One of the biggest challenges for any business is to nail its branding strategy. 

It can be challenging to conceptualise a brand from start to finish. That’s because many different elements tie together when finalising how you want your brand to look, feel and sound, amongst other things.

By looking at some branding examples, you may be able to get a better feel for the kind of brand you want to create. We’re going to discuss some South African brands in terms of their branding to highlight what you can strive for as a new brand. 

Knowing more about brand examples and the specificity of what you want is key to the branding process!

9 Great South African Brands

Here are nine great branding examples coming out of South Africa.

  1. Nando’s 

Did you know that Nando’s was founded in Johannesburg in 1987? Ever since then, Nando’s has been specialising in flame-grilled Portuguese food, with an emphasis on different flavours of Peri-Peri chicken and side dishes. Currently, they have over 1000 outlets worldwide. 

Nando’s is one of the South African brands who dare to take a risk in their advertising strategy. Because of this, they are a branding example of cheeky humour and wit within South Africa. 

Nando’s is also well-known for their clever wordplay, including puns, allusion and commentary on popular and political news within the SA borders. They have produced some of the best ads in South Africa, and are known for being quick to the punch.

Read more about their branding story.

  1. MTN

MTN has long been labelled as one of South Africa’s most valuable brands in terms of brand value. Subsequently, MTN is one of the South African brands that is a household name. At present, MTN is the biggest mobile network operator in Africa, with over 30 million subscribers in South Africa alone.

One of the reasons that MTN has succeeded is because of the simplicity of their branding. The persona that MTN has created includes references to nostalgia and family togetherness. This persona creates a feeling of familiarity before you’ve even seen their current offerings. 

This familiarity, coupled with the use of local slang and references, has earned MTN a place as one of South Africa’s most beloved telecommunications companies. 

  1. First National Bank

Affectionately known as FNB, this is one of many South African banking brands. However, unlike some of the other banks, FNB has successfully captured an approachable, relevant tone and friendly image. 

Additionally, their ads include a sense of togetherness and upliftment, such as in their #HelpOneAnother campaign. This campaign centres around supporting small businesses during the aftermath of COVID-19. Their videos for this campaign were told through the eyes of a small business owner, adding an element of authenticity and confidence. 

In addition to their striking campaigns, FNB has also encouraged saving amongst young adults through their famous eBucks programme. There’s a reason they are one of the most innovative financial institutions and one of our most innovative brand examples.

  1. Outsurance

I know, I know – it’s a bit boring that one of our branding examples highlights an insurance company. However, Outsurance makes it clear that they’re not just providing ordinary insurance through their branding and ad campaigns. 

While their offerings are standard compared to other retailers, their emphasis on highlighting candid and genuine moments give them an edge. 

While many insurance ads feel similar, Outsurance manages to create a sense of trust and expertise in their video campaigns. This result boils down to the sheer variety of citizens that they include in their branding.

  1. Multichoice

Even though streaming is overtaking satellite television in many parts of the world, Multichoice is still able to portray themselves in a positive light. 

This brand is one of the most wholesome South African brands in popular media.

Multichoice is the largest TV service in Southern Africa. However, their branding portrays them mostly as African storytellers, who are actively enriching communities in Africa through their services. 

Additionally, Multichoice creates thousands of jobs through their services – and they don’t shy away from this fact in their campaigns. 

Most of their advertising includes case studies of employees or community members who have been uplifted by their access to Multichoice services. As we expected, this creates a feeling of authenticity for their brand.  

If you’re looking for a company with a wholesome brand image, Multichoice is one of many great branding examples.

  1. Vida E Caffe 

Vida E Caffe means ‘Life and Coffee’. They were arguably one of the first significant coffee brands to take the South African coffee market back in 2001. 

When I think of Vida, I can immediately picture their signature red. This brand is one of our branding examples that showcase brand colour, image and friendly Portuguese slang as part of their messaging. 

In our ever-changing climate, brands must be aware of the environmental impact that their businesses can have. Vida E Caffe has started ‘Vida E Mundo’ or ‘Life and The World’ as part of their sustainability efforts. 

Every cup and lid they use is made of plant-based material, and they are recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable. This initiative is also a great brand example of building an ethical brand

  1. Woolworths 

If you’re thinking about a luxury grocery or homeware store in South Africa, Woolworths probably comes to mind. After almost a century of operations, it’s safe to say that Woolworths has successfully created a luxurious brand image. 

From their massive food selection to luxury beauty and clothing items, Woolworths is a great example of a South African brand, offering an overwhelming feeling of comfort within its online and retail outlets. 

Its simple logo and clean imagery further enhance this idea. Woolworths’ more recent acquisitions – David Jones, Country Road, Witchery and Trenery – additionally contribute to the notion of Woolworths as a luxury store. 

  1. Mr Price 

Some South African brands prefer to display a youthful brand in every way – from their messaging and imagery to their actual stock!

Mr Price is one of these brand examples. 

At the same time, Mr Price has perfected budget messaging, with many of their deals coming in at low prices to appeal to a broader audience.

In keeping with their young brand image, Mr Price recently created the #CheckWhatIGot campaign that lets the audience post images of their new outfits to their social media profile. This campaign shows a great understanding of brand awareness, as well as a clear comprehension of their customer personas.

  1. Allan Gray

If you’re going to keep your money with an investment firm, they’d better be dependable. And the idea of reliability is precisely what Allan Gray portrays. 

Their advertising efforts and overall brand message showcase trust, experience, financial security and expertise. Allan Gray often uses the voice of an older male in their ads to further embody this feeling of mastery. 

Also, Allan Gray is broadening its marketing effort to include a younger audience, with influential ad campaigns that display how a lifetime of investing well can change your life. 

Your brand will take you a long way

New brand owners can use many South African brands as references. Remember, branding examples can span any industry – so it’s worth doing some research before designing your brand. 

Choosing the best brand image, message and personality for your business can drastically impact how your brand performs and how the public perceives it.

With that said – you have some wiggle room to experiment, so don’t stress!

If you need help coming up with your brand, contact BigToe today and we’ll sort you out!

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