President setting the tone as chief brand ambassador of Zimbabwe

10 Feb, 2023 - 00:02 0 Views
President setting the  tone as chief brand ambassador of Zimbabwe Dr Musekiwa Clinton Tapera

eBusiness Weekly

Dr Musekiwa Tapera

Nations can communicate effectively by using brand ambassadors in order to position and reposition the country appropriately on the global market through cognitive, affective and symbolical routes of motivating citizens and persuasion.

Nation branding ambassadors can have a meaningful impact on rallying the citizens to a common national vision and assist in getting the country to attract positive global attention in terms of investment, talent attraction, technology and skills transfer, tourists, image and perception management.

Ambassador networks are communication channels and development resource for nations as they seek to enhance the general competitiveness of a nation. In the Zimbabwean context, under the new dispensation, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has set the right tone for the country as the Chief Brand Champion of Zimbabwe through his mantra “Zimbabwe is Open for Business,” Nyika inovakwa neVene Vayo,” “Leaving no one and no place behind.”

The tone has turned the President to be a Brand evangelist in promoting important national brand values and identity as critical elements sacrosanct to citizen’s loyalty and the bedrock upon which national development is anchored. The clarion call is that we are Zimbabwean’s first, the only country we know and must be prepared to stand for against all odds.

The narrative must change and has changed to the positive and that positivity should make Zimbabwe our motherland be viewed as a “Renewed Jewel of Africa” in the next few years.

The concept of ambassador is derived from the Middle Ages linked to the history of diplomacy in Europe. In a nutshell and from history, an ambassador is a person who represents and defends the interests of a specific sovereign state in a different place or state. From a marketing perspective, therefore, the brand ambassador is a representative of brands, its identity, its values, culture, its brand visibility, image, brand character and other brand components.

In nation branding, just as in corporate branding or marketing generally a brand ambassador refers to a person of celebrity or influential status expected to support and promote a product or service. Brand ambassadors in this case, bring glamour to brands and facilitate the attraction of attention to both internal and external stakeholders.

The Highest Office on the Land has set the tone from which the citizenry should takeover in promoting national interest as we continue to address our national challenges. None but ourselves can confront our national interest head on.

We cannot sub-contract that to our external stakeholders because it’s our responsibility and it’s at the heart of our development as a nation. A brand ambassador constitutes a credible testimony of the distinctive character of the nation, in this context its attractiveness and can through the word of mouth effect influence others to make a brand choice.

Communication in general and the word of mouth effect in particular is an effective tool when it comes to building a positive image and influencing target groups. Through their social and occupational roles, nation brand ambassadors can get access to target groups that others may not be able to reach.

They enhance the general competitiveness of the country. The ambassadorial role was traditionally associated with a famous person and through his or her official function promotes the brand.

It is in this context, and the context of engagement and re-engagement that the Presidential tone is crucial and forms the centrality of Zimbabwe’s development trajectory. It is the soul of our nationhood.

Ambassador networks are taken as a resource for mobilising local pride and boosting self-confidence of citizens of a nation and make them aware of the values and achievements of the country. This will facilitate nation’s citizens to identify, understand and support nation branding efforts.

It is argued that citizens as brand ambassadors should get full explanation, context and relevance of the branding project, well before the national branding campaign is activated.

A brand ambassador such as the President is doing, becomes useful and effective to influence national cohesion towards uplifting the Zimbabwe brand. The message from the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe is clear, unambiguous, inspiring and its “new feel and look” and must be reflected in our character despite our differences. It is the centrepiece and a component core to make us seen as a proud people bound together by our Zimbabweaness.

It is important to take note of the point that it cannot be the responsibility of the His Excellency the President and his Cabinet alone to champion the nation branding and national interest of Zimbabwe.

It is the national responsibility of every citizen first and sub ambassadorial networks such as:

Citizen focused network which is a localised network of people living in a particular location. People interested in being ambassadors express their interests. The main purpose of the citizen focused network is usually to create proud and committed citizens to promoting their local area.

Citizens become active players in the branding process because through these ambassadors, some sub-ambassadors are created within citizens rendering the process an inclusive, effective and results oriented.

The business-oriented ambassadorial network is inclusive of businesspeople at a destination or people having a connection with a place. The primary objective of business networks is to attract investment and entrepreneurs who create new business opportunities. In the context of tourism, as an example, this network might include private business players such as hotel owners, safari operators and others.

A fame-focused network is exclusive and is aimed at luring famous people in sports, the arts, politics, media etc. The primary objective is to create awareness and promote the image of a nation.

A specialised network or niche network may include high profile academics from local universities and research institutions. The primary objective of this network is to build a positive image nationally and abroad. It is also aimed at attracting academic conferences and events and enhancing a country’s standing globally.

The above networks and others and their activities should be in sync with the Presidential tone and pronouncements for consistency of message, harmony and national cohesion. The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Dr Mnangagwa has set the tone that should guide us to run with the Zimbabwe Brand.

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