We are living in a rather challenging time in our beautiful country. The hope we had for expansive progress and wide-spread transformation is being tested every day. The more anxious among us wring our hands and worry whether we should be elsewhere in the world. The compassionate struggle with the growing evidence of poverty and desperation that we see around us all the time.
It is hard in South Africa right now. Of this there is no doubt. The stories we hear reinforce this message – and stories are very powerful things. They engage us, stir up emotions, land messages and give sense and meaning to our experiences.
So without being an ostrich or a naive Pollyanna, if we consider this notion that ‘words make worlds’, then we might consider the idea that we can step towards a brighter future by adding more focus on the brighter things happening around us – and I promise you there are plenty.
From the simple and inspiring stories that are avalanching out of the #imstaying campaign; to the visibly growing black middle class; and the business leaders who are truly embracing a purpose-led strategy to build wholesome company cultures that embrace diversity and prioritise value creation for all society.
I’m not making this up. It all exists. And I believe it’s these very stories that will help us transition into the South Africa we want to be.
At the beginning of 2018, as we emerged from the dark years and an era of extreme distrust between government, business and society – I felt it was time to put my global experience to work on local shores. We wanted to use our capabilities in authentic storytelling and purpose-led brand positioning to help change the conversation in South Africa.
So, we tasked ourselves with some challenges:
- Could we help shift the current South African narrative?
- Could we help South Africans to understand that we need profitable, responsible business to have a flourishing and sustainable society?
- Could we bring this to life through the human stories and experiences of real South Africans in a way that would be meaningful, to a wide spectrum of stakeholder audiences?
- And could we help South African business to realise the broader value of the vast range of impact they deliver – by integrating it into how they communicate their brands?
I am pleased to say that the answer was yes.
Over the last 18 months we’ve had the privilege of working with some of South Africa’s most innovative and inspiring private sector corporations to explore the transformative initiatives they are delivering in communities across the country. We’ve met farmers and miners, graduates and entrepreneurs, CEOs and factory workers, all of whom share a passion for the South Africa they are committed to creating.
And together with my tremendous team, we have crafted and compiled their stories into a unique campaign called #SAINC. With broadcast features and short form digital content – Season 1’s 20 stories have aired to audiences of millions across 15 TV networks. We have also engaged over 12 million South Africans online leveraging influencers and social media platforms to deliver authentically positive South African stories and create a new South African conversation.
People are hungry for sincere positive stories; and when we meet people who have overcome challenges, who have succeeded and whose lives have progressed – we connect with and care about these people. And in doing so, we start to care about the brands who have walked alongside side them to get there.
I am not a Pollyanna…. but I am a practical optimist / glass half full kinda girl who believes in the power of energy to create sentiment. This in turn can help to create the momentum we need for a virtuous circle of inclusive growth.
We are a rainbow nation of incredibly resilient people and win-wins are all around us – you just need to try looking through a different lens.
To see our stories go to https://sainc.regency.global/ ; tune into Season 2 starting November 2019; or follow us on social media @Regency Global and #SAINC.