Thursday, November 26, 2009

Brand Strategies for 2010

Being South African has suddenly become hip and it’s not only due to those lekker accents in District 9. With the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup just a few months away, the global spotlight is focussed on the country, its sport, its culture and its people and there is a heightened awareness of what it means to be South African.

Not only are our athletes in top form, smashing world records and grabbing international headlines, the Springbok rugby team is officially the best in the world whilst the Proteas cricket team are jostling to regain the top position amidst much local and international attention. Supporters today pay a premium for a variety of official merchandise, and stadiums and taverns are packed with people showing their support and patriotism for their teams.

In only 15 years of democracy South Africa has achieved macroeconomic stability in sharp contrast to the tumultuous apartheid years, which has created opportunities for investors, laying the foundation for increased economic growth. Until the global economic crisis hit South Africa in late 2008, economic growth had been steady and according to Statistics South Africa, GDP rose by 2.7% in 2001, 3.7% in 2002, 3.1% in 2003, 4.9% in 2004, 5% in 2005, 5.4% in 2006, 5.1% in 2007 and 3.1% in 2008, clear signs that South Africa and its people are forging ahead.

So why do local brands gain such vehement loyalty? For most South Africans, it’s a feeling they have in their soul, the “local is lekker” flavour of being part of a culture that makes up our DNA. This is according to Nadia Lang Strategic Marketing Consultant. “Patriotism and brand loyalty go hand in hand. South African products and services have an emotional dimension with which people can identify,” She says, adding that traditionally, international brands were perceived as superior to those produced in South Africa, but this has changed drastically as South Africa’s fortunes have improved.

“Locally, there is definitely a shift in mentality amongst South Africans from only wanting international brands to now buying South African brands as well, especially in light of the 2010 World Cup. These brands provide a sense of self-worth, particularly amongst the youth as it defines their social status and how those around them are perceived. They are starting to realise that we are just as good as international counterparts and such a notion is rubbing off on our beliefs in all things South African, be it brands or products,” She says.

It was with this in mind that Proudly South African, a “buy local” campaign was launched in 2001 by government, organised business, organised labour and community organisations to boost job creation and pride in all things “local” by promoting South African companies and their ‘home grown’ products and services. They know that by buying Proudly South African, both consumers and businesses are making a personal contribution to nation-building. The initiative is similar in concept to the highly successful 'Buy British' and 'Buy USA' campaigns, which urge their citizens to support the local economy to foster job creation.

Earlier this year, luxury market analyst firm, Ledbury Research reported that 50% of Britons buy local, while 92% of the French, 64% of Americans and 61% Germans preferred to buy only goods that originate from their countries. Certainly, anyone who has been to France would not be surprised by the high percentage of “Proudly French” consumers in a country renowned for a remarkable sense of self-worth.

Commenting on how local brands are standing up against international rivals, Sylvia Becatti, Editor of Marketing Mix, says locally, South African brands are doing very well in recent times, particularly in the fashion and retail arena. South African companies need think on their feet and promote their products as challenger brands. In many cases, South African products are superior in quality compared to their international equivalents, so it is therefore important that companies promote that fact heavily in their campaigns.

This is the ideal time to have a game plan to build your brand. Invest in Smart Marketing. It is not a necessity but a strategic imperative.

About Me

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Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Believing strongly in Intelligent, cost effective Marketing and Brand strategies, Nadia Lang +27 (0)73 607 0437] is a prolific strategist, marketer and brand developer. Nadia has two passions: strategy and brand building. She has a BSc honors degree and a management degree cum lade marketing and strategy; at 21 she satisfied the first by strategically planning and managing her own small business. After university, she became a full time marketer with a vision to create a one stop, cost- effective solution for all your marketing needs. Today, as part of her day job, Nadia focuses on corporate and creative marketing and branding, with an emphasis on strategic marketing and planning to meet objectives, gaining market share, building and sustaining long term brand equity, corporate profiling, websites, marketing campaigns, newsletters, ads, brochures, sales letters, multimedia proposals and presentations and communication channel creation.