Rewards & Recognition
From start-ups to a steady growth in industry, South Africa is a land of growing opportunity and vast resources. On the African continent it is making great strides in many growth sectors, most notably finance, e-commerce and tech.
Recently we note the visit by Mark Zuckerberg to the continent, as many US investors are looking to growth sectors for capital investment. It’s also not gone unnoticed that large international legal and accounting firms are building new headquarters in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Along with the US, China and India; Various Middle Eastern countries like the UAE are pouring vast sums into the African continent. Set up to develop and assist international businesses entering the continent, The Global Business Forum on Africa reaches out internationally to inform and entice brands and organisations to the continent with capital investment, tax incentives, lower overheads and other various opportunities to facilitate trade.
For investors with rapid economic growth, the attraction is the demand and need for technology, commerce, financial services, fashion and food. With a change in government and the promise to stamp out corruption, the voices of the private sector and public have been heard and this will hopefully lead to a more stable economy with stronger foundation to flourish.
REACT.co.za has for many years assisted with customer engagement research on the African continent. It helps organisations and brands get a strong foothold in their sector through analysing data that feeds back from 21 affiliates across the African continent and in the UK.
REACT along with the brand strategy and engagement agency yourbrandculture under the umbrella company (LindhorstGrays.Group) offer a continuous breadth of services that include a team of specialist’s with international and local experience. Working closely, the agencies take the data information at and partnering with the client, create a strategy that is directed on building brand loyalty, strong internal and external communications, continuous engagement with the customers, and profitable margins across all departments. Experience has shown that a direct innovative, informed and calculated approach allow REACT & yourbrandculture to continually assist & monitor a brand’s growth, after the main project work is done. Allowing client’s to tap into resources, expand product diversity and enter new sectors to stay ahead of the competition.
Recently we have witnessed the effect cultural insensitivity can have on the popularity and sales of an international brand.
H&M, a well-known clothing brand, featured a black child wearing a sweatshirt with the words “coolest monkey in the jungle” in their boys’ clothing catalogue. On the adjacent page, a white boy is wearing a sweater with the words “survival expert”.
The term ‘monkey’ has long since been used as a derogatory term for people of colour, with recent and widely publicised examples of this in South Africa. This display of racial insensitivity by H&M shows the disassociation the brand has from its foreign consumer demography and diverse retail market.
The clothing giant has suffered tremendously due to its oversight losing established brand partnerships with celebrities, damaging relationships with the media and most importantly with local consumers, minority groups in particular (#BoycottHM). This has tainted the brand’s image and eroded brand equity. And all this just after a downturn in sales and a 35% drop in the stock price was reported in December 2017.
This incident has occurred at a time when consciousness movements and social good are fast becoming defining topics of our time (#BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, #TimesUp), indicating that consumers are more socially and culturally aware than ever, and have platforms to share their thoughts and opinions at a high volume and at any time they choose.
Recent surveys show that, compared to other continents, Africa and the Middle East’s consumer purchasing growth rate stands at 27.5% with 5.8% profits above gross. A brand entering these diverse markets can ill afford to alienate their consumers through cultural errors. Every effort should be made to conduct market research to underpin cultural differences and gain insight into the market which the brand is adapting a product or service for, by understanding the language, demography, marketing style, product category and service techniques.
Grant Lindhorst and Stewart Richard Gray have joined forces to form yourbrandculture.
With combined experience of over 40 years in market research, communication strategy, brand engagement and experience across large research agencies, retail and FMCG brands locally and internationally, yourbrandculture sets a new precedent in tackling the demands of businesses entering new emerging or growing markets, without reputational and long-term damage to equity.
Written by Grant Lindhorst, Stewart Richard Gray and Lindsay Breytenbach
Sed nec pretium velit integer cursus pretium nulla molestie amet