BE THE CHANGE
COMPILED BY SAMANTHA BARNES
CREATIVITY. In every area of business is the edge that Oracle Media constantly strives for; to distinguish itself from contemporaries in the social media space.
‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ is emblazoned on the wall at the Oracle Media offices; Oracle Media is constantly evolving.
At last count Oracle Media employs 18 permanent staff from just a few staff two years ago, and is soon to open an additional office in Johannesburg. The Port Elizabeth office is poised to move to upmarket offices, which has been chosen for its excellent connectivity. “Being at work mustn’t feel like the office,” says Oracle Media Director, Neil Barker: “We provide our staff with breakfast, understanding that many people aren’t hungry first thing in the morning. Our team is blessed with a short commute in the Bay.”
“I want to take Oracle Media to a new level of Port Elizabeth company. We are driven. Our staff put in the overtime when required to do so and they get paid for it. This is due to the fact that I haven’t yet said no to any client that comes our way.”
Delivering content from a fresh angle, and not just an item to be
ticked off a ‘to do’ list, is the secret behind Oracle Media’s rapid
ascension from a social media company started seven years ago to
a force to be reckoned with.
Barker has earned his share of the social media spotlight. “You want to know how I landed my first social media contract?” he asks.“Jonathan McConkey, then principal at the Kelston Motor Group extended the challenge: ‘If you can sell a car for me on
Facebook and deliver the statistics on that, we have a deal’.” Barker rose to the challenge and landed the contract; signed, sealed and delivered.
“At the time , PE wasn’t ready for social media.” Barker shrugs, seeing the slowness of some companies to adapt as the need for a wakeup call.
The entrepreneur has had a business on the go since his schooldays;
selling magazines throughout his high school years. “And making money,” Barker adds. He has an incredible work ethic. A gap year [of just over two years] in the UK saw Barker promoted from waiter to junior hotel manager, while completing various courses part-time.
Throughout his articles, Barker had run a company called NW Barker with his brother All this besides juggling other part – time work in his spare time. “I don’t like living off anyone,” Barker explains. “I’m career driven.”
People thought he was crazy when he decided to leave law to become a partner in a property company shortly after completing his articles at Burmeister Attorneys. “They saw me as a lawyer,” says Barker. When this new venture didn’t work out, Barker changed strategy to open a social media consultancy with NW Barker changing over time into what is today Oracle Media.
Social media wasn’t something he had thought of initially, although he had provided content for Burmeister Attorneys social media sites, including driving content to their website. Today Barker is a social media ambassador. “Social media is the way forward,” says Barker. “News has become so negative. Social media is a way of controlling who sees your content. Social media can target a 24- year- old accountant, looking to buy a car; staying in a certain residential area. It is that specific.
“The biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur is to hire staff with the correct education. Any entrepreneur must learn constantly. I want to be an innovator, so I consult with my staff on many things.”
Oracle Media recently launched Your Oracle, an online radio station, giving listeners the opportunity of engaging directly with the programme announcer.
The client is everything. “If a client asks for something late in the day and it’s important we can get it done by the morning,” says Barker. “One of the reasons I have just hired a night social media person.”
Watch this space.