-Forward Thinking Leaders -

The SA Leader Magazine

Digital September 2015 Cover

In the September issue

How to recruit through Social Media

Uber yourself before you get Kodaked

POPI and Medical Practices

Leading and staying focus


Marketing Articles

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Africa the country! Building a brand across the…

Africa the country! Building a brand across the continent

What if all those tourists were right and “Africa” was just one big amorphous pl... Read more

Digital. Different? Yes, but mostly no.

Digital. Different? Yes, but mostly no.

Digital, being always on, along with the endless proliferation of social media p... Read more

New ways to achieve customer satisfaction

New ways to achieve customer satisfaction

Keeping up with the pack is essential, but leading the pack and staying ahead of... Read more

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Brands that have grown by connecting with African attitudes

In our recently released white paper, African Attitudes: Marketing beyond the numbers, we explore the most prevalent attitudes of consumers across the continent and offer the psychographic segments that marketers will encounter in every African market they enter.


We also found that the most successful brands in Africa are those that understand these attitudes and use them to influence strategy and positioning.


For example, generosity is hugely important to most African consumers, particularly the caregivers who form the largest segment of consumers in the markets we surveyed. Brands that build generosity into their business models and marketing have proven to be popular with consumers as a result. Shoprite, which operates on the simple promise of giving shoppers more for less, has grown to become the continent’s largest retail chain. Aliko Dangote has built a business empire and become the wealthiest man in Africa by choosing to invest in people and markets while others “wait and see”. He is vocal about believing in Nigeria and is guided by the vision of creating employment and a proud, self-sufficient continent.


Ambition is an important attitude in African markets, particularly amongst the go-getter and boss archetypes. A brand that has really understood this attitude and connected with it in its communications is Guinness. Guinness Nigeria’s campaign taps into Nigeria’s strongly aspirational culture by telling the story of a village boy dreaming of life in the big city and his big brother who made it. Using well-researched local phrasing (“my senior brother”) and imagery, they create a profoundly local and relatable rags-to-riches story that plays to consumers’ ambitions.


Coca-Cola is one of the most successful companies in the world and is available in every corner of Africa. Part of the reason for their success (aside from a brand positioning of happiness, which is an excellent space to occupy, particularly in Africa) is that they are pragmatic about the realities of Africa and tailor their distribution according to local conditions. Conservatism doesn’t just resonate with traditionalists and mentors, it helped Coke to drop large scale distribution in areas with poor infrastructure. Instead, they work with micro-distribution businesses such as people with pushcarts, donkey carts, bicycles and their bare hands to ensure that their products can get to the places even roads don’t go.


Some of Africa’s most well-known and successful innovations have been in the mobile telecommunications space. The brands that have really disrupted and created new industries in Africa are those that have embraced convergence and found ways to bring industries together in the service of unmet consumer needs. Perhaps the most famous is Safaricom’s M-Pesa which pioneered mobile money transfers and now handles transactions responsible for 31% of Kenya’s GDP. Similarly, GT Bank, one of Africa’s largest financial services providers, allows consumers to open bank accounts via Facebook – using social media to get where physical branch infrastructure can’t. This attitude of togetherness is a core component of Africa’s psychographic make-up, and when used to bring people and industries together it can spur huge growth for brands.


Understanding the prevalent attitudes across Africa can help marketers create brand messaging that resonates with consumers and catches their attention. But it can do more than that: taken as a direction for innovation, African attitudes can help brands build more relevant business models, distribution mechanisms, products and services. The surest way of being successful when brand-building across Africa is to put human insight at the core of any Africa strategy.

Copyright © 2015 gdmc (Geoffrey Dean Marketing Corporation cc). All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. External links are provided for reference purposes. SALeader.co.za is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

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