Pan African Marketing, A Bunny Chow is not a Kota (African consumers are not all the same).

By Judith Mugeni

June 28, 2016

This article was sparked by an engaging conversation with my esteemed colleague @BongaSebesho which sparked the need to put my thoughts onto paper for marketers.

A Bunny Chow is not a Kota.

This is a great a starting point for marketing across borders in Africa or within the same country e.g. South Africa. We need to ALWAYS be aware that nuances exist be it at a provincial/state, city and one can get even more granular at suburbs/towns. While there maybe similarities, differences can be observed. Nuances that might be overlooked by brands but that matter to the consumer.

Information search on travelling lead us to trying out French Quarter Beignets, (tasty little pastries that i will probably regret eating as much as i have). First thought was these have similarities to Mandasi in Malawi, to Magwenya in South Africa, to Bitumbula in the DRC.

Bunny Chow might look similar to some to a kota BUT they are not the SAME.

Africa is a big continent, its not one, it has similarities and differences. In 2008, my ex colleague Matthew Angus and I co wrote a chapter in “the global brand book” by Nigel Hollis where we shared our love and experience on marketing to the African consumer, adapted from a SAMRA paper, “a light on the dark continent.” In the book we highlighted the need to observe these differences when coming up with new products, marketing campaigns amongst other things etc

By implication, one cannot start the conversation with a “kota is the same as a bunny chow” when putting up a marketing strategy for whatever region one is targeting. We start from the point of view, that those we are targeting share some similarities, we accept that there are some nuances, we make a decision.

I once watched an advert being shot, a kid had to take at least 4 takes with different “slices of bread”, at the time i was perplexed until i worked in the different countries that the ad was being aired. Came to the conclusion that “bread is not bread everywhere”

Kudos to the marketers that observe these nuances and tailor make messages to their target audience.

Views expressed here are of my own. For more info contact me



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