IAB SA: Enabling growth for our People, Brands, Agencies, Publishers, Platforms

Enabling The Growth of Future Leaders in Digital

Youth Day represents a lasting contribution to South Africa’s history and in 2024, Youth Month holds added significance as it marks the 48th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 student uprising in Soweto and coincides with the celebration of 30 years of freedom. In the dynamic digital media and marketing industry, empowering young South Africans is at the heart of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) South Africa’s multi-pronged approach. The IAB South Africa continues to nurture the next generation of industry leaders through its Youth Action and Education Councils and flagship event, the Bookmark Awards.

Over the past year, the organisation has introduced new initiatives to complement its Youth Action Council (Y-Council), which provides a platform for under-35s working in the industry to actively engage with peers, thought leaders and C-suite executives. As part of its objectives, the Y-Council ensures youth gain valuable exposure by collaborating with established IAB South Africa Councils on strategic challenges and receiving mentorship from seasoned leaders. This fosters fresh perspectives, ensures valuable learnings become a shared experience and the industry remains innovative.

“Young people are the strength that the industry needs to carry us towards the vision of the 2030 customer,” says Razia Pillay, CEO of IAB South Africa. “We cannot do it without their voice, culture, skillset and passion. If we are not willing to embrace the strength of our youth then, quite frankly, we need to step aside. So let’s collectively enable their growth that will drive digital forward.”

A Seat at The Table

Since 2020, the Y-Council has inspired more than 250 young professionals through its Mentor Month initiative and hosts an annual townhall discussion during Youth Month. The popular Townhall webinar allows young people in the sector to come together to discuss issues and topics relevant to them, with previous editions’ themes focusing on topics such as mental health and authenticity. This year, the theme of ‘Empowering Voices: Navigating The Content Creator Economy in South Africa’ emphasises empowering young creators, reflects on the challenges of understanding and navigating the growing landscape of content creation in South Africa and showcases the journey from brand to platform and how these aspects play an important role in the industry and creator economy.

Luzuko Tena, head of the Youth Action Council, says: “The importance of the IAB Youth Action Council to me is profound. It’s not just about fostering talent but about creating a future where the voices, skills and passions of young South Africans are at the forefront of our industry’s evolution.

“I am driven by the potential I see in our youth and the need to provide them with the opportunities and platforms to thrive. This advocacy is fueled by the belief that the energy and creativity of our young professionals are essential to navigating the ever-changing landscape of media, marketing and advertising in South Africa. We must continue to invest in their growth to ensure a vibrant and innovative future for our industry.”

The Y-Council is seeking passionate young professionals from the digital media and marketing industry whose brands, agencies or organisations are IAB South Africa members to join its ranks. As Y-Council members, these youth will actively participate in the diplomacy of the sector through South Africa’s vanguard organisation, the IAB South Africa. Nominations for the Y-Council are open until noon on Friday, 28 June 2024.

Nominate yourself or a peer for the IAB South Africa Y-Council here.

Cultivating The Future

Launched at the Bookmark Awards 2023, Front Row is a youth-focused initiative driven by the IAB South Africa Education Council and sponsored by the Red & Yellow School of Business. With a mandate to contribute to meaningful education and skills development through knowledge consolidation and creation, the Education Council aims to bring about innovative, diversified and sustainable education and skills development initiatives. The Front Row programme is the first step to achieving this goal, specifically targeting gifted Black creative students and granting them access to industry-leading events and mentorship opportunities and internships, promoting a more inclusive and diverse future workforce.

The first iteration of the programme gave 11 exceptional students and recent graduates from Red & Yellow, Vega School, AAA School of Advertising and Digify Africa exclusive access to the Bookmarks 2023 Finalists’ Showcase and awards ceremony. This offered the participants a glimpse into the industry’s pinnacle event but also facilitated networking with influential figures. In 2024, the Education Council and Front Row will welcome 11 new participants to the programme, promising a similar experience to that enjoyed by the previous cohort.

Invaluable Industry Insights

The Bookmark Awards 2024, organised by the IAB South Africa Agency Council, offers yet another opportunity for youth participation: the first-ever Learner Jury. The first cohort of learner jurors will have the unique opportunity to be a fly on the wall during Bookmarks judging. While the learner jurors will not be able to actively participate in judging or affect the outcome of the decisions, they will witness the full judging process firsthand, gaining insights into campaign evaluation and creative critique and preparing them for future careers within digital media and marketing.

IAB South Africa’s commitment to youth development goes beyond a dedicated month for youth. By equipping young minds with knowledge, connections and practical experience throughout the year, the organisation is actively shaping a future where the digital media and marketing industry thrives on inclusivity, shared learnings fresh perspectives and innovation.

For more information on the IAB South Africa Y-Council and youth initiatives, visit the IAB SA Youth Action Council webpage.