An open letter to FMCG brand managers

Dear FMCG brand managers, if your product is appealing to the township (black) market, why are you using Sandton-based agencies? Will it not serve you better to be working with agencies that are actually township-based and live the culture, with a full understanding of the market you’re trying to appeal to?

I remember sitting down with one FMCG CEO a few years ago, asking for advice in expanding my business into Africa, and one of the lessons he shared was that, in order to expand into a country like Nigeria, one needs to partner with a local. This is because the country is too diverse with different languages and social groups. He went on to explain that his new employer had tried launching a cereal brand in Nigeria and lost big time, mainly because they did not understand the Nigerian eating habits – hence the need for partnering with a local.

In this, Lemok is the local within the township (black) market. What works for a Sandton mother is not necessarily what will work for a Soshanguve mother. Also, as popularly assumed, words like “heita” aren’t used by everyone within the township market; each township has its lingo and own culture. So real understanding of the market, not just “research data”, is crucial.

My company, Lemok Agency, is a township-based, digital-first and full-service agency, founded by myself, the 2016 Standard Bank Tshwane Business Awards’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Lebogang Mokubela.

Lemok was founded on the basis that it is impossible to understand the township market when you look at it through fancy Sandton offices, as other agencies would. You need to be amongst the market, know their decision-making philosophies and understand the vast languages. Lemok was founded to challenge the misconception that the activations within the township market are all about freebies, giveaways and competitions.

Brands need to do so much more to properly captivate this market.

So, my view is that FMCG brand managers need to stop using Sandton-based agencies to target the township market. There are more than enough township-based agencies, including Lemok Agency.

Give us a call when you’re ready to do real work in the township (black) market. Like we say, we are the agency to use when you’re tired of the rest.

Contact Lebogang Mokubela | | 012 797 2072

Article originally published on BizCommunity


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