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What Braai Day can teach you about brand positioning

On 24 September we celebrate South Africa’s unique cultural diversity. Braai Day has become so entrenched that some people hardly remember that it’s actually Heritage Day. The Braai Day concept originated in 2005, recognising the tradition that all (well, most) South Africans share. The day promotes the notion that variety is a national asset, as opposed to something that creates conflict, and it’s set aside for us to enjoy the uniqueness of being South African. Whatever language, region or religion, we can share this heritage of having a braai, a shisa nyama or ukosa!

But how did Braai Day become so successful? The answer lies in the fact that brand positioning is vital when it comes to building a brand and securing its place in the heart of the consumer. The success of Braai Day as a brand can teach us a lot about how effective brand positioning can launch a brand into prosperity.

Forging an identity for all South Africans

Jan Braai (Jan Scannell) is the man behind the National Braai Day initiative. He came up with this concept as a way to contribute to strengthening South Africa as a nation by nurturing and embracing a shared South African culture. Clever marketing and brand positioning strengthened his own success as a brand and also succeeded in branding this public holiday and creating a unifying and positive image of South Africans.

Brand positioning is a key aspect in developing an effective marketing strategy ─ the proof is in the pork chops, sizzling over countless fires every year on 24 September.

Positioning a brand

It can be defined as a way of creating a brand offer in such a manner that it occupies a distinctive place and significance in the target consumer’s mind. It is also the single feature that sets your services apart from those of your competitors and should form the consumer’s views about your brand. It’s the reason why some people will always drink Pepsi, while others will simply love Coke.

Brand positioning ensures that all brand activity has a common aim ─ it is guided, directed and carried by the brand’s benefits and focuses on all points of contact with the consumer. It also reveals the viability of a product or service and can show new directions and even reveal new opportunities by clearly defining a niche.

Brand positioning and strategy will provide you with a clear direction for the development of your brand as well as for the future for your marketing. It is a specialised field and needs to be done by professionals who can guide you in the best possible direction.

Positioning means starting a fire in the consumer’s mind

In Positioning: The battle for your mind, Al Ries and Jack Trout emphasise the view that when positioning your brand, you need a key insight – a single aspect that can be used to gain a competitive advantage, something that identifies the specific way that the brand can either solve a problem or create an opportunity for the consumer. An insight must generally be enduring and is always the basis for a brand’s positioning.

In the case of Jan Scannell, a lot of the thinking was already there, but he saw the opportunity and vast potential that lay in one simple word: Braai. It is something that already occupied South African minds as a valuable entity and by positioning National Braai Day as a way to unify a nation with a shared interest, it effectively demonstrates how a key insight into social behaviour and cultural diversity led to a simple, yet powerful concept and brand image.

The brand name

The name is the first point of contact between the brand message and the consumer. It is not always whether the name is fantastic or not so great that determines effectiveness – it is the appropriateness of the name. National Braai Day might sound a bit ridiculous at first, but as a brand name begins the positioning process and tells the prospect what a brand or product’s main benefit is, Braai Day’s benefit is crystal clear.

Jan Braai’s branded campaign was so successful that Nobel Peace Prize winner Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu agreed to become a patron of National Braai Day. In 2007 the initiative received the endorsement of South Africa’s National Heritage Council. Jan Braai has also become a public persona and has successfully published his own recipe book, Vuurwarm, in addition to hosting the television programme Jan Braai vir Erfenis. Meanwhile the Braai Day concept has grown even further and now boasts a Braai Day app and even a Braai Day song.

Lemonade Hub provides effective brand positioning strategies with a service that is customised according to our clients’ needs as well as their budget. Contact us for a consultation to assess your needs ─ we’re keen to be your brand’s thinking partner!



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