OPINION: A trusted friend of mine recently commented on how impressed she was with a locally produced movie that is currently being screened at local cinemas. She spoke more about how great the story line was and how it resonated with her, and less about the fact that it was a South African film.
This got me thinking that perhaps the way we market locally produced brands/products needs a mind-shift. The narrative has become rhetoric – support local brands and help grow the economy; but THEN, what if the quality is not good enough?
Organisations like Proudly South African are successfully driving the ‘local is lekker’ initiative by positioning all locally produced goods and services as top-of-mind when consumers need to make buying decisions.
“The aim of the Proudly South African Campaign is to encourage South Africans to source and procure from local businesses, in so doing they will be supporting enterprise development and injecting the money back into the economy instead of it leaving the country to foreign importers,” it proclaims.
I am one hundred percent behind such initiatives because they also help us to balance the social and economic injustices of the past and create a sense of patriotism, but the question is… In the last 22 years of our democracy, has this change made any significant impact on the economy in any way? Have we become consumers psychologically and geographically aware of being local or is it the guilt-trip and a sense of agh shame/pity in us that leads us to buy/consume locally produced brands?
Let’s change the narrative in brand communication… quality is and will always be KING; think local and compete globally.
I don’t have the answers to the above questions, but my gut feeling tells me that maybe it’s time we changed the narrative from “supporting local” to “supporting quality” brands that happen to be made locally.
Not mentioning the obvious, it’s like mind over matter. It’s not using the Ace card (being local). It’s like not mentioning a person’s race but how good they are; not mentioning a person’s gender but how excellent they are at their job.
The playing field will be levelled in the future and we need to compete and strive to be the best in respective industries
Back to my initial observation and typical example. South African produced movies don’t enjoy the same amount of success in the box office compared to films produced overseas; we know this story too well and many reasons are given for this. The question is, do we produce quality content that resonates with the viewers/listeners at that particular time?
Brand communication that says people must support a brand because it is made by South Africans has proved that consumers need more convincing than that. Perhaps the script should be: here is a must-see movie, excellent production, brilliant actors and it happens to be South African.
Brands such as Nandos, DJ Black Coffee, Trevor Noah, MTN, Vodacom etc. compete successfully locally and worldwide because they are authentic, the best at what they do and happen to be South African.
Let’s change the narrative in brand communication… quality is and will always be KING, think local and compete globally.
Mfundo Ntsibande (@ntsibandema) is a marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience in brand/marketing and communication. Views expressed are writers personal opinion.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.