NaMedia: The cockatoo blows forwards and upwards

By Michael Tambo
June 2012
Women in Business
One of the success principles of all entrepreneurs is that they seize the opportunity where others see chaos.

Natasja Beyleveld did just and grabbed the opportunity and today we have NaMedia.

NaMedia first operated as Media Tenor Namibia, before merging with RFS to represent Survey Warehouse.

Beyleveld headed the media department for five years and was offered a bid for ownership by the managing director and owner, Christie Keulder and there came the opportunity she could not waste.

“It was an amazing life-building, changing and challenging road I endured with the company, which was sort of a family to me for five years. Then I bought the media department from Christie and rebranded my passion to NaMedia,” says Beyleveld.

Beyleveld sits as the managing director of NaMedia. The core business of the company is to conduct daily media content analysis of all mainstream print media in Namibia.

NaMedia is made up of five vibrant young women who share the true passion of providing Namibia with the analysis of public perception on key issue trends. NaMedia has a database of six years of print media content analysis, that has provided their clients and the general public with in-depth insight on;
● Media coverage on reputation drivers (e.g. Finance, HR, Ethics, Business Strategy, etc.)
● Media coverage on sustainability reporting (the need to advocate for sustainability)
● Media agenda-setting; the status quo, the most reported on negative or positive topics
● Government and the corporate sector; leaders in industry in terms of voicing economic, political, corporate, or social aspects, and many more (view products and services)
● Being the MD for Beyleveld means that the opportunities are endless and “I have a new-found freedom and excitement (as do my colleagues) to really make this our own.

“We want to work with our Government, ministries, powerful corporate companies; SMEs and pave the way to greatness in the arena of effective communication that has sustainable high standards. It also means that we can collectively convert challenges into opportunities.

“We have had many opportunities to assist reputable corporate companies in public events and it has made me proud to be a part of all that.”

Beyleveld is so passionate about her business and she says, “I believe God created us to be passionate about every aspect of our lives. I love what I do. It is like being remunerated to do your hobby, one that challenges me a bucket-load full!”

Beyleveld explains that NaMedia’s approach in analysing data is a master chef recipe for objective; consistent media content analysis that was developed by the International Media Tenor Association, in co-operation with experts from the universities of Berlin, Leipzig, London, Mainz, Munich, New York, Oxford and other partner institutes of theirs.

NaMedia has professionally trained analysts, not software solutions, for the entire process of media content analysis.

The media analysts identify and categorise each article, sentence by sentence and issue by issue, according to a set of more than 700 defined criteria.

Each article’s content is then appropriately coded and entered into a linked database. Basically, the coded statement in this case, would contain a person or company, the line of business that they are in, the topic at hand, a positive or negative rating (on a five point scale) and the source of the statement or rating. As the data is analysed, if any part of a statement changes (for instance, if a new topic is introduced), a new statement is coded.

“At the end of the month, we do extensive data checks before analysing them. I am able to run filters into the dataset for specific companies or ministries and then determine who or what the main protagonists were, and what the weighted ratings on these protagonists and issues were. We present the data in easy interpretable Power Point format, with written trend analysis to contextualize the analysis,” explains Beyleveld.

Beyleveld says NaMedia’s clients are top mentioned brands in the country that truly works hard to be in position, by addressing a wide variety of issue clusters to best sketch a complete picture of the brand.

Turning to media and journalism, she states that a lot is happening in the Namibian space and she believes journalists are doing an excellent job.

“We have real talent in Namibia and I have seen ‘gutsy’ probing articles asking raw questions and giving noteworthy recommendations. The general media agenda has evolved over the years and there are a couple of interesting examples. Media coverage has also matured on regulatory developments affecting our economy.

“The economic contributors have come into the spotlight more often, as have public demands for accountability when mismanaged at times. I applaud the media for increased reports on sustainability management with most coverage being driven by senior leaders in the respective industries, she points out.”

However, she believes there is still ample opportunity to create a sustainable reporting forum on ‘being green or supporting green’ in Namibia.

“In my opinion, there is very little media coverage on crime against women and children as well as on HIV or any other health matters in Namibia and how it affects our people and economy,” she laments.

Beyleveld is worried that there is also little communication, other than driven from a political angle, on alcohol usage in Namibia and accidents resulting there from. She feels that the medical sector also needs to up its game in talking about the health services and general living conditions in our country.

She firmly believes that by communicating about opportunities and the need for investors, it creates sparks at companies that still need to structure their long-term investment projects.

She has a long list of heroes and what keeps her motivated, “There are many people I read about; ‘over achievers’. I take home whatever inspires me from any person. My two-year-old son -reminds me to pray before I eat most of the time… Nelson Mandela makes me cheer in thankfulness for his compassionate, honest heart.

“My varsity professor and editor of my thesis taught me how to ‘go back to the drawing board’ and to research, research, research. Christie Keulder has made me realise you can be great in many different things and still continue learning new ones. David Nuyoma has inspired me following his advocate for the men and women who sell their food on the streets - challenging perceptions on true entrepreneurship.

“My husband is insanely forgiving and patient. And my biggest hero – my father. He taught me that ‘meisiekind; vorentoe en boontoe’. He is one of the most intelligent man that I know and he values his God and family above all else, despite all the success that he so well deserves,” she beams.

In her spare time, she likes spending time with her family and dear friends.

“I love playing with my son, since it always ends up in heaps of laughter. I love braais, family reunions, sleeping under the stars, cooking and watching a great movie. Otherwise, I go for a walk and praise God for the open skies, fresh air and count my blessings to make sure I know where they come from,” she concludes. PF