When the second most popular brand in South Africa happens to be a mobile networking company, there is definitely an opportunity to connect with individuals using social media. MTN is a billion dollar brand that has paved the way for South Africans communicating through cellular phones. MTN Group is head-quartered in Johannesburg, SA, and has 100 million subscribers through its operations in 21 countries. The brand is successful for many reasons and one is their invested interest in the African community. Their statement on their ‘About Us’ states,
As a major communications company, MTN is focused on the African continent. We believe that through access to communication comes economic empowerment.
Their recent campaign in conjunction with the 2010 FIFA World Cup sponsorship has an emphasis on malaria deaths in Africa. They are not only dominant in their market with many competitors they are socially involved with making a difference for the people in their country. They are a company that markets well to South Africans and here are some reasons why.
In 2005, BBC News reported that Africa was seeing the fastest mobile growth rate . The report further expressed that during their survey, 85% of small businesses operated by blacks relied solely on mobile phones for telecommunications and that 62% of them said mobile use was linked to an increase in profit despite higher call costs. These advancements were happening four years ago, and although one would assume that these changes would increase over time, it’s definitely appropriate to take in account the recent economic situations affecting the world globally. However, Ernst & Young recently looked at the penetration of mobile phones in South Africa and assessed that it’s around 98%. Well Deon Liebenberg, Regional Director for Sub Sahara Africa Research in Motion, definitely took notice. This is the same company behind Blackberry Solutions, who has seen the opportunity for Blackberry devices and Internet to have a stake in this rising market.
Cellular phones definitely set a platform for a brand to generate conversation. Yet, notably you have to take in account what South Africans are talking about, interested in, and how what you or provide will impact them. South Africa is definitely land of diversity. Many cultural and sociological factors are part of the make-up of this region, including the fact that South Africa has 11 officially recognized languages. This can make marketing to this region extremely difficult especially through mobile outreach. Despite this challenge, South Africans are engaged through social communication. Only 6 hours ago, a recent article posted that 5,000 text messages were sent to Obama in anticipation to his upcoming speech Saturday in Ghana. Macon Philips, director of new media at the white house stated,