After much research and experience, Jacaranda FM’s marketing manager Jenny Griesel gives insight into how to engage an Afrikaans audience via radio.
Use humour, but keep it tasteful. Afrikaans consumers enjoy a good laugh at life. However, keep it clean – children, disabled, their forefathers, religion and sexuality are no-go areas. Make sure that every member of the family can laugh at the same time when digesting your message.
If you use spokespeople, make sure they’re credible. Not just in the way they speak, but credible in society. Make sure they live honest lives and that they are true to what they’re representing on your behalf. The guy-next-door spokesperson can carry just as much weight as a superstar, depending on what you’re selling. They bring approachability and accessibility into the mix.
Make it easy to get lots of information about your brand, the products and services you’re offering. Afrikaans consumers are information gatherers. Complement your radio advertising with print so that there is a tangible source of real information. This market places a high value on flyers and leaflets. Don’t expect them to convert overnight.
Give it time and constantly feed them with information so that they’re able to get a deep understanding of your brand.
Live your brand values. The Afrikaans market is all about long-term loyalty and will expect your brand to behave with a long-term vision. Profile your directors well in the media so that the market can see who’s steering the ship. It’s not only about what they’re buying but also about who’s selling it. Make sure the passion for your brand is lived by every member of the company, keep your corporate governance flawless and behave like a good corporate citizen. Respond quickly to queries and complaints. Show that you care.
Avoid being too hard sell. After-sales service, a reputation for delivery and trustworthiness are highly valued. Although this market tends to be price sensitive, and will do price comparisons, trust in what they’re buying is priceless.
Praat die taal! It was Nelson Mandela who said: “Speak to a man in a language he understands and you speak to his head. Speak to him in his home language and you speak to his heart.” He couldn’t have been more right. Take the time to make your advertising messages available in their language. Get the language right, don’t use cheap translations and ensure that your tone conveys the feeling you want your advertising to engender.
Support phenomena and causes that are close to their hearts. Be it rugby, arts and culture, Afrikaans music, outdoor living, children, the aged or wildlife, show that you care about what they do. Don’t flippantly throw money at projects for the sake of what you’ll be able to talk about later. Immerse yourself in the market and find a good brand fit with a project so that your support is meaningful. Invest in programmes that further these causes with a true desire to make a difference.
Avoid tokenism. Throwing a picture of a koeksister or a rugby player into your ads does not make it Afrikaans and Afrikaans consumers will see through this. Agencies that work with brands deeply rooted in Afrikaans culture, such as Draftfcb, show a deep understanding of the Afrikaans psyche and are able to guide you in crafting messages that convey sincerity and credibility.
Don’t patronise them. Don’t speak down to them and never underestimate their sophistication. Speak to them, not at them, and make dialogue with your brand easy. Although they enjoy humour, they don’t appreciate being portrayed as lower class, stupid or backwards. One error will set you back, so make sure thorough planning is in place and that you’re able to deliver what you promise for a long time.
Don’t be afraid to be different! This market displays huge appreciation for arts and culture, and loves the lekker life! Love them. Let them enjoy your brand communications. It doesn’t have to always be serious. Keep it fun and light-hearted. Be bold. Be creative. Stand out!
Jenny Griesel is on the board of the Pendoring Afrikaans Advertising Awards, a trustee of the Ghoemas Afrikaans Music Awards Trust.
This story was first published in a special edition of ‘Die Media’, in June 2012, that explores Afrikaans media in South Africa.
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