Simple Solutions for Growth: The Rules for Winning Marketing in Africa

27 Aug 2015|dutlowm

Africa – a continent of 1.1 billion people, 65% under the age of 35, with growing economies and increased middle class spending power – is every marketer’s dream. But doing business in Africa can be exceptionally tough. There is very little room for half-hearted attempts at brand-building, and in the jungle of brands only the strongest will survive.

Success in Africa takes passion and determination! Our Added Value Africa team recommends 5 top tips to help your brand win:

1- Communicate simple superiority and meaningful value.
Winning campaigns in Africa communicate a clear and superior reason to choose your brand with a compelling visual and limited text (usually 7 words or less). Consumers in Africa are savvy shoppers and do not have the patience to decipher clumsy advertising. Procter & Gamble’s focus on simple, high-impact visuals and punchy claims enables them to create winning campaigns for entry into African markets, and has fuelled solid growth. Ariel has successfully entered Kenya and SA, and is winning across the continent with the same simple visual and powerful claim “helps remove tough stains in 1 wash”, communicating superiority and value. Does your brand communicate this simply to win heads and hearts of savvy consumers?

2- Get the right balance between local insights and global best practice.
Whilst Africans appreciate and respect global brands, this is balanced by suitability for local needs. Does the brand truly meet local consumer needs? Or is it a cut and paste from America or Europe? Estée Lauder is making inroads in luxury cosmetics, while MAC and Clinique have gained “love mark” status with South African women, and are expanding across the continent. Clinique launched the “Shades of Africa initiative”, rooted in deep consumer understanding and African-oriented product design to create the right shade offerings for black skin. Their solution hits the mark to meet local needs, while maintaining glamorous international credentials. Guinness is an example of a brand that has combined local insights and global best practice to great effect. It is extremely popular in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, so much so that brewmaster Fergal Murray recalls speaking to Nigerians who think of Guinness as their national beer and wonder why it is sold in Ireland. The majority of Guinness consumed in Africa is called Foreign Extra Stout. Whilst the essence of the drink remains the same, instead of barley, it is typically brewed with maize or sorghum. African farmers have a long tradition of brewing the grain, so the product is well suited to the African palate. Has your brand got the right mix of local insight and global best practices?

3- Innovate and use technology effectively.
Africa is ready for technology and innovation that makes what can be a challenging life, a bit easier. Brands and industries that have used technology to address some of Africa’s biggest challenges have been rewarded handsomely with sustained growth. Safaricom’s M-Pesa has grown to become one of East Africa’s largest financial services solutions by bringing Africa a simple mobile money transfer system that has step changed commerce in East Africa. How can your brand innovate to better meet Africa’s unique needs?

4- Get in tune with the African Entrepreneurial spirit!
Africans have an almost universal desire for progress and sense of optimism – a deep belief that tomorrow will be better than today. Education and entrepreneurship are seen as a way to secure a better future. As a result, Africans seek brands that celebrate and enable their journey to a brighter future. Luxury alcohol brand, Hennessey, has experienced double-digit growth on the continent, with Nigeria and South Africa ranking in the brand’s top 10 global markets. The brand has become a statement of progress and determination for the African entrepreneur, with the “never stop, never settle” campaign and special editions to celebrate 50 years of Nigerian and Kenyan Independence, fuelling local relevance. How can your brand celebrate and enable African progress?

5- Invest in consistent, long term brand building.
Most Africans would choose a recognised brand over an unbranded option any day. Why? Trust. Brands are ultimately about a mark of consistent quality, and brand trust escalates in importance when disposable income is limited. African consumers don’t have the luxury to experiment on unfamiliar options that may or may not work, and will choose to invest their hard-earned cash on products that are well known, tried and tested. Consider the success of Coke in Africa, loved and present in every hot and dusty corner of the continent, even a currency of sorts – in short, an iconic brand. Coke’s status was achieved by investing over the long-term to deliver brand awareness and a consistently great consumer experience – an ice cold Coke. This infrastructure and awareness took years and millions of dollars to set up, but it pays off every time someone opens “happiness”. Is your brand truly invested in the long term?

With passion, guts and some smart brand building, your brand can be part of this beautiful booming continent!

Written by Marilyn Dutlow Munga, Added Value Africa

prev next