As South Africa prospers, so does the brand it represents. According to Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, Brand South Africa’s weight in the global marketplace is today valued at over half a trillion rand (over R500-billion).
Delivering the budget vote of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday, Pahad said that a brand equity study first conducted in 2003 had valued Brand South Africa at R379.5-billion.
Because of the work since done by the International Marketing Council (IMC) to elevate awareness of the country, this value, he said, was now R516.6-billion.
This valuable imprint on popular consciousness – which is what an established brand represents – coincides with a move by the IMC to extend the South African country brand formula from the borders of the United Kingdom and the United States to emerging economic giant India.
Sharper country profiling
The IMC – now a registered public entity – has brought about a sharper international profiling of South Africa as a dynamic emerging market with an image now less tied to its dramatic liberation from apartheid.
The IMC, Pahad added, had over the past year forged a closer working relationship with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – which also markets the country abroad – resulting in the hiring of a joint brand manager. The IMC and DTI recently collaborated on a successful trade mission to the United States, an important source of foreign investment.
The IMC also recently hosted a conference where the leading international news editors engaged South Africa’s government and communicators on news selection so as to create a more balanced picture of the African continent.
With South Africa gearing up to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the IMC’s work is expected to increase.
The GCIS, the IMC, South African Tourism and the communication unit of the 2010 Local Organising Committee were all working together to co-ordinate South Africa’s communication around 2010, Pahad said.
Riding the economic boom
When the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) was established in 1998 to keep South Africans informed of the progress made and challenges encountered by the developmental state, SA’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth stood at just 1 percent.
GDP growth is now hovering at around 5%, although some market watchers, taking into account the difficulties of measuring South Africa’s large informal or “second economy,” believe the government’s target of 6% GDP growth by 2010 has already been achieved.
Speaking at a residents’ meeting in Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town on Tuesday, Pahad said: “Some of us think, including [President Thabo Mbeki], that actually our economy is growing much faster than the official statistics demonstrate.”
Pahad said more foreign direct investment was needed, especially in manufacturing, along with increased value-addition, for more jobs to be created in the country, but added that the climate had now been created for this to take place.