As a service provider to the mining industry in Africa for the past 8 years, we’ve learned a great deal. Working on the continent presents its own challenges – and wins. Here are our Top 5 tips for developing and maintaining an effective brand in this unique market.
Tip 1: Make time for time.
Infrastructure, weather and political instability means that Supply Chain has their work cut out for them! Allow sufficient time for your collateral and Capex (signage, uniforms, campaigns etc.) and then allow an additional third of the time to account for the inevitable, unforeseen circumstances. The Marketing department often isn’t given much time for planning the mining collateral, so remember to train your internal team on marketing best practice and timings.
Tip 2: Keep the right people close.
Finding and keeping the right people can be tough. Establish a network of skilled service providers who know and care about your business – they often outlast a high turnover of staff, and so bring stability and knowledge to your departments. Choose service partners who are skilled in marketing and experienced in the mining sector so that you have the best team at your fingertips.
Tip 3: Avoid a culture clash.
A foreign workforce brings a unique challenge. The DRC for example, has 216 languages. If your site has foreign workers, you’ll be adding even more languages and cultures. Find out the most common languages of both the area your mine is in, and the majority of your workers so that you can communicate with them effectively. Make the effort to learn their cultures so that you can relate to them as people.
(Check out our article on the role of Colour in Cultural marketing or how to work with various languages across Africa.)
Tip 4: Stay safe.
Health and safety cannot be ignored. Make sure your signage, safety videos, health campaigns and Toolbox talks are available in the correct language and dialect. MOST importantly, actually show the correct practices – too often corporate videos show incorrect safety practices, which means that your marketing investment can’t be used. A successful brand is a safe brand.
Tip 5: Plan the Action, then Action the Plan.
Unlike the fluctuating commodities market, your brand plan should be strategised and implemented methodically. This is where a Brand Management team can overcome your issues with time, skills and experience.
Read more about our experience of working in the marketing for mining in Africa sector.