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Living Your Brand: Daniel Marcus

A small start-up pulls off a big event and establishes itself as a player in the marketing conference arena.

Juliet Pitman



Daniel Marcus of Living your Brand

Growth might be top of mind for most start-ups but entrepreneurs who think big know that it is possible to play in the big league even if your company isn’t the same size as your competitors. Just ask Daniel Marcus, founder of luxury online marketing and conferencing company, Living Your Brand.

“One of the biggest challenges in conferencing is getting your name out there, and proving that you can pull off an event that attracts both sponsors and delegates – and adds real value to both,” he says. It’s something Living Your Brand successfully achieved with their first Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Conference held in Cape Town in late 2010.

The conference was so successful that a second is planned for May in Johannesburg, and Marcus is busy planning a third in London later in the year. The reputation established by the first conference has attracted solid sponsorship and caught the eye of the marketing community.

Marcus knows a thing or two about how to turn big ideas into successful businesses. He launched the luxury lifestyle publication, Live Out Loud Magazine in Cape Town in 2007, and together with Mark Bernberg created the Poker Room, coordinating poker logistics and online marketing strategies for the website. Experience gained through these ventures allowed him to identify the market niche for Living Your Brand and has paved the way for working with brands such as Bentley, Nandos and the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Doing it differently

“I strongly believe that as a small company it is possible to pull off a really spectacular event,” says Marcus, “I’ve attended so many bland and uninspiring conferences – even the ones with great keynote speakers follow the same format. There’s a speaker, followed by an audience Q&A and the sponsors get their logo on a banner. For me, that’s not enough – I believed there was a market for something different, something that added more value to everyone.”

In addition to headline keynote speakers and interactive audience Q&A sessions, the IMC Conference included workshop rooms where sponsors got the opportunity to present to smaller audiences, providing them with more mileage.

However, as Marcus points out, these sessions were not simply a product pitch. “Sponsors needed to provide the audience with real value and knowledge, using case studies and their experience of current trends. The focus was firmly on education, with the topics closely aligned to the needs and interests of the delegates. We got delegates to tell us upfront what areas they were interested in,” he explains.

Delivering maximum value

The format was a definite drawcard for sponsors – NATIVE, Rocketseed, Bloom Marketing, Realmdigital and HKLM among the top brands that signed up to host workshop sessions – and has contributed in no small part to the

impressive list of sponsors Living Your Brand has managed to sign for the second IMC Conference.

But it delivered on its mandate to add value to delegates as well. “I think this is one of the slickest conferences I have been to in a while,” said one MD in providing feedback. “A super slick experience – nothing to fault,” quipped another.

Diversifying income streams

With the first successful conference under its belt and planning for the second bedded down, Living Your Brand has established a nice income stream  from conferencing. “I believe that the market for really good conferences is huge and it’s something we plan to leverage,” says Marcus.

However, the business also plans to use its expertise in marketing to generate growth in its other divisions – Events, Marketing & Promotions, and Online. “We started out as a company servicing luxury brands, and while we’ve grown into other areas, we’re still able to offer specialist services to brands that target the luxury market,” he explains, adding, “At the end of the day, the key to being successful in all these areas is having great ideas and there’s no shortage of those in this company.”

Living your brand

Player: Daniel Marcus; Darren Kramer (silent investment partner)

Est 2010


Tel: +27 (0)21 671 6362

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

Prev1 of 26

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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