The secrets of their success

"Different organisations use different approaches and there are many measurement tools available in the industry to track their success or failures," says Marcus Sorour, general manager of marketing and communications agency Waggener Edstrom South Africa.

"Marketers are using these tools to listen carefully to how their brand is being perceived. Any brand that is not doing that will not be around in the next five years."

He says that the organisations who listen carefully to their clients and stakeholders will be able to adapt to shifts in perception much better than their competitors.

MTN South Africa
Serame Taukobong, chief marketing officer at MTN South Africa, says the organisation wants to be known as a company that strives to make the lives of its customers brighter, and connect them to the digital world.

"If a company is perceived to be unethical, environmentally unfriendly, inaccessible, and non-philanthropic by its target market then it is more likely to be unsustainable irrespective of how brilliant the marketing strategy, product or service.

"Good reputation informs the buyer's decision to invest their money with a brand that exudes a sound reputation and is well-spoken of," says Taukobong. MTN says it is committed to assisting in developing the country and its people. Part of this is ensuring South Africans have access to quality telephony services.

And what does he think is the secret behind the success of the company? "Customer-centricity, continued investment in our infrastructure, and connecting customers with their passion by making informed decisions on sponsorship properties. Leadership, especially in living brand values to ensure a lasting impact is also important."

He says that MTN has been able to attract great talent that is committed to live its brand values and delivering on its promises.

Edgars
In a statement, Edcon cites several reasons why Edgars has such a strong corporate reputation including having a well-established brand, access to good store locations, offering quality merchandise at competitive prices, and providing efficient service by well-trained and eager employees.

"Key to our success is having an in-depth understanding of our various customer segments and ensuring we have an exciting value proposition and product offering to meet those requirements. We understand that this is an ongoing and evolving effort and we continue to seek new and unique methods and initiatives to enhance the brand," states the company.

South African Breweries (SAB)
Robyn Chalmers, head of media and communications at SAB, says the company recognises that it has an obligation to enhance the communities in which it operates and it does so because it is the right thing to do.

"For more than a century here in the country, we have known that our success as a business depends largely on our ability to deliver superior value to our fellow South Africans, particularly consumers, retailers, and society."

SAB is particularly proud of its various government and civic partners such as the "You Decide" underage programme, the SAB League grassroots football development programme, and the Tavern Intervention Programme which seeks to reduce harm to women and children.

"The company believes that its business is not separate from society. Our success is inextricably linked to the well-being of the wider community. So we focus on doing good, not because it is beneficial to us, but because it is good for all," adds Chalmers.

This is the age where company stakeholders are watching and listening more closely than ever.

Structures need to be put in place that mitigate against negative market perceptions that can impact the share price.

And if the strategies of any of these companies are anything to go by, then an essential component is the importance they place on giving back to the community and being involved with the people of the country.

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