“Our philosophy remains the same everywhere. In every market we operate, we aim to put into place the conditions of sustainable mining, whereby a balance is met between the requirements of staying competitive in a global market and those, even greater, of the welfare of the people and the environment.”
What are the major changes affecting your brand that you see, at the present time, of marketing in South Africa?
We are seeing social, economic, political, environmental shifts that are happening at an unprecedented pace. The pace of these changes is driven by the combination of a particular local context—the fast pace of economical and social changes in post-apartheid South Africa—and major global developments, which are as sudden as they are intractable: from the economic recession, to market turmoil, political upheavals, to environmental concerns.
Both local and global issues are increasingly interlinked. South Africa has seen positive growth over the last 15 years, but the social economic situation of many of the poorest has not improved as yet. Now the conditions for global growth have considerably worsened, the gap between expectations and actual fulfillment may widen.
This will result in heightened pressure on government and economic agents to deliver on important issues such as employment, empowerment, community development, and transformation. In other words, this will no longer be about being just granted “economic licenses” to operate, but “social licenses.”
For Anglo American, this will mean that we continue to show our genuine commitment towards South Africa and its people, not only in the way we communicate, but in the way we contribute positively on these issues.
Is marketing in South Africa different from that in other parts of the world?
Yes, because we are the product of a very particular history. As opposed to most other nations around the world where common foundations are perhaps older and more entrenched, South Africa is still a nation in the making, having to resolve its contradictions and oppositions.
Marketers have to acknowledge this context and know to navigate in it.
What new trends affecting your sustainability are emerging?
Over the past two years, we have seen a radicalization of the political debate. In the face of the potential irrationality that is emerging, Anglo American has to adopt a calmer, more rational, and more pragmatic approach.
What is the secret to staying relevant all these years?
We have always and consistently been willing to work in partnership with communities, government, and South Africans as a whole to find solutions together to South Africa’s challenges.
How do you maintain momentum, day in and day out?
We maintain momentum because we are enthusiastic partakers in South Africa’s transformation.
Does the company have a different strategy in emerging markets?
Our philosophy remains the same everywhere. In every market we operate, we aim to put into place the conditions of sustainable mining, whereby a balance is met between the requirements of staying competitive in a global market and those, even greater, of the welfare of the people and the environment.
What do you predict to be the main issues for brands/company reputations in the immediate future?
Demonstrate to South Africa that, in order to create a better future for all, Anglo American is part of the solution.
Is green/sustainability gaining traction?
It is gaining traction all over the world, including South Africa, although poverty and employment remain priorities here. It has been one of our main focuses and concerns over the last five years, and will increasingly be so over the next five.
In South Africa, we cannot wait for general public awareness to kick in. We have adopted a long-term view in the matter: as we speak, we are spearheading innovation and driving best environmental practices. An example is our Emalahleni water reclamation plant where we purify 30 million liters of water a day, which are supplied to 80,000 members of the community.
Any newly formed partnerships or major initiatives that the company is looking into?
The second phase of Anglo American’s new high impact, big brand advertising campaign, recently launched will effectively communicate and promote the Group’s commitment to South Africa and its people. Anglo American has always strived to positively contribute to South Africa, and over the years, many gratifying results have been achieved. Our advertising campaign reiterates our long-term commitment to effecting sustainable change, partnering for best effect, and creating a real difference for this country. Through mediums such as outdoor, radio, print, and online, the campaign highlights the success stories that Anglo American has achieved by partnering for best effect in a number of critical societal sectors. These include empowerment, transformation, job creation, community and enterprise development, health and safety, and environmental sustainability. As part of the new advertising campaign, Anglo American has identified strategic and prominent sites in Johannesburg as branding opportunities. These include brand-wrapped buildings and billboards that communicate the breadth of the campaign, which underscores Anglo American’s commitment as a responsible corporate citizen. This is the first for the mining sector in South Africa.
ABOUT DR. PRANILL RAMCHANDER
Dr. Pranill Ramchander is Head of Corporate Communications & Branding at Anglo American South Africa. He is an accredited Chartered PR Practitioner with the Public Relations Institute of SA (PRISA). Armed with a PhD, Pranill has extensive experience in corporate communications, social development, research, publishing, and academia. Pranill is spokesperson for the Anglo American South Africa and is responsible for driving the development and implementation of strategic internal and external communication, advertising, branding, sponsorships and media relations strategy in South Africa. He also serves as a trustee on the board of the Anglo American Chairman's Fund and a director on the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.