Marketing encompasses many different activities all designed to captivate – and keep – the hearts, minds and disposable incomes of new and existing customers.

Specifically, in the context of Proudly South African, the country’s only official buy local advocacy campaign, this means finding local vehicles to carry our message, the better to resonate with South Africans, to whom we are appealing, after all, to support their own.

Humans have a desire to belong. We all want to fit in somewhere and identify with something.  Marketing’s role is to give customers that sense of belonging through the brand choices we make precisely because we identify with a specific product and the way it makes us feel.

But group identity is never entirely homogenous. Whilst we want to belong, we are all individuals. As a marketer, once you have identified your audience and what its values, aspirations and expectations are, like any relationship you must build it and nurture it and entrench your brand identity with each and every person who is the sum of the whole of your consumers.

Given this complexity of identity, brand executions and activations need to be focussed and consistent, finding platforms and vehicles for communication and messaging that align with the identity you have now created. This goes for the style of clothes we wear, the cars we drive, or the devices we use. Identity is found it the genre of music we listen to – you will see group identity manifest itself at a musical concert or team event where everyone will be wearing similar clothes and will be in approximately the same age group – theirs was not a random once off choice of outfit or event to attend. All the elements have come together to create an identity with which each individual in the group can associate.

Once a brand strays away from its core identity, it risks alienating those customers that were drawn to their product in the first place because it made them feel safe, rich, virtuous, attractive or powerful but always affirmed and validated as part of something bigger than themselves.

As Proudly South African, we appeal to consumers’ sense of national pride and patriotism. We discourage conflating our controversial politics with simple pride in our flag, national anthem, spectacular coastline and landscapes which we use to encourage a sense of positivity in the country. We promote the desire to support each other, nowhere are we more united than on the sports field, but more especially for the buy local movement, in the every-day purchasing choices we make.

Local is lekker. Local is quality. Buying local creates jobs, and we all know we could do with more of those.

Happy MaKhumalo Ngidi

Chief Marketing Officer – Proudly South African