A Brand South Africa presentation at a recent gathering of marketing academics highlighted the importance of the relationship between nation branding and future of marketing education at tertiary institutions.
An academic collaboration programme hosted by Unisa’s Department of Marketing and Retail Management was held on 15 and 16 August 2017 in Pretoria. The conference gathered together representatives from 12 South African tertiary institutions, and one from Uganda. Also attending were representatives from Services Seta, various marketing councils, and academic research organisations.
The purpose of the programme was to discuss and debate the challenges of marketing education in South Africa. The ultimate goal, through a series of presentations and panel discussions, was to collaborate on a way forward to solving these challenges and ensure the future of the marketing discipline was healthy and successful.
Brand South Africa was part of the programme and presented the keynote address on the organisation’s mandate of promoting the country’s reputation at home and abroad, as well highlighting the organisation’s various projects.
Opening the gathering, Professor MT Mogale, executive dean of Unisa’s College of Economic and Management Sciences, spoke about ensuring a stable future for the marketing industry through education. The main prerogative of tertiary institutions and marketing educators, he said, was to create employment and turn out strong professional specialists in the industry. “Key goals were training and innovation,” Mogale added, “in order to compete on a global level.”
“We need to train and nurture true innovators in the industry – boundary pushers and entrepreneurs who are not only employable but who also can create employment,” Mogale said.
He added that the foundation for that ideal lay in the development of stronger curriculums at higher learning institutions. “Educators and academics need to look to future, plan and design a curriculum that is forward-thinking and progressive.”
The gathering at Unisa was an opportunity to share ideas on how that can be achieved, Mogale continued, adding that promoting the importance of academic study and finding practical ways to change administrative procedures that would include all South Africans would go a long way to reflecting a true national identity. “I truly wish you all a productive meeting here at one of South Africa’s significant institutions of higher learning,” Mogale concluded.
Brand South Africa’s keynote address was presented by Chief Marketing Officer Linda Sangaret.
Following an overview of the organisation’s work, its role in reputation building for the country domestically and globally, Sangaret also highlighted Brand South Africa’s various programmes that take “good news” messaging to South Africans. These included the Play Your Part and Brand Ambassador initiatives, as well as the Global South Africans project that focuses on South Africans living and working abroad helping build nation identity around the world with an eye to boosting the country’s economic competitiveness.
Sangaret also emphasised the importance of research in Brand South Africa’s work. “We deal in facts not clichés. Research is the core of our work as an organisation,” she said, adding that effectively measuring the successes of nation branding helped focus on better marketing strategies and programmes.
Sangaret also highlighted the hugely successful Brand South Africa Master Class initiatives. The organisation regularly gathers government, corporate and media leaders and trendsetters to get a full overview of the concepts of nation branding and country reputation management – covering elements such as research, new programme developments and global branding trends. The Master Classes, Sangaret said, also presented a practical opportunity to tertiary institutions and in particular, marketing facilities, to learn the ins and outs of brand marketing on a national scale.
“Master Classes present a unified image and message of the country, backed by strong research and focussed programmes… [the idea] could be beneficial to marketing education, and especially students, as future leaders in the industry, to understand citizen value and the effects of strong nation branding,” Sangaret concluded.
The Unisa collaboration programme also included presentations and discussions on topics such as the Africanisation of marketing education, marketing in informal markets and effectively developing an entrepreneurial mind-set in the industry.
Source: Brand South Africa, Unisa Department of Marketing and Retail Management
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