Africa Month Interview

#AfricaMonth: "African consumers are on the rise" - Pernod Ricard

Hlukani Pinto, regional marketing manager SSA at Pernod Ricard, lets us in on the luxury brand's African consumer market and how they tailor their 'premiumisation' approach to mobile-first consumers on the continent.
Hlukani Pinto, regional marketing manager SSA at Pernod Ricard.
Hlukani Pinto, regional marketing manager SSA at Pernod Ricard.

As regional marketing manager SSA, Pinto does a lot of work in the African market.

This involves contributing to the strategy development for sub-Saharan Africa, ensuring that brand companies and market companies are aligned in this regard; as well as implementing these strategies with the assistance of market and brand companies; monitoring and evaluating these strategies to be able to course correct or better move into the next fiscal year; while also building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders across the business.

Here, Pinto explains how the Pernod Ricard brand does business in Africa, particularly in terms of how they then tailor and spread their marketing messages to the continent’s mobile-first consumers…

BizcommunityPernod Ricard is a luxury brand – does that make it more of a challenge to do business in Africa? Explain the context of doing business here.
Pernod Ricard was established officially in 1975 with the merger of two French anise-based spirits companies: Pernod, founded in 1805; and Ricard, founded in 1932. We have over 80 affiliates and 100 production sites globally and employ over 18,500 employees.

And although the business has been operating globally since 1975, operations in Africa only formally began in 2011, excluding South Africa, where our presence has been in existence since 1994.

Africa has a young population and a growing labour force. This is a highly valuable asset in an ageing world. Furthermore, it is estimated that within the next 10 years, an additional 187-million Africans will live in cities – that’s the world’s fastest rate of urbanisation. So contrary to popular belief, Africa is on the rise and certainly the consumers we are paying attention to are too, as the rest of the world should.
Our business strategy has chosen to focus on sustainable growth through a large portfolio of international brands, and a high-end strategy known as premiumisation.

BizcommunityShare a few insights into the African consumers you target and how they differ from your South African consumers specifically.
Our African consumers have a huge sense of country/African pride. This is expressed across the board from their sense of everyday dress to food, language and music played in high-end nightclubs.

Consumers across the continent are a lot more alike than people may realise. It is on these similarities that we’re able to build on learnings from our South African, US and UK consumers, to tailor our approach to consumers on the rest of continent.

As South Africans, I believe we could learn from consumers across the continent, especially the sense of pride and patriotism expressed through their everyday life such as dress, food, language, music and more.

@absolutsa One Source Live will be aired on @dstvza tonight at 21:30 on @1magictv channel 103. #BeAbsolut #OneSourceLive THIS IS A REVOLUTION. CREATIVITY IS OUR WEAPON

A post shared by Pernod Ricard South Africa (@pernodricard_za) on

BizcommunityWhat do you need to factor in to your marketing strategy when catering to the various levels of African consumer?

Pernod Ricard’s vision is Créateurs de Convivialité: We are reinventing conviviality by enhancing social moments. This is part of our company and part of our people.

Celebrate your #NextVictory with @ghmumm_sa.

A post shared by Pernod Ricard South Africa (@pernodricard_za) on

We regard our brands as aspirational and carry products that can be enjoyed at every social moment. Our products, along the rest of the luxury category, are aspirational. As a result, we cater to consumers with this mindset.

BizcommunityMakes sense. Lastly, as Africa is obviously a mobile-first continent, how does that play into how you tailor and spread your marketing messages?
Digital is at the heart of all our initiatives implemented, in fact, this is a key pillar of our global business strategy.

E-commerce has taken off exceptionally well on the continent, as illustrated through our partnership with Jumia, where we’ve co-created a new platform: Jumia Party.

Jumia Party is a one-hour alcohol delivery service and has seen in excess of 100% growth within 6 months.

Digital has and will continue to play a vital role in the way we choose to connect with our consumers.

Seems it’s a digital-first approach for the win, no matter your target market. Follow Pernod Ricard on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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