Africa is set to be one of the biggest battlefields for multinationals to compete and sell their products. Marketing professionals are beginning to execute marketing campaigns on the continent that embrace a wide network of social media platforms – yet there is nothing more impactful and valuable than the real thing: face-to-face networking. With this in mind, Interface 2015 is the first jointly hosted conference by the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) and Institute of Marketing Management South Africa (IMM), and brings together continental marketers to leverage opportunities in developing mutually beneficial relationships. Transforming the African marketing landscape are inspirational professionals with whom the value of forming and maintaining strong contact will be invaluable for those seeking to explore Africa’s new wave of consumerism. This is why the conference theme ‘Inspiring African Marketing Development’ – which reflects on how to captivate the consumer in times of change – is not just a learning and sharing platform but one that focuses on connecting, networking and socialising. “Delegates will be exploring ways to work together and tap into one another’s networks,” explains Helen McIntee, Director at the IMM. “And for young professionals it will be an opportunity to learn from experienced marketers who understand and have worked in Africa’s multi-cultural landscape”. The tapestry of social activities over the two-day conference are designed to facilitate relationship-focused interactions and include: a Soweto tour with lunch at Sakhumzi Restaurant in the famous Vilakazi Street; golf for delegates; a visit to the famous World of Beer exhibition; and a gala dinner. The Interface takes place at the Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg from 4-6 November 2015. Keynote speakers include: internationally acclaimed marketing guru Professor Malcolm H.B. McDonald; Dr Shingi Munyeza, the former CEO of African Sun Hotels; Busisa Moyo, CEO of United Refineries Ltd; and Helen McIntee, Director of the IMM. To secure your attendance contact Loreen Alutah Chari (Zimbabwe) by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or telephone +2634747031. Alternatively, contact Catherine Larkin from CVLC (South Africa) on +2711789-7327 / +27833000331, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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South African-based agencies dominated the annual African Cristal Festival advertising awards held in Morocco recently. The King James Group won the Agency of the Year award, while Publicis Group Africa was awarded the title of Network of the Year. South African entrants occupied six of the top 10 spots in Agency of the Year, with others coming from Egypt, Mauritius, Tunisia, Mozambique and Kenya. The awards celebrate exceptional creative work produced on the continent and form part of the international Cristal Festival, which already encompasses Europe and the Middle East. Speaking to the ‘Biz-Community’ website shortly after attending the awards ceremony in the city of Marrakesh, Kevin Tromp, CEO of Publicis Africa Group, said there was no question that creative work from across the continent was improving in leaps and bounds. “Havas in Tunisia did some great work for [financial services group] PNB Paribas, Insight in Nigeria is world class and DDB also had some really lovely work entered from many countries. On the whole, it's fair to say that South African work still leads the continent in terms of craft, scale and refinement … But there is not a shadow of a doubt that this leadership is not assured as we go into the future, as there are some wonderfully smart and creative people working in agencies in all corners of the African continent.” He continued: “It is enormously important that African agencies be encouraged to enter into awards competitions as they underestimate themselves and I believe they will be surprised by the success they will enjoy.” Agency of the Year top 10: 1/ King James Group, South Africa 2/ BBDO, South Africa 3/ FP7/CAI, Egypt 4/ Publicis Machine, South Africa 5/ Circus Advertising, Mauritius 6/ DDB, South Africa 7/ Owen Kessel Leo Burnett, South Africa 7/ Liquorice, South Africa 8/ Havas Worldwide, Tunisia 9/ DDB, Mozambique 9/ TNA/DDB, Egypt 10/ Ogilvy & Mather Africa, Kenya Network of the Year top 5: 1/ Publicis Africa Group 2/ DDB 3/ BBDO 4/ FP7/MCCANN 5/ HAVAS 5/ Ogilvy
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With power outages being a reality in Ghana – along with many other African countries – Stanbic Bank has taken steps to ensure customers can still access the ATM network, while at the same time reducing pollution problems. The programme to roll out off-site (away from bank branch) solar-powered ATMs began last month and Stanbic claims it’s a first for the country. According to Farihan Alhassan, Head of Customer Channels, the installation of the machines will come as a relief to customers who rely mostly on ATMs to make financial transactions. “As a customer-conscious bank, we need to make sure that clients readily access their money whenever they want,” he said. “We wanted to prevent the inconvenience caused to clients when ATMs are down because there’s no power.” Power to each ATM is provided by up to sixteen panels, feeding a system that includes a battery bank, air conditioners and CCTV cameras. Hendrix Glover, ATM Manager for Stanbic Bank, said about US$800 was spent every month on electricity and fuel for generators at each site. “This off-grid solution, expensive as it may seem in the short-term, [therefore] saves us a lot of money in the long term
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SA’s media environment remained relatively stable over the past 12 months, with most audience gains or losses being relatively small. This is according to media audience data released this week by the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF) as part of its All Media and Products Survey covering the period July 2014 to June 2015.

Television In the television environment, DStv continued to show steady growth, particularly in Cape Town and the Western Cape, where in increase in female adult viewers was noted. However, three terrestrial channels – SABC 1, SABC 2 and e.tv – all lost audience share, with the report noting that SABC 1 “lost a statistically significant percentage of seven-day viewers”. Newspapers The downward trend continues for newspapers, with readers mainly being lost in the Western Cape, Cape Town, the Cape Town fringe, Limpopo and Durban, as well as in the LSM 8-10 category. Daily newspapers were the biggest losers. Magazines Publications distributed weekly, fortnightly, alternate monthly and quarterly remained stable. However, monthly and store magazines were among the losers when it comes to readership. There was in overall loss of readership in Durban and in Limpopo. Cinema Attendance was slightly up among general cinema-goers, but attendance in the LSM 9-10 bracket declined. “This LSM bracket also watches the latest movies at home; 8% rented a movie on DStv’s Box Office over a four-week period,” said SAARF. Radio Radio listenership showed little change, although the popularity of community radio continued its upward trend.
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Mauritius has once again been named as the most competitive economy in Africa by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016. This is the third time in a row that the Indian Ocean island has been rated as the most efficient economy on the continent, although this year it has fallen by seven places in the world – from 39th to 46th position. Reasons given include declines in financial market development and labour market efficiency. But the country still has Africa’s best infrastructure, most efficient goods market, and a healthy and educated workforce. The report is released annually and rates the competitiveness of 140 countries. Rankings are based on 12 key pillars of competitiveness: institutions; infrastructure; macro-economic environment; health and primary education; higher education and training; goods market efficiency; labour market efficiency; financial market development; technological readiness; market size; business sophistication; and innovation. Perhaps surprisingly, given its slowing economy, South Africa moves up the rankings and is in 49th place in the world and the second most competitive economy in Africa. This is the first time in four years that the country ranks in the top 50. Last year it was in 56th position. The improvement is partly due to improved use of information technology (ICT) and a notable improvement in innovation, which makes it the most innovative nation in the region. It also has Africa’s most efficient financial markets, which are rated 12th globally. Rwanda continues to show steady improvement and is now ranked as the 58th most competitive country in the world and third in Africa. It improved in seven of the index’s 12 pillars. However, Africa also has the six least competitive economies in the index. They are (in descending order): Malawi; Burundi; Sierra Leone; Mauritania; Chad and Guinea.
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With growth in their traditional developed markets stagnant, multinational cereal companies are ramping up their efforts to target consumers in Africa and other emerging markets. According to a report in the respected ‘Wall Street Journal’ newspaper, the cereal giants are making the overseas push to offset lacklustre sales in the US and parts of Europe as consumers increasingly shun sugar-laden breakfasts in favour of fresher, faster and more portable foods. “Emerging markets are growing in importance to cereal makers as more residents in those countries move to cities and have less time and inclination to make traditional warm breakfasts,” the newspaper says. However, product innovation is vital in order to tap into different cultural expectations and consumer habits. In South Africa, Kellogg introduced Corn Flakes Instant Porridge a few years ago after discovering that some consumers were boiling its usual corn flakes into a soggy and unappetising mess. This was because many people traditionally had hot porridge for breakfast and thought that corn flakes should be prepared in the same way. In Thailand, a company called Cereal Partners Worldwide – a joint venture between food companies Nestlé and General Mills – sells a single-serve packet of cereal that comes with a paper bowl and plastic spoon because that is the way consumers are used to eating a rice-based breakfast. In the South American nation of Columbia, Kellogg sells cereals in packs attached to yoghurt because local consumers tend to prefer yoghurt over milk. In India, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes include traditional flavours such as unsweetened mango and savoury pongal – a mixture of rice, milk, cane sugar and coconut.
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While China tops the list of the world’s shoe exporters, African countries are emerging in the sector as they maximise the potential offered by the growing leather industry and develop the talents of skilled shoemakers. According to figures released by the International Trade Centre, Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing exporters of footwear, with international sales increasing by 289% between 2010 and 2014. “The emerging shoe cluster in the capital, Addis Ababa, seems to have benefited from the availability of raw materials, entrepreneurs’ experience and skills in shoemaking, and their ability and willingness to innovate, especially to improve quality,” reports the website ‘African Economic Outlook’. Considering that Chinese manufacturers began to dominate African shoe markets in the early 2000s, the recovery of Ethiopia’s shoe industry is arguably a testament to the abilities and determination of those who work in it. “In contrast with its neighbours, Ethiopia regained control of the domestic market and established itself as a credible exporter of leather shoes to Europe and North America,” notes ‘African Economic Outlook’. Tapping into the wealth of available leather offered by Ethiopia’s burgeoning livestock industry, those brands and home-grown shoe manufacturers that emerged soon turned their focus to ensuring a similar level of craftsmanship to that of the Chinese imports. Speaking to the website ‘Africa Review’ in 2014, Mulugeta Megenas, owner and manager of Duka Leather Products, an Ethiopian brand which produces, sells and exports leather shoes, said: “Today it is difficult for people to differentiate between genuine local leather shoes and those imported from China or elsewhere. In fact, some of us are now bold enough to label our products ‘Made in Ethiopia’ under our trademark. For the first time this year, we exported 50 000 pairs of shoes to East African countries and we plan to introduce our brand to the world soon.” Collaboration has also provided a boost for the country’s shoe manufacturing sector in recent years, with Chinese shoe manufacturers Huajian basing its factory in Ethiopia. This was largely motivated by the low cost of labour, which is 10 times less than that in China. While this provides an economic boost for the country, many worry that workers are largely underpaid. Seeking to maximise the potential of Ethiopia’s raw materials and skills, while at the same time championing worker’s rights, Canadian-owned shoe manufacturers Oliberté is the world’s first Fair Trade Certified footwear manufacturing facility. This, among other requirements, means paying workers more than double the minimum wage required in Ethiopia. “When I want people to think of Africa [and] manufacturing footwear, I don’t want them looking at it as another low-cost producer,” Tal Dehtiar, the founder of Oliberté, told broadcaster CNN. “If you want quality footwear; if you want to pay people right; if you want to treat them with respect [and] use good product, then come to Africa.” Overall, the growing shoe sector in Ethiopia has created a large number of jobs, with exports bringing in US$31-million last year (excluding foreign brands with factories in Ethiopia). But this is still drastically below the government’s 2015 target of US$360-million. Despite these challenges, professional services firm Ernst & Young predicts that Ethiopia will become one of Africa’s top four manufacturing hubs by 2025.
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Monday, 28 September 2015 11:43

Foschini group plans more African expansion

South African-based fashion and apparel chain The Foschini Group (TFG) is to increase its presence in other parts of Africa, with at least 10 new stores being opened in Kenya by the end of the first quarter of 2016. Quoting group CEO Doug Murray at a media briefing given on Wednesday, ‘Business Day’ newspaper said one of the key aims of the African expansion strategy was to achieve sufficient scale so that products made outside SA could be shipped directly to other African countries rather than first having to be imported into South Africa and then be re-shipped. “Right now we bring it in to our distribution centres in SA, pay duty then send it out to African countries and pay more duty. We then have to reclaim the duty we pay in SA; it’s very cumbersome,” Murray said. TFG includes retail outlets such as Foschini, Total Sports, Markham, American Swiss and Sterns. In the South African market it is also the biggest reseller of Adidas and Nike sports products. Outside SA, it currently has about 160 stores in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Botswana and Swaziland. It plans to grow this number to 375 by 2020.
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Despite formidable competition from top international brands, African fashion designers and retailers are using the limited means at their disposal to grow their brands beyond the continent’s shores. In its new Third Quarter 2015 issue, ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’ magazine, the publication of the African Marketing Confederation, notes that the continent’s fast-growing middle-class has encouraged major global fashion brands to steadily pursue a stronger presence in African markets – among them Hugo Boss, Mango and Zegna. These brands have the benefit of heritage, financial muscle, proven supply chain expertise and forceful marketing and public relations machines to drive awareness and push sales. But Africa’s fashion industry is fighting back and taking the battle to the home territories of their international competitors. And although the continent’s designers and boutique fashion houses lack marketing and financial power, they have one significant advantage. In the age of social media, giant personal brands and digital influencers, individual designers and small labels can wield their digital and social media prowess to pursue non-traditional and often market-disrupting avenues as they seek to build their brands across the globe. Indeed, says Strategic Marketing Africa’, several fashion designers of African origin have already gained notable international followings via marketing strategies that are underpinned by social media, digital outreach and strong community engagement. These include London-based fashion label Eki Orleans, founded by the charismatic Hazel Eki Aggrey-Orleans who was raised in Nigeria; Ethiopian designer Fikirte Addis of the Yefiker label; and Cameroonian Anna Ngann Yonn, who is behind the popular Kreyann brand. Aggrey-Orleans says social media is key to the label’s marketing strategy. “The great thing about social media is that you can instantly communicate with your followers with the click of a button. But you do have to understand what they want, because as quickly as you can gain followers, you can also lose them,” she says. “We try to use the different platforms to target different followers. Instagram is the most fun because we feel we can be most playful with our communication there. This is the one platform where we completely let loose and invite the world into our Eki Orleans existence.” She continues: “Once you get people interested and they like the brand, they in return talk about it through reposting, re-tweeting etc. They have their own followers and we get exposed to them.” Fikirte Addis of Yefiker concurs with the social media-intensive approach and says the brand markets itself on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. “There is always room for improvement and we are focusing on exploiting and upgrading our usage of digital media,” she says. “We have customers that place orders through Facebook and our online shopping [portal] is in the process of being launched” Addis highlights that, as a traditional Ethiopian designer, “not only do we want to sell these 100% Ethiopian products, we also aspire to share our cultural knowledge and pertinent topics with the world. Thus, we plan to extend our social media coverage to the likes of Tumbler as well.” The Cameroonian designer Anna Ngann Yann, mastermind behind the Kreyann brand, says social networks allow Kreyann to reach a wider audience beyond Africa in order to showcase its products. “But most important is the ability for us to collect feedback from both existing and potential customers,” she tells Strategic Marketing Africa. She adds that word of mouth remains critical in the marketing mix. “There is nothing as powerful as happy customers advocating for your brand ... Indeed, following our strong community involvement in mentorship and development initiatives offered to young designers in Cameroon, the brand enjoys a high level of awareness and is now listed in the directories and guidebooks of Cameroon.” More information on how Africa’s fashion brands are marketing themselves to the world can be found in the Third Quarter 2015 issue of ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the publication of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC). The magazine is published on a quarterly basis and distributed to members of marketing associations in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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East Africa has the potential to become a major clothing manufacturer and supplier to international markets, according to a new study by management consultancy McKinsey & Co. However, this would require close cooperation by governments, clothing buyers and employers in order to improve the overall business conditions in the region, it warns. Clothing exports from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda totalled US$337-million in 2013, with many orders going to the likes of UK supermarket and retail chain Tesco, Swedish multinational retail-clothing company H&M, and Irish-based retailer Primark. The governments of Ethiopia and Kenya are taking steps to develop their local domestic textile and garment industries, and McKinsey says the region’s appeal as an international clothing supplier is helped by the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives some sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the United States market. There are also free-trade agreements in place with the European Union. “We found that East Africa could indeed become a more important centre for apparel sourcing,” the study noted. China continues to be the main source of worldwide clothing imports, but around three-quarters of the 40 chief purchasing officers questioned by McKinsey said they would be reducing purchases from China. While this bodes well for East Africa, there is stiff competition from Bangladesh, Vietnam and India. Notes the study: “If East Africa is to experience sustainable growth in garment manufacturing, collaboration among all stakeholders is a must. Governments, for instance, might consider whether to invest in infrastructure, support local entrepreneurs, diversify free-trade agreements, and build market-oriented educational institutions.”
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