When you think of South African heritage, you think of everything from Table Mountain, the diverse fauna and flora of the beautiful country, the delicious koeksister recipe Ouma makes and the artwork of Madiba at the Nelson Mandela capture site at Howick.

Now, you may be wondering: What does any of this have to do with PR? Well, as a strategy, SA heritage can be applied across multiple industries in businesses — both big and small.

Still, left with some questions? Don’t worry, media update’s Maryna Steyn is here to uncover why South African heritage should be in your local PR strategy:

Using South African heritage personalises your PR message

Cultural heritage is part of who South Africans are — it forms the basis of their identity and values. So when a person comes across a brand message that speaks to their roots, they truly feel it resonating with them and as if they’re being understood.

This is because the way in which the brand’s messaging has been relayed is on a much deeper level; it makes the person think to themselves: this is who I am.

Local brands that are excellent at exhibiting this include the likes of King Price. The brand has a good — if not hilarious — way of making fun of the common misunderstandings people experience at some point during their daily lives in South Africa.

For example, its series of adverts for the ‘Lost in translation’ campaign draws on South Africans’ cultural differences as inspiration. The obvious miscommunication in the ads resonates with its audience in a funny and impactful way.


SA heritage embodies sentimental value

When South Africans think about where they come from, it creates a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. That’s because they have an emotional — or sentimental — connection to their roots. This powerful connection between these individuals and their heritage is what guides consumers in their decision-making.

When you give your PR campaign the ability to evoke that same warm, sentimental feeling of home, your audience start to associate that feeling with your brand. It’s like comfort food for the consumer brain. This feeling, in turn, drives your audience into action and builds that all important relationship between the brand and the target audience.

Take, for example, how the clothing store Jet used African heritage in its ‘#ClearTheStigma’ campaign. The apparel company developed a traditional necklace that South African women can wear proudly and in this way create awareness for the high mortality rate for black women with breast cancer.

SA’s heritage affirms that feeling of Ubuntu

It’s no secret that the beautiful rainbow nation of South Africa is a smelting pot of diverse cultures that mix and influence each other.

The use of it in a PR strategy means three things:
  • It acts as a change agent in nation building when South Africans learn about each other.
  • As a community, it makes citizens proud of the things they share and the tolerant and accepting of the differences they have.
  • It allows South Africans to learn how to share our stories and respect each other by celebrating their unique roots.
Many brands have already succeeded in using heritage in such a way. Nando’s adverts are some of the most recognisable ones to do this, but let’s look at another brand that recently used heritage in its PR strategy: Nestlé.

To celebrate the country’s diverse culture and highlight that which makes citizens proudly South African, the famous brand selected a few of its products to showcase beautiful designs by SA designers.

With Kit Kat, for example, the team wanted to encourage people to break the tension and barriers by connecting with each other on common ground — South Africans’ love for food!

Are you using South African heritage as your public relations strategy? Let us know in the comments below.
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Now that you know why you should include SA’s heritage, discover the Three ways to improve your internal PR strategy.
*Image courtesy of Canva