The Relevance in African Markets

For many years Procter and Gambles “The First moment of truth marketing” has led the way for brands all over the world in their decision-making process around consumer packaged goods on shop shelves.



The First Moment of Truth is by definition the first few seconds (considered 3-7 seconds) in which the consumer encounters a product for the first time. This is usually at the shelf when the consumer is shopping at her local retail outlet. This leaves an extremely small window in which brands have to convert a shopper into a buyer.  On shelf, marketing needs to appeal to shoppers needs, values and emotions in this short time frame in order to receive their endorsement and then sale.


The First Moment of Truth was then expanded into a second and third moment, which are respectively, when a customer makes a product purchase again based on brand experience, and when the consumer becomes a brand advocate.


In-store product placement has long being considered the most important marketing opportunity for a brand and largely it still is.    This includes the various points of purchase, be they in the run, at a gondola end or secondary display point, or at the till point.  Cross merchandising is also a good opportunity to create brand awareness and sales at a purchase point e.g. displaying an ice cream scoop spoon in the frozen food section, where ice cream is sold.


The age of technology has witnessed the birth of the Zero Moment of Truth, a term coined by Google, where consumers are potentially making shopping choices by what they have seen online. This new trend is yet to be quantified but it is one to watch for the future.




Understanding what drives unplanned spending in stores and what converts into a purchase is vital the more our world becomes connected. Everyday consumers receive extensive amounts of information whether in-store or online and are becoming increasingly adept at filtering out unwanted communication. Winning over consumers at the point of purchase has never been so critical.

In the massively competitive consumer market hitting the triple thread of availability, visibility and overall brand impression in the form of packaging etc. has become even more challenging.
So what are the key trends for the African market that could help brands to stay ahead of the game?




  • Choose your audience and speak to them


According to Memeburn, in 2015 one of the biggest macro trends set to influence consumer marketing was population size. By 2050, the African continent is expected to reach a population of 2 billion people, and will be largely youth, middle class and urbanized. The impression of your brand will have to speak to more and more people and it is key – to figuring out exactly who this audience is – you can’t speak to everyone.


  • Communicate via technology


This combined with increasingly discerning buyers; technological innovations in communication and a need for convenience will challenge brands even more to make the most of the First Moment of Truth.


  • Local is Lekker


In Africa and South Africa, in particular, there is a growing demand for homegrown or locally made products that are tailored to relevant local needs or support local markets.


Winning at the First Moment Of Truth Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth
Product Availability and attractiveness (packaging) Great content marketing on owned media (e.g. website and blog, social media)

Good SEO ranking

The consumer should be able to find out about your brand easily and quickly.


Placement Eye Level in category – brand blocking if possible and with visual enhancement e.g. shelf strips, wings and lighting


Secondary display at Gondola Ends and on Free Standing Units


Cross merchandising

Great content marketing on owned media (e.g. website and blog, social media)


Good PR via bloggers, online publications and reviews.


Mentions on various relevant sites by way of conversations of key users.


Promotion Special prices




Value Adds (e.g. gift with purchase)

Giveaways on owned media and bought media.


Regular co-promotions with partners and affiliates


Value adds for data (e.g. sign up to our newsletter and get a discount)

  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Web Banners
Price Visible and on point for the product based on the category (special price points where relevant) Price awareness through communication (price comparisons are good!)


More visibility both online and offline, and more activity, both online and offline, creates interest.   The idea is not to be screaming so loudly that you annoy the consumer, but certainly to create an interruption point, in a way that adds value to their busy life, and busy day.


Written by Kelly Miller, Kelly’s PR and communications background stems from several years as a political staffer in the Democratic Alliance’s media and communications division. This comprised running several major media and social media campaigns, including for current DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane. She has extensive knowledge of the media landscape in South Africa and believes in building personal relationships to get the job done.