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Marketing a Business in South Africa

South Africa

Marketing a Business in South Africa

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Marketing in South Africa

The international transition of a business when preparing to expand is more than just costs and procedures. It's more cultural acclimatisation than calculatory acumen. It's making sure your product or service fits the inclinations and idiosyncrasies of a nation; finding a way to culturalise your business in order to reap the same results your business has achieved domestically. This is accomplished through one simple step: effective marketing in South Africa.

Marketing your business on indigenous soil is an art-form in itself; attempting to do it overseas, even in South Africa, is nigh-on miraculous. Countries may be becoming more heterogeneous, but the foundations of a culture rarely budge for anything: their sensitivities, traditions, humour, discourses, protocols are essentially unchanging and stubbornly unaccommodating. Therefore, the identity of your product or service needs to seamlessly fashion itself upon a nation, not the other way around, shoehorned in, hoping for the best.

Advertising and Sales promotions in South Africa

South Africa has a developed and diverse advertising industry. Any new business expanding in South Africa will have the same channels of advertising as the UK. Print, broadcast, outdoor and electronic medias are open to advertising for foreign companies and there are numerous specialist agencies, to assist anyone setting up a new business with interpreting specific cultural nuances and preferences. There are also a number of international agencies with a presence in South Africa.

UK Trade and Industry operates a PR service, where it targets South African journalists and encourages them to interview businesses with a view to raising their profile.

Trade shows and exhibitions are also a helpful resource for individuals setting up a business in South Africa, and there are a number of industry specific events. It is recommended that any literature or promotional materials be of a high quality. English is the main language for business and South Africans expect regular contact from their business partners.

Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural sensitivity and understanding of protocol is paramount to effective marketing. The intricacies of a nation its beliefs, even its superstitions can make or break your business. Know the market; immerse yourself in it. Never assume your marketing strategy will be transplantable to a foreign country. There is only a slim chance language will translate well. Anglophonic countries may be susceptible, but if your product or service plays on a quintessentially British characteristic or joke the chances are, it will not be well received.

As for other countries, don't bank on using the same strap-lines or gimmicks. Unless they are perfectly transitional, your product or service could suffer especially if it relies on humour.

Unless you are certain your product or service can sell itself on indigenous merits, it is probably wise to revise its selling-points for a foreign market. As always, however, only your own fastidious research can conclude this.

South Africa is a complex society for any business expanding in the country to understand. There are fundamental contrasts in the ethos of different sectors of society. For instance, rural white Afrikaans farmers hold strong ethical values above materialism and have a traditional perspective. In contrast, people living in major cities have a more materialistic and worldly perspective. The role of women in South Africa is still a divisive issue but the government is addressing this. If you are setting up a business in South Africa, it is recommended that you consult a local agent with an in depth knowledge of the values and ethics of your target audience.

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