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Posted: September 14, 2017

Sanlam: Building a better world for generations to come

Sanlam turned 100 on 8 June 2018, with 23.000 Wealthsmiths™ celebrating worldwide. The financial services powerhouse used this milestone to acknowledge its past, but more importantly, to turn its gaze towards the future.

The Sanlam Group’s focus for its centenary celebrations, ‘a better world for generations to come’, is a purpose-led concept that reinforces the role that the financial services industry can play in building lasting legacies.
The concept comes from the underlying insight that all of us, no matter who we are or where we come from, want to leave the next generation with the prospect of a better future, with more opportunity than we were given.

“Our purpose is to build a continent of Wealthsmiths™,” says Mariska Oosthuizen, Head of Group Brand and Marketing. “We were founded with the intent to empower people to become economically active through collective savings. And that principle, to enable people tobuild lasting wealth to live their best lives possible, remains at the core of everything we do.”

Built to last

In a time of dramatic change and radical transparency, brands face two significant challenges: to fuel the ingenuity  that generates a culture focused on innovation, and to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to being responsible citizens.

There’s a global movement to contribute in a way that truly does have a lasting impact. And that’s a thread that has underscored Sanlam’s entire history as a brand, and something that comes through strongly in the ‘Built to last’ phase of its centenary campaign, which gently interrogates the ramifications of a ‘throwaway’ consumer culture.

Sanlam’s chosen spokesperson for its centenary is a nine-year-old South African girl. While a 100th birthday usually conjures up images of a wise, older person, Sanlam chose a young girl who represents the voice of generations to come. Her role is to ask the important questions and to be the compass of our collective conscience.

“If we can make things that last, why don’t we? And shouldn’t we? Especially in a time when the world needs it most?” This is the first of the questions posed by the young spokesperson as she stands beneath a brightly burning 117-year-old light bulb. You’re asked to imagine what you’d say if a child in your life asked you these questions. In doing so, the campaign hits multiple touch-points and taps into the duty posed upon us by our collective accountability to our young people. This commitment to Africa’s youth is extremely important to Sanlam, which has multiple CSI initiatives – like Blue Ladder Schools and Shop for Good – that give back sustainably.

Planning for the future

Sanlam has become synonymous with intelligent and progressive marketing that uses new mediums to engage its audience in entirely different ways. Think of ‘Uk’Shona Kwelanga’, South Africa’s first ever WhatsApp drama series, for example. As a company that’s always been an integral part of the fabric of the communities it operates in, the Group finds ways to tell stories that matter. Stories that transcend boundaries and tackle big subjects in a relatable way. Stories that touch on a future we’re all part of building.

Pre-empting change, Sanlam’s ‘The 200 Year Old’ campaign looks at how a longer lifespan will affect planning for your future, especially financially. In this phase of the 100 year campaign, Sanlam delves deeply into the future of a post-aging society, sans the sci-fi. The campaign is based around scientists’ prediction that the first person who will live to be 200 has already been born. Sanlam explored this concept through a variety of mediums including a pioneering podcast. High-production value and a celebrity casting made this four-part podcast series seem like a ‘movie you can listen to’ – another first for South Africa.

Many things may change, but our basic human nature will stay the same. At our core, we’re all seeking the same things. We all want to achieve lasting financial security, good health, strong bonds with our family and friends, and to find meaning and a sense of purpose in our lives. Whether we’re living in 2018 or 2218, these desires stay the same.

However, the way we reach these goals will change. As our money systems collapse and are rebuilt, as our lives change from linear to cyclical patterns, as we redefine retirement and the world of work, we’ll survive and we’ll thrive, because humans’ greatest strength is our ability to adapt.
It is this ability to tap into our commonalities that has secured the success of Sanlam’s branding over the years. While the brand has evolved, what it stands for has always stayed the same. And it’s these founding principles that resonate in everything it does, perhaps most importantly, in its ongoing commitment to Africa and its people.

Showcasing African ingenuity

Sanlam has and always will be deeply rooted in Africa. For the last 100 years, the Group has been 100 percent committed to investing in the unrivalled potential of this continent, from listing on the JSE 20 years ago to expanding across 33 African countries and counting, through a trailblazing partnership approach. This has made it the financial services group with the biggest insurance footprint on the continent. This expansion is testament to Sanlam’s mission to build a continent of Wealthsmiths™ and help create an Africa full of opportunity for emerging generations to inherit.

The strategic intent behind the Africa chapter of Sanlam’s centenary celebration is to speak to the Group’s steadfast commitment to the continent and unwavering belief that anything is possible with the right amount of hard work and dedication. In this phase of the campaign the young spokesperson poses another question: ‘See this spot? It’s easy to mistakeas ordinary. Right? Wrong.’ She then marks an X on the ground and says, ‘You can make something here. Create something here. Be the first to imagine something here. See this spot? This is Africa. And it’s all happening right here.’

Others have come and gone, but Sanlam has stayed because it knows that there’s no other place like Africa, now and for generations to come.

Wealthsmiths™ is a registered trademark of Sanlam.