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            18 / 11 / 16

            Marketers aren’t meeting the digital demands of the African iGeneration

            • Africa has the fastest growing middle-class, and the youngest population in the world. It is home to a generation which is increasingly becoming exposed, and used to, technology at its most advanced.

              In most African countries, over half of the population is under the age of 15. This young generation has been connected to the Internet from birth – they do not know a world without technology, they simply are a hard-core iGeneration.

              Like their Western cohorts, they’ve also had their own mobile phones from a young age, and they submit their homework online – they’re what you’d describe as digital natives. So it is no surprise then that we might start to see them shape and influence trends in Africa.

              Africa is no longer a mysterious continent, secluded from the rest of the world. Youths there are socially aware; they are more informed than ever before with tools like Google at their fingertips. They are global networkers who are exposed to more people from different backgrounds than ever before. Thanks to social media, they are now more accustomed to engaging with friends all over the world – being inspired by and adapting to any taste, style, fashion and brand that’s trending.

              Monde Twala, vice president of Viacom International Media Networks Africa, says that one of the biggest challenges the media brand faces is meeting the demands of a generation who are constantly on social media. “They want instant gratification, which is a challenge for us as content people and broadcasters on the continent.”

              Social media is also increasingly putting social activism at the forefront of this African generation’s consciousness. Viacom has noticed that their young audience is highly opinionated and actively engaged in shaping the world around them. This is an audience that chooses to be associated with companies that impact and add value to their world, and brands must be responsive to their audience’s expectations and attitudes if they are to build loyalty.

              These young people “want to celebrate Africa; they want to celebrate being multi-cultural,” Twala says. Brands need to find a way to connect with this audience’s proud and innovative spirit if they want to drive a brand’s growth in Africa. They need to learn about this smart and savvy generation, find their shared ground, and ultimately earn their respect to unlock loyalty.

              Led by our Digital Forensics team, Pulse is a weekly series exploring online culture

              • Article by Noor Mohammed