Wednesday, 14 December 2016 08:55

KWV takes a Southern African gin to the British

It’s not quite selling snow to Eskimos, but South African liquor giant KWV is attempting something similar as it takes on the British market – the home of gin – with an African boutique gin brand. Cruxland Gin, a product that is infused with signature botanicals including Kalahari N’abbas, was launched this month in the UK and is being sold through major retail chains such as Morrisons, which has 400 outlets nationwide. N’abbas is a species of truffle indigenous to the Kalahari Desert and Namibia. They only grow for a short time after the first rains of the season and it is said that only a highly experienced ‘truffle hunter’ can find the right location to dig for them. “It is not something consumers will find in any other drink, anywhere in the world,” KWV claims in a media statement. The company adds that a product development team took three years to create the gin from botanicals typical to Southern Africa. This provides a distinctive point of appeal, notes Anneke Mackenzie, KWV’s Global Portfolio Manager for Spirits. “Experts say the gin revival has been sparked by unusual flavours and launches of small [product] batches, which are adding vitality to the category and the re-emergence of a cocktail culture.” Mackenzie claims Cruxland offers gin consumers something that is unique and, more importantly, something that has a ‘taste of origin’. “[In South Africa] the response has been phenomenal and we are happy to report that the introduction to the UK market is showing signs of equal interest.” The product was introduced to the UK liquor trade, media and other influencers through an event at the Whistling Stop, a trendy gin and cocktail bar in London.
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016 10:28

Chicken brand celebrates African milestone

.While new fast-food and quick-service restaurant brands continue to enter the market in sub-Saharan Africa, the long-established operators are not resting on their laurels. KFC, for example, has announced the opening of its 1 000th outlet in the SSA region. The new restaurant is located at the Lemo Mall in Bloemfontein and represents a major milestone for the company, which arrived in 1971 via an investment in a store in the Johannesburg suburb of Orange Grove. It now has a presence across 16 SSA countries – among them Swaziland, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana and Kenya. “We are thrilled to be celebrating this significant milestone, which emphasises our growth and expansion strategy in sub-Saharan Africa” says Doug Smart, Managing Director of KFC Africa. According to a media statement released by the company, a localisation strategy has been key to its success. In addition to the traditional global menu, KFC develops new menu options that appeal to local tastes by drawing inspiration from Africa’s diverse flavours. Over the last five years, for example, it has introduced products tailored to local markets which include jollof rice in Nigeria, morogo in Botswana and nshima in Zambia. Founded in 1940 in the US, KFC now has a presence in around125 countries and operates more than 20 000 outlets worldwide
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Given the large number of young people as a percentage of the overall African population, the continent’s marketers need to be acutely aware of the attitudes and expectations of Generation Z consumers – those aged approximately 5-20. ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), reports in its latest issue (Issue 4 2016) that this group is being heralded as ‘a game-changing generation’ because of how convincingly influenced it is by technology, most notably the Internet and mobile connectivity. Nigerian market development and business management specialist, Adebayo Alonge, says of Gen Z: “As digital natives, they live in the technology, social media and Internet ecosystem. Since they live in this ecosystem, it cannot be said that they are distracted by it; they simply do not know any other way of life.” He also believes that entrepreneurship is in their DNA. “Nigerian youths do not have ambitions to be owners of banks or to make ‘small money’ in careers as white-collar workers,” he says. “They seek to make wealth quickly by creating things like their own music labels and technology start-ups.” But circumstances obviously vary from country to country within Africa. Addis Alemayehou, a communications and PR expert from Ethiopia, points out that one of the things which distinguish Ethiopian youth from those in other places is limited online activity due to low Internet penetration. So, while members of the country’s Gen Z are eager to participate in social media, it’s not easy to do. Ranjana Foogooa, a Mauritian-based digital marketer, notes that while the island nation has a high level of Internet penetration, there are cultural and lifestyle aspects – including buying power – that limit uptake of mobile-based Internet and social media. However, those Generation Z consumers in Mauritius that do embrace smartphones are important social influencers and will rapidly embrace social media-based marketing messages and promotions.
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Thursday, 01 December 2016 07:58

The ethnic doll going from Nigeria to the world

Entrepreneur Taofick Okoya made headlines when his African dolls outsold the legendary Barbie in his native Nigeria. Now he is focused on the rest of the world, not least the huge North American toy market. ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), reports in its latest issue that Okoya began the Queens of Africa doll collection in 2007 after he could not find a black doll for his niece. Today his company, FICO Solutions Nigeria, has two ranges: Queens of Africa is targeted at both the African and global markets; and the more competitively priced Naija Princesses, which is focused on the local Nigerian market. Apart from the dolls themselves, there are brand extensions such as books, comics, music and an animated series. In 2014, he began exporting to various countries with children of African heritage, and has also created an international online portal. Customers can buy the dolls from the Queens of Africa website, or through global online retailer Amazon in the US and in five other countries. He is also in talks with other e-commerce sites and the brand now has representatives in Senegal and Benin, as well as Europe and Australia. Okoya believes that, so far, Queens of Africa has only scratched the surface. “As people get to know more about our products through word of mouth, sales have grown. But significant future growth is dependent on securing new customers in other parts of the world.” He recently completed a roadshow in the US to meet with potential buyers in an effort to expand the brand footprint. It was, he says, largely driven by a desire to have a meet-and-greet with the dolls’ growing fan base. ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’ is published quarterly and distributed through AMC member organisations. It is also available in selected airline lounges.
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In many parts of Africa, mobile-based marketing remains relatively small and unsophisticated by global standards. But the huge uptake of mobile phones on the continent means there’s huge potential. According to Issue 4 2016 of ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation, the number of unique African mobile subscribers hit 557-million in June 2016, an increase of 180-million subscribers in just five years. Growth is likely to remain strong and it’s predicted that a further 168-million subscribers will be added by 2020. Despite this, mobile marketing has yet to gain traction in many countries. For example, a recent survey covering 12 major sub-Saharan nations found that, while 52% of people are aware of the existence of mobile advertising, it has a high recall rate among only 6% of them. South Africa remains dominant in mobile marketing in the sub-Saharan region, but several other countries are enjoying strong growth off low bases – notably Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Zambia. For the greater part, strategies still rests heavily on simple SMS and related USSD (unstructured supplementary service data) platforms. The latter permits mobile phones to communicate with the mobile service provider's computers. In turn, this enables services such as mobile money transfer and menu-based information services to be accessed through the phone. As a result, Africa has spawned innovative mobile SMS and USSD ad-driven strategies. Among them is the ChiChi sponsored call campaign, which requires a consumer to enter a unique USSD code on their phone and add the mobile number of a person they want to speak to. They immediately receive an automated return call and, as a reward for listening to a 15-second advertisement, are connected to that person for one minute, courtesy of the ad sponsor. A campaign for Unilever’s Shield deodorant, for example, attracted at its height 5 000 calls an hour. Shield also achieved a 22% mobile coupon issuance rate, a level way ahead of a 3% coupon issuance rate achieved, at best, by traditional media. Continuing with the mobile marketing theme, this issue of Strategic Marketing Africa also examines how a project in Nigeria is providing a blueprint for mobile-based market research globally. In early 2016, a world-first retail census of 1,9-million retail outlets across the country was completed using only mobile technology. This eliminated the lag, inaccuracy and cost associated with traditional data-gathering methods and turned the notion of Africa being ‘unreachable’ in market research terms on its head. Other articles in this issue include a look at the habits of Africa’s Generation Z consumers and a report on how Airbnb is disrupting the continent’s tourism industry. ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’ is published four times a year and distributed through AMC member organisations in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Indian Ocean Islands. It is also available in selected airline lounges.
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Thursday, 03 November 2016 07:22

Good times are rolling for tourism marketers

While many South African marketers battle to attract customers in a difficult economic environment, those in the tourism sector are enjoying good times and looking forward to a lucrative Festive Season. International visitor arrivals to the country rose by around 24% in the first eight months of the year. The overall figure, including visitors from the rest of Africa, rose about 14%, ‘Business Day’ newspaper reports. Britain, Germany and US remain the three biggest foreign markets for South Africa, although there is also strong growth from China, India and Saudi Arabia. The latter is showing particularly steep increases in visitor numbers. Within the tourism sector, hotel chains are being notable active, not just in South Africa but elsewhere on the continent as well. Marriot is developing new properties in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. These are the forerunners of a long-term African expansion strategy which the global chain says will result in a presence in 27 countries. “Africa is particularly important to Marriott International’s expansion strategy because of the continent’s rapid economic growth, expanding middle class and youth population, as well as the increase of international flights into the continent,” notes Chief Executive Arne Sorenson. “With over 850 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are enormous opportunities.” Similarly, Hilton Worldwide has announced new developments centred on three African countries as it works to double its footprint on the continent within the next five years. It will go from 39 current hotels to more than 80 properties during that timeframe. Among the new projects is the 280-room Hilton Garden Inn in Accra, Ghana and the Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill property (pictured) in Kenya, which will be 330m high and the tallest hotel on the continent.
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Amarula, the African-themed liqueur, is teaming up with Kenyan conservationists for a new strategy aimed at saving the continent’s elephant herds. The brand is sponsoring the ‘Name Them Save Them’ campaign being run in conjunction with WildlifeDirect, a conservation organisation that operates out of Nairobi and Washington DC. Working closely with WildlifeDirect CEO, Dr. Paula Kahumbu, the campaign aims to make the prospect of losing an African elephant personal to the public, by inviting them to name individual elephants. Kahumbu, who is internationally acknowledged for her conservation work, appears in a video shot on location in Kenya’s Amboseli Park. She introduces viewers to elephants by name, showcasing their behaviour in their natural habitat, and likening their traits to those of humans. A short film then guides viewers through an immersive online experience into a virtual digital savannah, where they can choose an elephant, design it with a range of colourful patterns, name and share it with friends online. In addition to funding the global strategy, Amarula will donate US$1 to WildlifeDirect for every elephant named and shared per unique user. “As an authentically African brand, Amarula has been committed to the protection of the African elephant since 2002 and has donated US$642 000 to the cause over this period,” the brand says in a press statement. Amarula is made from the fruit of the marula tree, which is a sought-after treat among wild elephants. Owned by South African-based alcoholic beverages company Distell, the brand is sold in many parts of Africa and also has a worldwide following. “Awareness created by this campaign will help us to continue to protect the continent’s elephants, which are such an important part of Africa’s heritage and Amarula’s story,” says Dino D’Araujo, Global General Manager for the brand.
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In another boost for the emerging African car industry, South Korean auto company Kia has confirmed that it is to assemble passenger vehicles in Ethiopia and is also considering other plants elsewhere on the continent. The announcement comes just weeks after Volkswagen said it would be producing the Polo Vivo small passenger car in Kenya in an effort to achieve more market penetration for the brand in East Africa. Both moves are good news for consumers and the regional economy, as well as an affirmation of faith in Africa’s future growth by two of the world’s biggest automotive brands. Speaking in Addis Ababa recently, senior Kia executive Soon Nam Lee told Reuters news agency: “It is important to penetrate the African market. We are also looking at the prospects of opening similar plants in Algeria and other countries.” The company already has a plant in Nigeria. The Ethiopian project is a joint venture with local company Belayab Motors and 3 000 vehicles a year will be produced, with the potential to rise to 9 000 depending on demand. According to Reuters, Ethiopia produces about 8 000 commercial and other vehicles a year for the home market, about a quarter of which are cars. Among those present are Chinese brands Lifan and Geely. Speaking at the announcement of Volkswagen’s new assembly plant in Kenya in mid-September, VW executive Thomas Schafer noted: “We believe that Kenya has got the potential to develop a very big fully-fledged automotive industry. The East African Community has got the potential and today is the first step in this direction that we want to take with our passenger cars.” South Africa is the biggest producer of vehicles on the continent, with many of those being exported to other parts of Africa.
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Africa must still be viewed as a long-term prospect and companies that enter its markets need the stamina to weather both good and bad market conditions. Global insights company Nielsen says this is vital because, despite the continent’s obvious potential over the next 10-50 years, it seems that investors have to a certain degree been seduced by short-term numbers. The third edition of the Africa Prospects Indicator Report released yesterday (Tuesday), says 2016 is proving to be a year of volatility and change in the 26 African countries reviewed by Nielsen, with “a fair degree of re-forecasting” required by business as growth prospects ebb and flow. “This is apparent, given that six of the top nine countries have shifted in position over the past six months,” the report says. “These include Nigeria, which declined four places due to the rebasing of its currency and commodity price volatility; Zambia, largely due to a spike in its inflation over the last six months from 6% to 23%; and South Africa’s weaker position – as shown by it falling from seventh to eighth in the overall rankings.” On the positive side, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Tanzania maintained first, second and third place on the latest prospects ranking. The report says they currently provide more stable investment destinations than the larger economies of Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. Zambia plummeted from fourth to ninth position, with worsening consumer and retail indicators due to skyrocketing inflation, electricity shortages and a poor macro-economic environment which is heavily reliant on the resources sector. However, in Ghana there was a positive shift in prospects due to improvements in power supply, exchange rates and a stabilisation in inflation. With a stable growth outlook, business sentiment is at its most favourable levels since mid-2014.
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Friday, 23 September 2016 08:27

Improved African supply chain on the cards

Many of Africa’s roads, rail links and ports have suffered years of neglect. But the good news for frustrated marketers and supply chain managers battling to get their goods to market is that change is happening. Issue 3 2016 of ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), reports that many countries are grasping the urgency of making their transport infrastructures globally competitive. Among the nations at the forefront of the modernisation is Kenya, which is tackling the challenge through a multi-billion dollar project that forms part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Initiative between Kenya and Uganda. The initiative represents possibly the biggest regional rail development programme since South Africa built the 861km Sishen to Saldanha Bay iron ore line in the 1970s. “Kenya is consolidating its position as the East African regional services hub; the new line will be a game-changer for Kenya and the region” says Jonathan Stichbury, the Kenya-based CEO for East Africa of US asset management firm, PineBridge.” The project is due for completion in July 2017. Other big things are happening in East Africa. Rivalling the Kenya/Uganda rail project, landlocked Ethiopia is nearing completion of a 756km standard-gauge line from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the port of Djibouti. Being built at a cost of US$3-billion, the line will replace the disused meter-gauge line. Nigeria is also in a dash to replace its colonial era system, which has for decades been in a state of collapse. Already completed is a standard-gauge line linking the capital of Abuja with Kaduna, a major trade hub with a population of 1,8-million people. Due for completion this year is a 312km standard-gauge line linking the country’s biggest metro area, Lagos, with Ibadan, a city of 3-million people.
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