Nation Brand Forum 2017 inspires robust discussion and debate

The Brand South Africa Nation Brand Forum 2017 again gathered business, government and media experts to discuss the marketing of the country’s national global reputation in light of recent geopolitical and global economic changes. The event was addressed by Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

An overview of Brand South Africa's Nation Brand Forum 2017, with remarks by Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo.
Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo addresses Brand South Africa’s Nation Brand Forum 2017 in Johannesburg on 5 October 2017. (Image: SA Government Flickr)

The Nation Brand Forum is aimed at creating an open platform for engagement between the government, business and civil society for the development of new ideas that will improve the global perception of the country. The theme of this year’s forum, held in Johannesburg on 5 October, was “Positioning the South African nation brand in an era of emerging market globalisation”.

The forum was opened by Brand South Africa CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela, with a welcoming address by Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo. There were two panel discussions that put forward a number of new thoughts on nation branding and global perceptions.

Brand builder

Dlodlo began by paying tribute to late anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Oliver Tambo. In a year in which the country celebrates Tambo’s 100th birthday, Dlodlo said it was appropriate to remember him and his legacy as a leading nation brand builder for South Africa.

“It is both fitting and inspiring to recognise his role as the foremost brand architect of our new nation and country… We must be inspired by the ideals that prompted him as an ardent campaigner for human rights, an internationalist and an activist for peace and prosperity… Oliver Tambo spent his entire life pursuing the dream of building solidarity between South Africa and the world.”

She also highlighted the importance of the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030, the country’s long-term socio-economic development roadmap, in developing the South African nation brand.

“The [National Development Plan] envisions a South Africa where everyone feels free yet bounded to others, where everyone embraces their full potential, a country where opportunity is determined not by birth, but by ability, education and hard work… To ensure that this vision becomes a reality, we are making strides through efforts such as the Nation Brand Forum to collectively implement measures that promote the transformation of the economy and focused efforts that build the country’s capabilities, thus resulting in a reputable nation brand that attracts investment.”

An overview of Brand South Africa's Nation Brand Forum 2017, with remarks by Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo.
Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo addresses Brand South Africa’s Nation Brand Forum 2017 in Johannesburg on 5 October 2017. (Image: SA Government Flickr)

Dlodlo also made special mention of the relationship between the government and the private sector, and how business’s important role in the country’s socio-economic growth and sustainability should not be underutilised: “The private sector not only raises South Africa’s global competitiveness by allowing us to break into new and emerging markets, but it also significantly improves the lives of millions of poor South Africans and their chance for economic participation.”

Concluding her address, the minister reiterated the importance of the economic development of the country and all its people for successful nation branding: “If the economy grows, jobs are created, social levels improve, foreign direct investments become a reality and the economy thrives. Therefore, it is unquestionable that socio-economic national development agendas have an incredible impact on the positive [nation] branding.

“Through this forum we are therefore aiming to create an intensified exchange of ideas among all sectors of society. This is a fundamental requirement for appropriate and sustainable development for any nation.”

For a full transcript of Minister Dlodlo’s address, click here.

An overview of Brand South Africa's Nation Brand Forum 2017, with remarks by Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo.
Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and Brand South Africa CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela at Brand South Africa’s Nation Brand Forum, held in Johannesburg on 5 October 2017. (Image: SA Government Flickr)

Panel 1: Positioning the South African nation brand in an era of emerging market globalisation

The first panel was led by Brand South Africa general manager for research Dr Petrus de Kock, with contributions from Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec; Dr Martyn Davies, managing director for emerging markets at Deloitte; Eric Mahamba-Sithole, head of learning and development at the Industrial Development Corporation; and SAfm radio host Ashraf Garda.

Watch the discussion:

Panel 2: Country of origin built on the foundations of business excellence – crafting a value proposition and global strategy for a nation brand

The panel was hosted by Jeremy Sampson, director of Brand Finance Africa, and included contributions from Imtiaz Patel, CEO of Naspers Video Entertainment; M&C Saatchi Abel Johannesburg group chairman Jerry Mpufane; Odette van der Haar, CEO of the Association for Communication and Advertising; and York Zucchi, entrepreneur and motivational speaker.

Watch the discussion:

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