Dr Charles Dahwa
Recapturing from Parts 1- 4, the main argument advanced in these articles is that patriotic entrepreneurship positively impacts on our economy much more than the traditional capitalist entrepreneurship.
Patriotic entrepreneurship, which is non-partisan but apolitical, is driven by dominant sacrificial love for one’s motherland and it is the hallmark of patriots as they do business.
Central to patriotic entrepreneurship is the overarching life goals of patriots to contribute passionately to the continued socio-economic well-being of their fellow nationals /countrymen and women.
Patriots as explained previously, are not just mere citizens whose identity with their country is legally derived, defined and destined.
I have since explained (Part 1- 4) how through patriotic business motivation, patriotic production, patriotic pricing and patriotic people management, our Zimbabwean businessmen and women can effectively execute patriotic entrepreneurship. In this article, I introduce two more drivers for patriotic entrepreneurship, namely, patriotic marketing and patriotic market behaviour.
Marketing is well known for being the life blood of any business or organisation; hence, the adage, marketing is business and business is marketing. Elaborating, marketing involves itself in researching to identify market (people’s) needs, tastes and preferences, categorise such into homogenous segments, choose the best market needs-segment to service and ultimately position oneself to effectively service such a segment profitably and better than competition.
Doing all this include coming up with clear strategies and tactics regarding what products and services to offer (product type, quality, features, styles, variety) and to what sort of potential customers (age, gender, education, income, culture, location amongst other segmentation variables).
Further, what prices to charge (free of charge/freeware, market entrance price/penetration, discounts, demand pricing, location-based pricing, premium pricing/skimming amongst others).
There is also need to come up with effective strategies regarding where the products and services can be accessed (place strategy) such as via a shop and or online; convenience in accessing, parking as well as the ambience.
In addition, marketing has to look into how to effectively promote the products and services (promotion strategy), for example, via advertising and sales promotions and the role of public relations.
Building on these four primary strategies: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion, marketing further comes up with additional people, process and physical evidence strategies to cater for services. People strategies in liaison with human resources management prioritise recruitment of the right skills and continuously developing staff capacities.
Further, people strategies seek to provide excellent customer care to staff, who are the internal customers, thus enabling the provision of excellent customer care by staff to external customers, who are the buyers. Physical evidence strategies seek to make the intangible services tangible through use of visual artefacts as well as role models. Process strategies interrogate the entire systems and processes through which products and services are produced and or offered.
The logic being that defective or sub-standard products and services can be a result of defective processes. Together, these seven Ps (Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Physical Evidence, Process) are known in marketing as the Marketing Mix strategies.
So, what has patriotism got to do with marketing and the above seven Ps, you could rightly wonder? My response is that patriotism is all about the ideology: ‘what can I do for my country more than what can my country do for me?’ It is about not just national heritage consciousness but in addition its advancement.
Yes, patriotism is about: All eyes out, all ears open and strong discernment to interrogate, interpret and understand the short and long-term impacts of the seven Ps Marketing mix strategies on Zimbabwean-hood or what makes us as a nation and as a people. Patriots do not just come up with new products neither just import products simply because such products and services are trending.
To patriots, it is a critical question of ‘what shall we become as Zimbabweans after inventing, manufacturing and or importing and consuming such products and services?”
In capitalist entrepreneurship, it is acceptable for new products and services to not only cannibalise traditional -heritage products and services but to drive such culture-preservative products and services to extinction, doing all this under the guise of modernity.
Modernity largely preoccupies itself with what is the latest invention, technology, human needs, and way of life amongst several other issues; of course, in this context of advancement in civilisation, it is understandable.
However, modernity should never advance at the expense of what makes us as a people and what makes us Zimbabweans to be distinct within global markets.
Inevitably, regardless of their modernity, products and services no matter the brands encapsulate ideology and or way of life. The bone of contention then, is to what extent do modern products and services advance or destroy who we are as a people?
Notably, I am not at all campaigning that we retard or lag in civilisation as a people and nation but in continuously civilising ourselves through advancement in technology, globalisation and new products and services, who we are as a people and nation should and must never be sacrificed.
Achieving the above is not only tricky but indeed quite difficult! Nevertheless, this is where patriotic marketing comes in.
Driven by patriotism, patriotic marketing does not wait helplessly just to consume global products and services but examines the national resources, culture, and heritage and from these come up with creative ideas leading to the development of new heritage based products and services.
Simply put, through patriotic marketing, there is more of home based/domestic products and services (brands) than foreign brands.
To demonstrate this, the more we have patriotic marketing the more our local economy witnesses more brands known by any of our national languages.
Further, the more we witness promotional strategies such as advertisement and sales promotions increasingly making use of our heritage-based cues and techniques. Ever imagine what it is like to make much more use of our idiophones (nyaudzosingwi), metaphors (dimikira) and proverbs (tsumo) in our marketing mix strategies?
Without patriotic marketing, it is extremely rare for our national culture and heritage to populate global markets in the form of our Zimbabwean brands. How often, do we adore brands bearing national flags or features of foreign countries? Similarly, how intensive and consistent are our marketing mix strategies drawing own our very own culture and heritage to advance our Zimbabwean brand globally?
Therefore, given this logic, I argue that patriotic marketing is indeed a key driver for our entrepreneurs and or business persons to exercise patriotic entrepreneurship.
Closely associated with patriotic marketing is patriotic market behaviour and this simply entails how as entrepreneurs and business persons behave in the market.
The market in this case goes beyond the physical or virtual place or in the mind where buyers and sellers meet and exchange economic transactions. Specifically, market behaviour here by carries the meaning that reflects how our business persons transact with buyers within the context of competition, consumer behaviour as well as numerous and fundamental institutions or rules of the game or rules of doing business that govern each business sector and the entire economy.
At the heart of market behaviour is the supposedly mutually beneficial economic exchanges between our businesses as they provide us with various products and services for a reward/compensation and ourselves as consumers, whereby we also benefit from the utility, which we derive from consuming such products and services.
The challenge then arises whenever there is information asymmetry in the market and the economy, and information asymmetry is inevitable.
The adverse impact is that, from a capitalist point of view, such information asymmetry, that is, one party to an economic transaction having key information the other party does not, presents a golden opportunity for any business to maximise their benefits; much to the detriment of the buyer/consumer.
Of course, a consumer can also wield key information that a buyer does not and in this case benefit more than the business. Another case in point is how owing to the unavoidable fluctuations in the market and the entire economy, businesses and consumers each usually engage in speculative behaviour as each strive to take full advantage of such fluctuations.
Furthermore, there is arbitrage behaviour, which represents how economic agents (businesses and consumers) purchases various commodities or assets, material and or financial from different markets, hoarding and simultaneously selling them in other markets to achieve maximum gain. All this market behaviour reflects the adage: ‘Make hay while the sun still shines’ but it is significantly disastrous to both the business and the consumer and ultimately impacts adversely on the entire economy — causing unnecessary shortages or excess liquidity in the market and the economy at large.
At the end, it becomes a what goes around comes around as all of us being the economic agents individually and severally suffer from the economic malaise that ensues, given our irresponsible market behaviour.
So, where does patriotism come in this matrix? Well, I mentioned earlier on that capitalist ideology is the dominant driver of speculative, arbitrage and information asymmetry exploitative behaviour in the market.
Under capitalism, pursuing self-interest to not only make profit but maximize gains is pivotal; hence, the zest and unquenchable thirst, thirsting after exploiting the next possible market distortion.
Under capitalism, not only do economic agents wait hopefully or eagerly that market fluctuations occur so they can exploit to their enrichment but majority of economic agents are quite daring.
They are always planning, scheming and permutating how they can take concrete steps to cause such market distortions, so they can benefit. It is for this reason that globally, economies set up regulatory bodies such as competition and tariffs, to prevent such adverse market behaviours and limit oligopolies in the economy.
Notably, and in sharp contrast with capitalist ideals, patriotism evokes within patriots that sacrificial love for one’s motherland leading to patriotic market behaviour by both the business and the consumer and other economic agents.
Central to patriotic market behaviour is undertaking economic exchanges abiding by not only best practice, professionalism but in addition national interest; always holding oneself fully responsible and accountable to do good for one’s country and motherland.
To curtain down this article, I mention what we all know in our country, that is, how for several decades, our economy has continued to struggle and the standard of living for the majority continues to deteriorate. Of course, there are many underlying causes bedevilling our economy and neither a quick fix solution nor a one solution fits all is a realistic expectation.
Key among the solutions that continue to be suggested and of course implementation is ongoing are ‘‘reforms’’. Undoubtedly, ‘‘reforms’’ in our beloved nation has become a buzzword just as much as it is a catchphrase in all developing economies especially from the global south. Anything that is not going on alright in developing economies — the immediate — instantaneous response is ‘reforms!’.
But, in as much as I concur the need for relevant institutional reforms where there are shortcomings after an objective and scientific assessment, I argue that one of the key drivers that is either missing or is in short supply is patriotism. Given, deficient patriotism, patriotic market behaviour is also scant.
My bone of contention is that, if all of us as economic agents in our beautiful motherland and economy, evoke our patriotism and say ‘‘what can I do for my country and economy such that I make it better for ourselves today and for future generations’’ the indiscipline we witness in our market and economy will to a large extent disappear.
Consequently, our regulatory bodies will then direct their much-needed energies to address key macroeconomic issues and not get bogged down into how best they can make us behave responsibly in the market.
Thank you for reading and discharging patriotic market behaviour in our economy and as usual, I welcome your comments. In my next article I shall introduce patriotic entrepreneurship development and patriotic knowledge creation.
Dr Charlie provides cutting edge consultancy in Research, Innovation, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship. Importantly, SME growth, policy and development is central to his work. Dr Charlie holds a PhD in Management from Manchester Metropolitan University, (UK) and is contactable on Email: [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> Mobile: +263 71 370 2933