Cannes Lions: Africa Focus
What’s next for Africa? Speaking at the Cannes Lions festival, Andy Fennell, CMO of global distiller Diageo, and Dale Tomlinson, CEO of Durban-based creative consultancy The Hardy Boys, identified key strategies to keep ahead of the creativity curve on the continent.
Africa is “a place full of possibility and opportunity, where our creativity is only constrained by our imagination”, said Fennell. But it is also “stereotypes on steroids”, warned Tomlinson.
Fennell and Tomlinson issued five calls to action for businesses going into Africa:
- Africa is backwards and forwards: be aware of its proud heritage and its rapid absorption of technology. Young Africans have moved from handwriting to handheld devices. A staggering 80% of Kenyans bank from their mobile phones, noted Tomlinson.
- Leave your stereotypes at the door. Every stereotype you've heard about Africa is true, but stereotypes don't help you do business, said Fennell. Do the work, he urged.
- Africa is a continent, not a country. It is a continent of 54 countries, where more than 2,000 languages are spoken. Start with that in mind. Don't assume that what works in one location will work everywhere. Tap into Africa’s rich cultural diversity to deliver breathtaking work, said Fennell.
- Make rules and break rules. Come with an open mind. You might have to revisit the roots of your business to succeed in Africa, said Tomlinson. The challenge is to help consumers understand how your brand can enhance their lives.
- Be sensitive, be brave. Understand how people engage in Africa. If you get sensitive cultural issues right, you will be in the game. Once you know which territory is sacrosanct, you can go wild. The only way you will be noticed in Africa is to get consumers to change their habits, concluded Tomlinson.
For a closer look at Diageo’s push for growth in developing markets, see Two-Way World, part of the Stylus Macro Trend Unlocking New Worlds. Similarly, Africa’s Leap Forward focuses on Africa as a consumer market of rich potential.
Cannes Lions ran from June 16-22 in France. Look out for more detailed coverage of this year’s event coming soon from Stylus.