Marketing to the emerging black middle class in South Africa : an in-depth exploration of the lives of young black professional women

Babu, Theodore Duncan (2015-04)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The emerging black middle class in South Africa provides immense opportunity for marketers who wish to capture this segment of the market. However, in order to be relevant, a deep understanding of this ever-evolving segment is absolutely necessary. Characterised by complexity, the black middle class is heterogeneous and evolves at rapid speed. Studies by the Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing highlighted the immense value of black middle class women, coined Black Diamond™ women. The primary objective of this research was to gain insights into the life of young black professional women and, secondly, to understand the driving forces behind their decision-making. This was achieved through an in-depth exploratory study. The first step in this study was to conduct a literature review on the black middle class in various African countries and the black middle class in South Africa. A review of literature on marketing communication provided the basis for reasoning on the appropriateness of different marketing communication tools. Literature also revealed the emergence of a possible new consumer type, the hybrid consumer. The literature review provided the framework for designing the interview schedules used in the expert interviews and interviews with the Black Diamond™ women. The findings of this research assignment were that the modern black middle class women face many complexities in their daily lives. Brands can, therefore, be significant to them by supporting them in their lives. Brands should customise their offerings, meet the black middle class women in innovative ways at different touch points, and bring meaning in their lives. Brands should also know that culture is prominent in all areas of their lives, which presents unique challenges.

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