Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Adnan Arnautlija
Set to take place from 11th to 14th April, the PRO PR Conference is closer each day, and promises to bring a very diverse program to the delegates that will gather this year at Zlatibor, Serbia. Staying true to its promise of providing a platform for learning and exchanging experiences from all around the world, organizers have prepared 16 lectures and two panel discussions that will tackle a wide range of topics.
One of the names on the Conference program that particularly piqued our interest was Robyn de Villiers, Chairman and CEO of Burson Cohn & Wolfe Africa. Holding the helm of an agency network that covers markets in 53 of Africa’s 55 countries, Ms. de Villiers is one of the leaders of communications industry in Africa. She is coming to PRO PR to share her rich experience and unique perspective from this diverse continent that is quickly rising and transforming, yet staying true to tradition.
We talked with Robyn about the specific characteristics of Africa, importance of communications localization and prospects for the future.
Media Marketing: The title of your lecture suggests you will share with the audience at PRO PR Conference your insights on the characteristics of communications industry in Africa. What are actually the main traits of this industry in your region?
Robyn de Villiers: The important thing for people to understand is that Africa is a continent of 55 countries each with its own communications environment: its own languages, media pool, customs and cultures and with some being more advanced than others. Given this, it is important for companies intent on doing business in Africa to be supported by communications partners with local knowledge and insights, who are able to speak the local languages and have well-established relationships.
Understanding this is what led me to start Burson-Marsteller Africa. Our network, which now covers 53 of the 55 African countries, is based on long-standing partnerships with local agencies highly regarded in their markets. It is a truly indigenous African communications network which combines the advantages of local agency insight, connectivity and implementation with seamless coordination, reporting and strategy direction from our Africa hub in Johannesburg.
Media Marketing: How important is localization of global communication in your market having in mind the above characteristics? Where do you see the biggest opportunities for PR industry in Africa in the future?
Robyn de Villiers: Localisation is critical. As Africa rises, her people become more and more proud of their home and their heritage and want to see it celebrated. One of the biggest opportunities for communicators in Africa is the rapid growth in mobile phone usage. Africa is the world’s second largest mobile market, and at the same time the least penetrated, with smartphone numbers predicted to triple in the next five years. Localising content and spreading it on the mobile platforms is an enormous opportunity.
Media Marketing: Are global brands up to the challenge of localization? Not long ago H&M took the headlines for all the wrong reasons, but is there some example you could share of a brand that successfully localised their communication?
Robyn de Villiers: It is becoming more and more important for brands to ensure that they are relevant to African consumers. From a communications perspective, this means developing programmes that resonate with and appeal to local communities. On a simplistic level, that should include taking local customs and values into consideration and treating issues in a sensitive manner. It must also involve showcasing all things local like local celebrities, local music, local art and local language.
Media Marketing: What is it that you participants at the PRO PR Conference to take away from your lecture?
Robyn de Villiers: I want the audience to leave my session having learnt something they didn’t know about Africa, appreciating the excitement of working in this rising environment and knowing that, from a communications perspective, in Africa there is no such thing as ‘one-size fits all’.