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Marketing opinion

[Township Marketing]: Brand Communication

In a recent conversation I was told, "Just because I am poor, it doesn't mean I have to look poor." We know that township aspirations are very high. Ask anyone in Gugulethu or Khayelitsha what brands they prefer and you will most likely hear the likes of "Gucci, Armani, Fabiani, Country Road etc." (video)
If you ask the same question in a different area, for example on the Cape Flats, you will most likely have a different answer with brands such as "Edgars, Converse, Mr Price etc." being mentioned. Such aspirations are more reasonable and most likely based upon economic challenges and barriers.

However, in the so-called 'black townships', there are fewer economic barriers and many people have transcended their circumstances and enjoyed a proverbial 'rags to riches' scenario. People know that everything is possible and they aspire to driving a Maserati and living the high life. Some fortunate few have actually made this happen. If it means drinking cheap whisky at home, and sharing expensive whisky with friends in public, it will happen.



The appreciation of this point is important, not only to understand purchasing behaviour, but also brand communication. Many brands develop communication that they believe is targeted at the 'Township Market' and in order to make it relevant believe it suffices to merely throw in a few "jo, jo, jo's".

This communication type and placement based on the LSM is totally incorrect since purchase ambitions are highly differentiated from purchase abilities. Consumers will always make a plan and we need to start treating such consumers not as residents of Thembisa, for example, but rather residents of the City of Gold - where their hopes, dreams and aspirations reside - nested snugly with their purchasing behavior.

What we advertise in Sandton we need to advertise in Soweto.
    
 

About Jason Stewart

Jason Stewart is the co-founder and MD of HaveYouHeard (www.haveyouheard.co.za), South Africa's first specialist word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Jason attended Red & Yellow School of Advertising, where he obtained a postgraduate higher diploma in marketing and advertising communications management and later went on to work abroad in Nigeria and the UK. Contact Jason on tel +27 (0)21 409 7863, email and follow @HaveYouHeard_SA on Twitter.
Titi Mabitsela
Interesting stuff... I doubt marketers think about these things hey.
Posted on 17 Aug 2012 14:25
Bokang Sesiane
I know for sure we as advertisers think of this and even bring it to Client's attention (the brand marketers), which in most cases our ideas and thoughts are brushed off, ending up in placing all communication in towns and if we were lucky enough to place some in townships, we wouldn't be given a opportunity to place any new material
Posted on 17 Aug 2012 15:47
Yuri Phaswana
Hey titi
you cant just assume that the Brand managers blindly went into building the brands to where they are today. Market research is done before anything goes, and them making these brands for a niche market allowed for the Soweto people to aspire to have these products. I mean if everyone knew of the brand and everyone had the product it wouldnt have that special status that it has now. *just a thought ;-)
Posted on 20 Aug 2012 16:18
Mike du Toit
Based on my background as an IP attorney with experience in anti-counterfeit work, what Jason has picked up and reported on may also be a major driving force of the counterfeit goods market for clothing and footgear, especially of the well known popular brands
Posted on 17 Aug 2012 14:37
Bokang Sesiane
nteresting Video to watch, good inside especial for some of us who work with Brands that are targeted at this market. It is so true that there isn't a lot of outdoor advertising in the township and if there is an area that is lucky to have any, the material on the board would have be placed there for centuries. Last week when I was around My neighbour in Bloemfontein Mangaung I came across a Nedbank Cup billboard that was suppose to have been off long time ago. We seem to target this market in different location. Image how successful our campaigns that are target at the township market can be if we get them where they stay and not only provide them with flyers. I remember when Standard Bank introduced their Send Money Ekhaya, this campaign was received well in the market because their activation were in area they knew the target market are. The reach for this campaign was amazing.
Posted on 17 Aug 2012 15:45
Yuri Phaswana
@ mike du toit, I fully agree with you on the part of counterfeit goods. Jayson, advertising at Sandton and Soweto wouldnt make sense for the Brand Managers. I mean, it took them lots of time to build the brand to what it is today. eg Gucci has its own target whom they ar reaching (Sandton higher LSM people). Wont advertising in Soweto take that effect that a brand is for a niche market?
I think leave Sandton adverts in Sandton that way the the Soweto aspiring people have the brands that they aspire to have.
Posted on 20 Aug 2012 16:13
Eva Khosa
True indeed. I just hope there's a follow-up article expanding further on your last paragraph.
It is in the townships that you see people driving expensive cars and wearing expensive brands. Advertisers shouldn't limit themselves to only advertising 'Lucky Star Pilchards'-type brands. Show the market how far they can go, not just the reality of their circumstances, they live with it everyday.
Posted on 24 Aug 2012 16:02
kgosi legae
This is pretty interesting, as a student, such articles are valuable to read..
Posted on 13 Sep 2012 10:35
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