’t change the way I got here. That alone was a learning experience for me, and considering where I worked before, chances are I may have actually never moved to Cerebra in the end.
But a move I did make, 2 years ago, I took the leap and have to thank Mike in believing in the youngster n00b that I was. All said and done though, I had cut my teeth in social for 1 and half years before moving to Cerebra and before that dabbled somewhat in and out of the arena.
So in 2 years what did I learn?
1) I learnt that South African social landscape is up there with the rest of them high flyers internationally. I also learnt that we’re a pretty small industry with even fewer players and we all tend to compete for the same business. Even though we’re competitors, we’re also friends and sometimes astound people at how open we are about sharing between agencies, friends, family and businesses.
2) I learnt that I am, along with my colleagues, a much sought after commodity in the industry. There aren’t many skilled Content Creators who are also amazing Community Managers. Various people in the industry are skilled in one or the other, but very few of us are skilled in both. Cerebra has taken the time to develop us as content strategists, content creators and community managers. It’s not always easy but it definitely has enabled us to be among the best in the industry.
3) I also learnt that our thinking is not far off from our international counterparts and in some aspects we’re actually ahead of them. Let me explain. I had the privilege recently to have come face-to-face with the deputy campaign manager of Barack Obama’s re-election. It was a learning session and learn did I but I also had an epiphany: “Shit, we know our stuff!”. While many first world countries have to think of mobile as a source of interaction, we’re there already. We specifically cater for mobile within a South African and African audience. While we have moved to platforms i.e. Facebook & Twitter, Cerebra is taking a step back and looking at the art of storytelling. While we may be short on resources we are freely sharing our IP and teaching classes, which leads me on to my next point.
4) I learnt I am capable of teaching a class, and capable of helping build course work material. In the last few months you would have noticed Cerebra actively sharing information and white papers, giving talks and teaching classes like our Social Media 101 for first time social users and our high level Content & Community Management Masterclass. Cerebra has put these classes in the control of those that actually do this work on a daily basis i.e. Cerebra’s Content & Community Managers.
5) Lastly, we have taken a monumental shift in the way we think and approach business. We’re a social business with a focus on content production and strategy. We see the value in people and understand that the way humans interact offline is similar to how they interact online. People want to see a human face behind brands, what to be told stories and want to be involved. So we’re involving them.
There’s definitely many more lessons learnt in the last 2 years but the 5 above has definitely left me excited for the future.