Lessons From Zim, Uganda Twitter War in Face of Brand Zimbabwe

GUEST COLUMNBy Tare Munzara

The heated Twitter war between Zimbabweans and Ugandans over the football match was actually a reality check for Brand Zimbabwe. Let’s not take what the Ugandans wrote for granted as it is what truly reflects what Brand Zimbabwe is viewed as In terms of perception in the minds of foreign entities. What the world thinks about Zimbabwe has a bearing on how we perform on the market to stimulate our products and services as it really has nothing to do with the head of state alone but a collective of all of us.

Perception is a driver of economic prosperity for any country brand. Countries with the correct kind of perception have high familiarity, awareness and positive associations earn revenue and market confidence way better than those that don’t have.

In a series of posts prior to the recent Africa Cup of Nations football game between Zimbabwe and Uganda. The trending hashtag UGAZIM was comic humour but total reality in terms of what the Ugandans posted about brand Zimbabwe. One post read, “In Uganda we open factories and whilst in Zimbabwe they open and officiate Dust Bins ” .The posts are something to laugh about but are true, as they brought to light in terms of where we are as a country.

Preference matters on the market are paramount and the question being, does the world resonate with our Brand and is it a preferred choice of destination for anything… In a comment made by South Africans on social media in 2018 , one unnamed individual posted that “I have never heard of a South African going to look for a job in Zimbabwe but they come to look for jobs in our country . This post had a reflection on our quality of life matrix because of the high unemployment rate.

As a brand are we considered by investors? The Foreign direct investment sector is the most critical that Zimbabwe has been trying to get the world to rally behind it , yes a few investors have come. One notable statement was done two weeks ago at the Zimbabwe Investment Dinner in the UK. One of the speakers stood to say that “for them to invest in Zimbabwe, they must really like you “

Zimbabwe is still on the list of unsafe countries, it gets me thinking that one or two incidents have caused the listing on a list no country would want to be. Sadly it doesn’t feel great being listed amongst countries that suffer from real war and violence, as we do not even have that here.

Whenever there is a potential protest or an actual protest most western embassies issue red flags to their citizens not to travel to Zimbabwe.

Our own media has failed to add value to the Brand as it is more negative on each day feeding citizens with negative stories than positive ones. Its always the usual political, corruption, economic meltdown and shortage articles as if there is nothing positive going on.The world picks this up and republishes.

The public impression of a country is important as a source of national pride. Invariably, people source part of their own identity from the image of their country. What the world thinks about us requires us to shift our minds and our deeds into another realm of building a better country brand with a value system that is attractive.

Tare Munzara is a country branding expert, and is also the chief executive officer at Destination Marketing International. 

Source : 263chat

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