South Africans, help brand your country!

1 June 2011

The International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) has called on ordinary South Africans to help SA compete globally by building the country’s image and brand, and do their bit to put an end to misconceptions about the country at home and abroad.

The body, which is responsible for marketing South Africa domestically and abroad, has appealed to all citizens, including business and the government, to rally behind Brand South Africa through the demonstration of ubuntu, innovation, creativity, sustainability, diversity and possibility, the five pillars of Brand South Africa.

This and other pertinent issues highlighting the need for patriotism were discussed with entrepreneurs, chief executives, the government, leaders of civil society and the like at a one-day stakeholder summit in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The meeting was the first of a series of provincial summits that have been planned for the rest of the year. Limpopo province is next on the list.

Dina Pule, the deputy minister in the Presidency, said the branding of South Africa was no longer a choice, but a necessity which required the concerted effort of all stakeholders to achieve “any real measure of success”.

Because of the rapid advancement of globalisation, South Africa needed to fight for its share of attention and respect from the international media, governments and citizens of other countries. Pule said the country ought to re-shape its national identity to compete with other nations for power, prestige, influence and wealth, while attracting tourism and investment and creating jobs.

Team South Africa

Chichi Maponya, the IMC board deputy chairman, said every South African should embrace the concept of building and enhancing the nation’s brand. She urged every citizen to rally behind Team South Africa, and help the IMC to fulfil its mandate. “A nation brand is a promise made. A successful nation brand is one that is kept,” she said.

Maponya encouraged all South Africans to act as national ambassadors and help debunk myths about the country, while creating new perceptions. “A nation’s brand is key to its success irrespective whether it is an advanced or developing economy,” she said.

The IMC’s primary role is to develop and implement a pro-active marketing, communication and reputation management strategy for the country. It aims to attract investment and enhance tourism, trade and business with the international community. Its long-term goals include making South Africa a top 20 brand and a top 30 globally competitive nation by 2020.

“To achieve this we need every member of Team SA to align their business and marketing strategies as far as possible with the objectives of building a strong, reputable nation brand for South Africa,” said Maponya.

She noted that the inclusion of South Africa in the BRICS alliance of emerging countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – placed the nation at the “cutting edge of a new global paradigm, which could help reach consensus on issues such as trade, poverty reduction, the global financial system, and the growing tensions around limited resources”.

Brand South Africa

The IMC board chairman, Anitha Soni, said rallying behind Brand South Africa was “easy”.

“Share your innovations and creativity, partner with brand South Africa on their programmes. Create sustainable initiatives that depict who we are as a nation, and what the future we co-create looks like. Build South Africa for us to live and develop in, a South Africa known internationally for its ability to easily do business with and ultimately a South Africa with a sustainable competitive advantage,” Soni explained.

The IMC was established in 2002 as an agency of the state charged with creating a positive image of South Africa.

It has several ways that people can help make South Africa great:

  • Create the reality of global competitiveness;
  • Identify and leverage symbolic events, people and places to communicate South Africa’s identity and reputation;
  • Provide clear, believable and positive communication of what South Africa really is, what it stands for and its vision;
  • Stimulate relevant and critical innovations;
  • Create harmony and co-ordination to tell the same powerful, believable and interesting story about South Africa; and
  • Nourish confidence, pride, harmony, ambition and national resolve to enhance the national Active Citizenship Mobilisation Campaign.

Source: City of Johannesbrg