We are a brand loving nation - there’s no doubt of it. South Africans tend to form cultural connections that cement the relationships in more than a sustainable way; it seems to intertwine and correlate with our heritage and unified nationalism. The rainbow nation has more than amplified its economic and infrastructural influence over many countries in the Pan-African collective landscape, which has lent a much needed helping hand in implementing commercial systems that were previously unavailable. This is all too true for the South African branding sphere as many of our local ‘n lekker icons have travelled across borders to expand their market reach into the rest of Africa. We will take in depth look into few golden examples of South African brand penetration throughout Africa.
Shoprite Shoprite has gained influence in the general retail chain industry in 14 African countries, the first expansion laying roots in Windhoek, Namibia in 1990. The economically sound prices of goods, foodstuffs and general items gave them the the edge to offer the lower LSM’s of African consumers a means to engage with 1st world branding. It also has formed a cornerstone of the shopping mall for African countries with more means for affluence and middle class markets. Shoprite has adapted well, to “niche” their markets and appeal to a massive range of cultures and psychographics throughout their chain stores in various African countries and has recently been voted as “Africa’s favourite retailer” in terms of popularity and brand awareness. MTN MTN has in many cases revolutionised the mobile industry in Africa, there shareholding and market penetration is impressive at the least, and have captured subscribers in 21 African countries (including a few in the Middle East). With the increase of use in cell phones in Africa and internet being a commodity that is mainly conducive to mobile applications, it’s no wonder that one of South Africa’s most popular mobile networks would seek out an advantageous position in a continent needing branded and infrastructural development in the cellular and mobile market. The corporate structure, which is developed and maintained by the head office in South Africa, is prevalent in their African holdings but has been fine tuned to suit the needs of their markets in the continent. In fact, the brand has reached such a high level of success in Africa that they have managed to claim the title of the most valued brand in Africa. SABMiller When it comes to expanding our local beer into African markets, one will find SABMiller always “on tap”. Liquor stores, bars, hotels, nightclubs and restaurants have been swept away by the niche brands under the SABMiller umbrella. Beer appreciation is nothing new in Africa and has been brewed in a cultural manner for thousands of years. In a fast growing continent craving for brand growth, SABMiller has targeted Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia and Zambia and sowed the seeds of a modern socialistic beer culture. The impact has lead to a shift in the way that Africans think about beer and brought a little bit of South African “togetherness” into our African family. Eskom Although Eskom has faced a few issues with local branding, it has made a megalith impact on its presence and captured huge market shares in the rest of Africa. Our immediate northerly neighbours have been graced with the commercial trade of free-flowing electricity and it has in turn vastly increased the amount of available electricity to power homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. Although the nature of Eskom’s industry is not personalised and geared up for direct branding, it has none the less changed the lives of millions of Africans - another triumph for South African exports. As we move further in 2015, we will see the continuation of our local brands shining throughout Africa and investing growth in the collective pan-African landscape. Click here for more information on Pan-African branding trends and here for a few South African banking brands that have become African favourites. Contributed by Cameron Smith