Coalescing around Brand Zimbabwe

11 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Coalescing around Brand Zimbabwe

The Sunday Mail

Editor’s Brief
Victoria Ruzvidzo

Psychologists are unanimous that perception is reality. Broadly, how anything is perceived informs or guides reaction to it.

Thus, for example, it is roundly asserted in the legal profession that justice should not just be done, but must be seen to be done.

The Zimbabwe brand has come under sustained onslaught right from the turn of the century and it has subsisted to this day.

Incontestably, the land reform precipitated the deluge of attacks.

This country has been painted black principally for seeking social justice.

It has been made to pay through the harmful sanctions we have had to endure as a nation.

But we must transform the lemon into lemonade.

Many out there now know so much about this country.

A taxi driver in Tokyo, Japan, knows a lot about “Jimbabwe” from the publicity that this country’s “stubbornness” (read assertiveness) has attracted.

We can ride on this through this Brand Zimbabwe project.

The onus is on us to tell our story and create a brand the world cannot resist.

We now live in an increasingly competitive global village where there is a cut-throat rush for markets, suppliers, partners and financiers.

The countries that distinguish themselves will derive optimum benefits and scale envisaged heights.

A country’s brand must be solid and appropriately positioned, itself a distinctive advantage.

Indeed, the world is co-operative, but competitive at the same time.

We, thus, applaud the launch of the Brand Zimbabwe project by the Honourable Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, last Monday.

The corporate world puts an accent on branding and the reasons are easy to discern.

Almost all of them have distinct brand management divisions whose mandate is to ensure that the brand is built, penetrates the market, is consolidated, is sustainable, perpetually improved and shines through.

A brand is the first level of contact with stakeholders and, as is said, one does not get a second chance to make a first impression!

Without exception, stellar global companies have fabulous brands anchoring their operations.

Think of Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Nike, Mercedes-Benz, etc.

Brands drive entities, and so it is with countries.

“We launch this initiative with the faith that at the end of it the country will have a brand that represents the identity, character and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe, and that this exercise will galvanise us and help us focus on what we are supposed to do together — to restore the greatness of our nation again, independent of our political beliefs, religious persuasion, race, gender or class,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

This captures the essence and compelling need for the Brand Zimbabwe project.

It behoves us to coalesce around this judicious and prudent project.

Brand Zimbabwe transcends political affiliation.

It matters not which political party one belongs to.

It is a national cause which prods our nationalistic feelings. It interrogates our sense of patriotism.

It similarly puts our level of unity under scrutiny. I pray we emerge from it with flying colours.

The proclivity to view all Government initiatives, interventions, programmes and policies along political affiliation lines in some pockets of the populace is self -defeating, myopic and retrogressive. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to attain a level of maturity and balance, without bias.

President Mnangagwa gave the keynote address at the Zimbabwe Annual Investment Forum attended by policymakers, parastatal executives, insurance firms, development finance institutions, finance service providers and individuals.

His speech set the tone of the forum.

“This forum is, therefore, pivotal and timeous as it interrogates various ways to scale up sustainable long-term financing.”

What was especially remarkable was that the President openly asked the private sector to talk about Government’s shortcomings.

The President exhibited astute leadership and keen desire to work collectively.

The Government has repeatedly exhorted all players to contribute towards the building of this country, including the media.

Responsible reporting, factual and balanced reporting, ethical conduct, truthful, informative and analytical pieces should punctuate the media landscape, short of sensationalism.

There is no problem with holding divergent views.

In fact, there is unity in diversity.

Various opinions, perspectives and ideas can be integrated and synchronised into more robust, viable, dynamic and sustainable solutions.

That is how in the spheres of business, politics and science, we have thesis, antithesis and synthesis!

Indeed, business member organisations should be an active constituent element of building Brand Zimbabwe and display the kind of disposition it requires.

Some are guilty of grandstanding while others are guilty of inertia on some blatant indiscretions and at times downright illegal behaviour and practices, retarding our progression in the process.

Globally, the private sector drives growth while the governments’ fiduciary roles include the formulation of the requisite policies, providing a conducive business operating environment and ensuring the availability of social support.

The link is inextricable.

The onerous task of brand building is not confined to Government, business and labour, but extends and involves everyone.

I was listening to a programme a few weeks ago. The guest was India’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Vijay Khanduja.

Upon being asked what the ambassadorial designation entailed, he eloquently explained that every citizen is an ambassador of one’s country, as conceptions, impressions and interest in any one’s country are derived from interactions at every level, notwithstanding designation or station in life and in our various spheres.

It can be said that there are three types of innovations, namely, sustaining, empowering and efficiency as propounded by Professor Clayton from Harvard Business School.

He put forward that sustaining innovations are geared towards making products and providing services with the aim of retaining customers, markets and investments.

They do not add anything to job creation, poverty eradication or economic growth.

Efficiency innovations reduce cost of production or service. It is empowering innovations which our brand should encapsulate in projections as in practice.

New industries and ecosystems are consequent upon them.

Communication in this instance is critical. How the brand’s message is communicated matters greatly.

The brand’s values and morals must be dynamically and successfully conveyed. It must inculcate allegiance.

Human capital should be an overarching consideration. The reasons are multiple, including that we are the most important resource; more so, as crafters, recipients and targets of any brand strategy.

Countries can only tap into the full potential of technology if, and only if, their human capital understand it.

It is people who impact and are impacted upon by branding strategies.

What technology does is empower us humans to generate novel ideas by working in new innovative ways and with new partners. Clearly technology is primarily, if not exclusively, designed to elevate human endeavours and serve human purposes.

The Brand Zimbabwe project beckons decisive, deliberate and distinctive support.

It is one vehicle through which our aspirations and collective goals and shared vision can be realised.

A nation, as much as a corporate, can only be as progressive and successful to the extent that its branding is.

African  countries such as Kenya and Mauritius have amply demonstrated this.

It also stands to reason that, in the absence of Brand Zimbabwe, little will be known about us among the community of nations, so robust branding will exponentially grow Zimbabwe.

In God I Trust.

Twitter handle: @VictoriaRuzvid2; Email: [email protected]; [email protected]


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