Our firm has a significant presence in South Africa, including an office that serves as our African regional headquarters. Over the years we have performed dozens of projects for numerous clients throughout the country and have built up sizeable knowledge in the wider region.
We have pondered what American attitudes towards South Africa are. To explore what people in the United States think about the country, we conducted an online country-wide survey to assess American sentiments.
Here are the findings:
In general, Americans tend to view South Africa neutrally or positively. Nearly 1 in 5 people view South Africa highly favorably.
What comes to mind when Americans think of South Africa? Nelson Mandela is still at the forefront of most people’s visions of South Africa, and people also envision safari animals. Baseball was added as a response that has little to do with South Africa—luckily few people chose it.
Next we explored general knowledge of South Africa. Americans correctly view South Africa as a country. Additionally, they view it in the mid-range of wealth.
When it comes to detailed knowledge of the country, less than half of respondents knew the currency of the country. Overall, Americans have some general knowledge of the country but lack detailed knowledge.
However, an opportunity remains in food and drink as over 1/3 of survey respondents would be excited to try South African goods in that category.
Wine is arguably the most well known South African product in the U.S. However, our survey showed that the majority of people have not heard of South African wine.
In terms of quality, respondents with opinions believed that South Africa is capable of producing quality wine. This caused us to believe that South African wine has an awareness problem in the United States rather than a perception problem.
We dug deeper into the survey responses to explore attitudes towards South African wine. Statistically, we found:
- Awareness:People who are aware of South African wine are much more likely to believe that South Africa can produce quality wine
- Gender: Men are more likely to believe in the quality of South African wine than women
- Region: People in the Northeast are likely to be positive towards South African wine and people from the South are likely to believe South Africa cannot produce quality wine
- Knowledge of South Africa:Those with better knowledge of South Africa were much more likely to believe in the ability of South Africa to produce quality wine
In sum, Americans tend to know the basics of South Africa and view the country in a generally positive light. When it comes to detailed knowledge about products and goods produced by the country, South Africa lacks a strong brand.
In terms of wine, South African producers have an opportunity in the United States that can be made stronger with more awareness.