TRBusiness Ghana Shorts: Beam Suntory on Africa’s untapped potential

By Luke Barras-hill |

González praised the knowledge-sharing opportunities delivered by the MEADFA Conference in Accra, Ghana.

Africa boasts an abundance of opportunity for Beam Suntory Global Travel Retail, according to Marketing Director Manuel González, but identifying the right growth trajectories within a continent diversified by its consumer base, development rates and stability represents a challenge.  

In this special TRBusiness ‘Ghana Shorts’ video interview, produced in partnership with Bluedog Group and filmed on location at this month’s MEADFA Conference (19-21 November) in Accra, Ghana, González singles out Egypt but insists there is boundless potential to develop the Beam Suntory portfolio in other countries across the continent.

He touches on nascent brand building efforts in the gin and American whiskey categories, leveraged by Roku and Jim Beam, respectively.

“From a shopper perspective, we still have a long way [to go] to really understand and define the African shopper,” he acknowledged.

According to González, the insights gleaned from the MEADFA Conference have helped Beam Suntory to better delineate the different consumer segments and their preferences in categories such as premium spirits against a complex trading landscape.

Challenges and opportunities

“I would say Africa represents a huge opportunity for the growth of the travel retail industry,” he continued. “When I extrapolate our learnings from other parts of the world, what I can foresee is Africa will have a similar evolution to some of Asia’s emerging markets a few years ago.”

González made a notable contribution during this year’s MEADFA Conference, which arrived in West Africa for the first time.

Taking part in the ‘Innovation in action’ session on day 2, he delivered a thought-provoking address that explored enhancing consumer engagement to drive in-store footfall and conversion.

Drawing on several category examples from the domestic and travel retail sectors, he outlined how digital and omni-channel tools, elevated personalised experiences and retail disruption can enable a better grasp of key travel retail shopper profiles, including Gen Zs and millennials.

“Attending MEADFA has definitely enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of doing business in Africa,” he added. “But it has also confirmed to me that our extensive brand portfolio puts us in a very strong position. We are able to tailor our offer to accommodate Africa’s unique demographic and cultural landscape, to truly connect with consumers, and build brand loyalty.

“There are big challenges to overcome, including lack of infrastructure and regulatory obstacles. But country by country, and looking to the long term, I am confident that we will succeed.”

To read and watch more from the MEADFA Conference in Accra, Ghana this month, click the below links.

READ MORE: MEADFA Conference day 2

READ MORE: MEADFA Ghana day 1

READ MORE: More than 300 attendees to inaugural West Africa MEADFA Conference

READ MORE: Sherif Toulan, President, MEADFA on TRBusiness Ghana Shorts 

READ MORE: MEADFA Conference: 90 Second News Special

To view more episodes in the TRBusiness ‘Shorts’ series, click here and scroll to the footer to access an archive.

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