14 July 2023 – The 2023 BRICS Summit Provides an Opportunity to Foster the Expansion of South Africa’s Marketing, Advertising and Communication (MAC) Sector

The 2023 BRICS Summit Provides an Opportunity to Foster the Expansion of South Africa’s Marketing, Advertising and Communication Sector

By Tebogo Ditshego

About the Author:

Ditshego is CEO of Ditshego Media, the President of the South African Graduates Business Network (SAGNET), an Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), an Alumni of the Austrian Leadership Programme of International Business Leaders (ALP), a Councillor in the Marketing, Advertising and Communication (MAC) Charter Council and is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Candidate at GIBS Business School, University of Pretoria.

Date: 14 July 2023 – As the highly anticipated BRICS Summit approaches from 22 – 24 August 2023, South Africa’s marketing, advertising and communication sector stands poised to reap the rewards of this momentous event. With its remarkable growth trajectory and projected future expansion, the industry has established itself as a critical driver of the country’s economy. Leveraging the opportunities presented by the BRICS alliance, the advertising sector must ensure it secures its rightful place at the table.


The contribution of the marketing, advertising and communication (MAC) sector to job creation and economic growth is undervalued, as the industry creates jobs through its contribution to the growth of organisations through various marketing activities. Without marketing, companies can produce exceptional products and services, but that would not be impactful if there were insufficient market penetration. Thus, the BRICS Summit provides a unique occasion for sector leaders to showcase the sector’s prowess, achievements, and potential on an international stage.


According to Statista, the South African marketing, advertising and communication sector has experienced remarkable economic growth over the past decade. In 2011, the industry generated R6.4 billion, and by 2022, this figure had surged by an impressive 88.78%, reaching a combined R57 billion by private and public sector organisations. The upward trajectory is set to continue, with a projected growth rate of 3.39% from 2022 to 2023. By the end of 2023, revenues are expected to soar to an estimated R59 billion, further solidifying the sector’s significance within the national economy.


The staggering growth of South Africa’s marketing, advertising and communication sector underscores its vital contribution to the nation’s GDP and employment opportunities. As one of the fastest-growing sectors, it has become a driving force for economic prosperity and job creation.


As internationally acclaimed economist Ms Dambisa Moyo eloquently stated, “Advertising is not just about selling products; it’s about shaping narratives, influencing perceptions, and driving economic growth.” This sentiment captures the essence of the marketing, advertising and communication sector’s power to transform and propel nations forward. Through strategic marketing and communication, brands come alive, economies thrive, and societies evolve. As BRICS representatives converge, the marketing, advertising and communication sector must seize this opportunity to demonstrate its pivotal role in driving economic growth and attracting domestic and foreign investment.


South Africa has a unique opportunity to delve into consumer behaviour and market research to cross-pollinate knowledge in global marketing, advertising, and communication. Guest nations can gain valuable insights into their population’s diverse needs, preferences, and cultural nuances through the provision of in-depth studies on consumer behaviour within the South African context. This available research can shed light on consumer trends, purchasing habits, and the underlying psychological factors influencing decision-making. A case in point is research I conducted in 2022 as a part of my Master of Business Administration (MBA) dissertation, which examined the paradigm of customers to assess the value they place on products and services when advertised on social media in written copy format, juxtaposed with content in graphic design and video format. Furthermore, this research examines how the format of social media advertising (i.e. copy, graphic design and video) influences the consumer’s commitment to purchase the products and services and how likely they are to recommend the brand to others using customer value theory.


Sharing our knowledge with the global community not only enriches the collective understanding of consumer behaviour but also fosters collaboration and innovation within the industry. South Africa’s diverse demographic landscape, coupled with its vibrant and dynamic market, provides an ideal testing ground for exploring consumer behaviour in various segments. By actively participating in the exchange of research findings, South Africa can contribute to a global body of knowledge that benefits marketers, advertisers, and communicators worldwide, enabling them to create more tailored and effective strategies to engage with diverse consumer bases. This cross-pollination of knowledge nurtures a collaborative environment that fuels industry growth, elevates marketing practices, and ultimately contributes to the advancement of the field on a global scale.


Furthermore, by showcasing our creative talent, innovative campaigns, and cutting-edge technologies, we can captivate the attention of global investors and multinational corporations, positioning South Africa as an attractive destination for business expansion and foreign direct investment. The BRICS Summit serves as a catalyst for infrastructure development, providing a solid foundation for the marketing, advertising and communication sector to leverage state-of-the-art technologies and digital platforms.


As the host country, South Africa will witness significant investments in areas such as transport, telecommunications, and digital connectivity. These advancements will empower advertisers to reach wider audiences, engage consumers on a deeper level, and harness the potential of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and immersive experiences. The resulting innovation and advancement will propel the sector forward, ensuring its relevance and competitiveness in the global arena.


To fully leverage the opportunities presented by the BRICS alliance, it is crucial for sector stakeholders to unite and advocate for the advertising sector’s inclusion in high-level discussions. By actively participating in these platforms, sector leaders can shape policies, influence decision-making processes, and secure a seat at the table alongside other influential sectors.


The potential for the marketing, advertising and communication sector to thrive during and beyond the 2023 BRICS Summit is undeniable. South Africa’s remarkable economic growth in this sector, as evidenced by the substantial increase in revenues, highlights the sector’s resilience, adaptability, and capacity for expansion. As we prepare to welcome global leaders to our shores, let us seize this historic occasion to champion the sector’s contributions to the national economy, emphasise its role as a driver of job creation, and advocate for its inclusion in strategic discussions that shape the future of our nation.


In conclusion, the BRICS Summit offers a transformative opportunity for South Africa’s marketing, advertising and communication sector to shine on the global stage. With its remarkable growth, projected expansion, and significant contributions to the economy, the industry is well-positioned to attract international attention, secure investments, and foster sustainable growth. As we unite as sector leaders, let us amplify our voices, leverage our creative talents, and demonstrate the vital role of the advertising sector in driving economic prosperity, job creation, and overall national development. Together, we can ensure that the advertising sector secures its rightful seat at the table and paves the way for a prosperous future in the dynamic landscape of the BRICS alliance.