Branding SA ‘a national imperative’

31 May 2011

The International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) can only achieve its goals if all stakeholders, including business, government and civil society, collaborate in positioning South Africa as a globally competitive nation, a conference in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday.

Addressing an IMC stakeholder summit, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Dina Pule said that branding South Africa was not a matter of choice but of necessity.

Any measure of success would require “the concerted effort” of government, business, civil society, political parties, charities, the media, academia, sporting organisations and the like, Pule said.

SA ‘must fight for its share of attention’

“Countries all over the world are shaping and re-shaping their national identities as they compete with other nations and regional blocs for power, influence, prestige and wealth,” Pule said.

“The rapid advancement of globalisation means that South Africa must fight for its share of attention and respect from the international media, governments and people of other countries.”

South Africa had just gone through four very important stages: it had managed a Fifa World Cup widely acknowledged as successful; had come through the global recession relatively unscathed; had become a member of the BRICS group of influential developing nations; and had once more conducted a free and fair election.

“It is now time for a new approach,” Pule said.

Tuesday’s summit was the first of nine such meetings that will be held in all nine provinces. Limpopo is next on the list, with a provincial summit scheduled to be held in Polokwane on 26 June.

The IMC was established in 2002 with the objective of developing and implementing pro-active and co-ordinated marketing, communication and reputation management strategies for the country.

Zuma reaffirms IMC mandate

Earlier this month, the IMC met with President Jacob Zuma for a discussion that centred on the need for business and the government to work together to market South Africa’s successes both domestically and to the world.

Pule said the meeting had affirmed the IMC’s mandate, which is to focus on strategic issues relating to South Africa’s reputation and competitiveness globally and domestically.

Zuma told the IMC that the body needed to manage the perceptions of Brand South Africa and coordinate the country’s nation-branding efforts through improved cooperation between itself, business and civil society.

On Tuesday, the IMC said that it would harness South Africa’s growing status internationally to enhance its global competitiveness in order to attract investment and grow trade with the aim of contributing to job creation in South Africa.

IMC deputy chairperson Chichi Maponya told delegates on Tuesday that nation branding was not solely a task for the public sector, but rather “a collaborative undertaking of the country’s key stakeholders.

“If we all act with unity of purpose, we will be contributing to growing our reputation on the international stage,” Maponya said.

SAinfo reporter

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