Beating the Odds in South Africa: A Nielsen Consumer 360 Event

We recently hosted a Nielsen Consumer 360 event in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event’s theme, ‘Beating The Odds: Today And Tomorrow,’ provided attendees an understanding of the changing South African consumer, retail and media landscape, thereby helping them identify opportunities to win in South Africa.

Nick Papagregoriou, President, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, Middle East, and Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen, kicked off the event with a welcome address. He was followed by the keynote session featuring Deshun Deysel, the world’s first African woman high-altitude mountaineer, sharing how she beats the odds—be it summiting Mount Everest or running an international business. Setting the tone for the insight sessions that followed, her presentation was inspiring and motivational with many similarities drawn between overcoming business challenges and completing a successful mountaineering expedition.

Setting the stage for the South African consumer landscape, Bryan Sun, Managing Director, Africa, Nielsen, highlighted the multitude of shifts in the next 10 years impacting South Africa in the first session ‘Winning the Consumer Odds.’ The session identified who the consumers are, where they will be, and their spending ability and sentiment. Bryan also highlighted the impact of the growth in Generation X (35-49 year old), increasing urbanization—69% of South Africa’s population will be urbanized by 2025—and the growing need for speed and convenience.

The next session ‘Defending Your Brand Odds’ with Esti Prinsloo, Director, BASES, Nielsen, focused on the consumer basket and spend. To remain truly relevant in the current times and the future, brands need to find the winning combination of being convenient, making consumers’ lifestyles easier, while also promoting healthy living via natural ingredients. She spoke about how smart innovation can play a big role in growing the brand and the category.

The third session, ‘Stretching Your Reach and Reaction Odds’ featuring Terry Murphy, Managing Director, Watch (Media), Nielsen, looked at marketing investment in advertising and sponsorships and how it can be optimized for the best return on investment. With increasing complexity and challenges arising from ongoing media fragmentation and changes in consumer behavior, one needs to make every interaction and brand spend count. Even in times of budget constraints, a smartly deployed budget can yield returns multiple times that of an average media execution.

The fourth session ‘Boosting Your Trading Odds’ was co-presented by Nielsen’s Gareth Paterson, Retailer Vertical Lead and Ged Nooy, Sales Effectiveness Lead. The session focused on the evolving retail environment and changing shopping needs in South Africa. Gareth and Ged highlighted the motivators of channel choice and store experience, as well as the value of strategic pricing and promotion. Moreover, they shared how this coupled with distribution efficiency can help manufacturers reach the right stores to achieve success at the last mile.

The event concluded with a power-packed panel discussion on how to beat the odds in South Africa, with senior leaders from across FMCG, media, and the telecom industry. The discussion brought to light various strategies that businesses are adopting to cope with challenges in a fast changing environment.

All in all, the event helped attendees uncover today’s change that will pave the way for tomorrow’s opportunity to win in South Africa.

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