Into Africa

Written by Vernon Cheung

October 15, 2015

Isilumko Africa expands it footprint on the continent


With experience and expertise in brand activation spanning over two decades in South Africa, Isilumko Activate has expanded its service offering into Africa. Considering Africa’s population is set to double by 2050 and it’s a market ripe for consumption of goods and services, Africa lends itself well to consumer engagement activations. This compelled Isilumko Activate to begin exploring how best to export its activations expertise into Africa, so as to extend its branding and marketing expertise to clients wishing to penetrate the African market, now widely regarded as the market of the future; a market demonstrating hard-earned progress and promise.

Isilumko Activate Director, Brendan Powell, who has been with the company since 2008, says that as a wholly-owned subsidiary of EOH, a business that already has a presence in 32 African countries, Isilumko Activate will be able to tap into this experience. “With this as a competitive advantage, we will better be able to comprehend the opportunities and challenges presented across key African markets, as well as ensure our clients better understand the prevailing consumer trends across the continent, and in so doing help unlock the economic potential of Africa.”

Powell goes on to say, “Africa’s growth is projected to accelerate to between 5% and 6% in 2015, levels last seen before the 2009 global recession*. It is our mandate to ensure that we respond to the opportunities that this forecast presents, for the benefit of our clients.”

Recognising the exciting opportunities that this emerging market presents, (GDP growth rates second globally only to Asia) a cautious, informed approach to doing business ensures that the risks and challenges of building a brand and capturing market share, in “unfamiliar turf”, are tightly managed. “The many roadblocks in the cultural, economic, social, political and physical environment that clients are confronted with, coupled with the need to understand market potential, regulatory challenges, as well as the nuances of different business environments, is made far less daunting when the journey is partnered.”

Expanding on this, Lauren Durant, Director of Isilumko Activate says, “We are proposing a structured, four phased, project management approach for clients entering this new market. Of paramount importance is an understanding and acknowledgement of the fact that adaptability and flexibility are essential, to respond to each market’s specific requirements.”

Phase one is establishing the project scope and parameters and matching against the market insights Isilumko has. A careful analysis of relevant, appropriate territories and channel selection follows. Phase two comprises accessing local partners, who will mobilise “on the ground”. Durant adds that important criteria for consideration include geographic reach, infrastructure and capacity, as well as the required expertise.

During phase three, relevant “best in class” South African business processes, administrative, as well as management structures are proposed; alternatively recommendations are made based on local requirements.

A senior South African project management team is then seconded to the relevant country, to facilitate a seamless, efficient and effective campaign implementation and rollout. Some of the roles and responsibilities assigned to this team, include, but are not limited to: staff selection and training; in-field site visits and campaign kick-off planning; marketing collateral and prize management (either sourcing from relevant country or shipping from South Africa); engagement with existing import/export channels or establishment of new ones; sales and product training; activation management, including in-field spot checks and staff management and communication, as per client requirements and reporting.

Feedback and reporting, including any change, amendments and recommendations, going forward constitute Phase four.

Powell concludes that this turnkey approach to operating on the continent, which has been flagged among the world’s most rapidly growing economic regions, will ensure that the learnings and findings that emerge from activations, are understood and embraced for the future, ensuring activations and operations in Africa are viable for clients.

“The quickening of Africa’s economic pulse is bathing the continent in new economically viable opportunities and vibrancy. With the business world’s gaze turned to the African continent, understanding the dynamics of the current landscape is essential to successful penetration of this market and we are uniquely positioned to assist brands seeking to secure a foothold on the continent,” concludes Powell.

* Reference:


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