Hermann Behrens: Brand Union CEO Middle East & Africa , discusses how international brands are localized, the differences and similarities between the African and Middle Eastern markets, and the brands that are currently under Brand Union’s wing…
According to Behrens, there is going to be an increase of international companies coming into the African market acquiring strong companies and brands. As a result the African/South African markets are going to become a lot more global. Based on some of the past successes and failures, Behrens says that the way a brand approaches its entry into the market is key to its success or failure.
Behrens, now based in Dubai, says that Dubai is quite different to the rest of the Middle East. The biggest Middle Eastern Market is in Saudi Arabia with 25 million people, and at the moment that is where Brand Union Africa/Middle East does the majority of its business. The similarities between the South African and Middle Eastern Markets are that both markets are emerging with high levels of ambition and growth potential, both are very young markets (high percentages of young people) which obviously affects the way in which branding is managed and made relevant for younger people, explains Behrens. Much of the focus in emerging markets, like those in Africa and the Middle East, is on growing and developing local S.A. brands into the global space – Barloworld, Emirates, and Investec are examples of brands who have succeeded at this..
Brand Union’s African Porfolio
“SAB is the brand that we are working with most prolifically – which forms a part of our 10 Global Key Client Partnerships. These 10 brands are studied and looked at every quarter, as they are strategically critical to our business,” explains Behrens. There are also some big Nigerian brands, oil and petroleum corporations, and telecoms providers that fall into Brand Union’s current portfolio.