Consumer focus will drive business growth - CNBC Africa

Consumer focus will drive business growth

Southern Africa

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Consumer focus is key for growth. PHOTO: Getty Images

“We find that often the way companies view the market place is as a volume opportunity and on trying to make people need more things rather than make things that people need,” David Blyth, managing director of brand strategy consultancy, Yellowwood, told CNBC Africa on Tuesday.

He believes that an opportunity exists to connect business innovation to societal needs. In other words, instead of focusing on taking income away from consumers, businesses should rather manufacture products that can assist in making consumers more income.  

“We think there’s a massive opportunity for a different kind of growth,” said Blyth.

He further explained that this kind of growth means organisations need to find a balance between shareholder value and societal value. So while businesses are developing products and services that deliver value to customers that has a positive effect on their lives, it in turn will increase their profit margins.

“Delivering value will increase profits ultimately,” he added.

Marius Voster, head of marketing of Coca Cola South Africa, stated that an example of this kind of brand strategy can be seen in some of Coca Cola’s new marketing campaigns.

“There are a few programs that Coca Cola has run pretty successfully, which is the owner driver programme where you invest with a truck driver and in a few years, you can actually own that truck,” said Voster.

Also, Coca Cola invests in small businesses through their cooler placement programme which gives these business owners the opportunity to sell cold products to consumers.

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These kinds of initiatives, Voster added, allows your company to really become a part of the community and not just eat into consumers’ incomes.  

“You co-invest into small businesses in communities, not just to dip in and out but to really be part of them. You’re part of the community, you need to do work within the community without being selfish,” he explained.

In order to achieve this, Voster believes that the business mind set needs to change to focus more on factors such as bringing the product to the market and adding value to your company on a long term sustainable basis.

Blyth added that companies need to think of marketing as the voice of the consumer and that whichever strategy they decide on will represent their company’s values.

“It’s really important that marketing is seen to be the voice of the customer and that it represents that back into the organisation. Anything that is done in marketing needs to be based on a strategy, it’s a solution looking for the problem,” he explained.

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