Hardly striking

African companies are hardly known abroad. Jeremy Sampson, Africa head of Brand Finance in Johannesburg, explains why there are so few global brands from Africa.

Jeremy Sampson, Head of Brand Finance Africa
Jeremy Sampson,
Brand Finance Africa
Why are there so few African brands that are perceived outside the continent?

Sampson: The best-known brands are probably Nelson Mandela or the national rugby team Springboks as well as holiday destinations such as Marrakech and Cape Town - so they have little to do with classic branded goods. There are many reasons why few African brands are internationally known. For example, because multinational companies are outbidding or buying up local competition in African markets. Or because some African brands hide their roots. There are no real pan-African brands. And the few African brands that can be found in industrialized countries have professional marketing experts on board who understand these markets.

What African brands could you come across abroad?

Sampson: Especially in South African names. With the brands Savanna and Hunter's, Distell is the world's second largest producer of apple cider and also produces the cream liqueur Amarula, which is in second place globally after Baileys. The fast food chain Nando's is available on every continent. Global players often buy up African brands and introduce them worldwide, just as the brewery group Anheuser-Busch InBev did with South Africa's oldest beer brand Castle Lager or Procter & Gamble with the cosmetic brand Oil of Olaz, also from South Africa.

Brands from Asia, on the other hand, are internationally successful. Do they play a role in Africa and what could African brands learn from them?

Sampson: China is the largest foreign investor in Africa, so the presence of Chinese brands such as telecommunications companies Huawei and Transsion is also growing. Indian and Korean car brands like Tata, Mahindra, Kia and Hyundai and electronics like Samsung and LG are also huge. All of them have top marketers who understand emerging markets and are ready to invest now and for the future. In addition, their products are often geared towards affordability, while being robust and reliable. A lot can be learned here from an African perspective.

Thank you for the interview!


Jeremy Sampson is managing director of Brand Finance Africa and has almost 50 years of experience in marketing, advertising and branding.
Photo: provided

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