The Office of the Present and Cabinet is spearheading an all-stakeholders process for a national branding strategy that will inform the world that Zimbabwe is open for business and has functional institutions to support the exploitation of business and investment opportunities.
The campaign focuses on key result areas as well as institutions that deal with visitors to Zimbabwe, investment and trade in the country, among them Government ministries, departments, regulators and private business groupings.
Senior principal director in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Department of Public Affairs and Knowledge Management, Ambassador Marry Mubi, said at the branding and concept strategy in Harare yesterday that the initiative started off in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
However, it was realised that the branding covered a lot of issues that were beyond tourism, hence the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) took over the coordination and supervision of the process to ensure that all aspects were covered. The tourism ministry wanted to focus on destination marketing.
“After assuming responsibility for national branding, the OPC undertook a 100-day pilot brand proposition and data gathering initiative in Mashonaland West Province during the last quarter of 2017, which culminated in the production of a short film, provincial web-site and a brochure,” Ambassador Mubi said.
She pointed out that the pilot project was mainly meant to understand what nation branding entailed, who should be involved and the aspects of the Zimbabwe brand “we should highlight”.
“We, therefore, propose to develop a global campaign that informs the world that Zimbabwe is a viable nation with working institutions, tremendous opportunities in all sectors, vibrant culture and great places to visit and with a peaceful, resilient people and the most literate workforce on the continent.”
Ambassador Mubi said the global campaign will also highlight the country’s tourism icons, trade and investment opportunities. As such, the campaign will get local and diaspora people talking positively about Zimbabwe and expose the population to the many positive developments in the country.
The OPC’s 100-day nation branding strategy will expertly combine tourism, culture, investment and trade opportunities into a measurable development agenda for Zimbabwe.
The strategy will launch branding campaigns aimed at attracting tourists, facilitating trade, foreign direct investment and improving the private-sector global competitiveness of Zimbabwe.
Further, Ambassador Mubi said the strategy will present Zimbabwe’s investment and trade opportunities through a unified and simplified message that clarifies its policies and vision.
“The campaign will develop marketing collateral that will allow us to kick-start the branding effort, get buy in for a new vision and trajectory of the country from all Zimbabweans at home and abroad and change the narrative about Zimbabwe,” she said.
Ambassador Mubi said nation branding strategy was critical to take advantage of the window of opportunity and dividend, which has come as a result of the new political dispensation.
“His Excellency, The President ED Mnangagwa has created enthusiasm and interest amongst various stakeholders by making it clear that Government is serious in its intention to change its way of doing business, and in creating a more business friendly environment.
“He also pronounced a more inclusive approach to issues of governance and engagement with the international community. More recently he (President Mnangagwa) communicated his commitment to free and fair elections,” she said.
Generally, nation branding will be essential for the country’s economic turnaround because it encourages business and leisure tourism. No one trades or invests in a country unless they first visit.
Further, nation branding will be critical for engagement and re-engagement with the international community through communication of new trade and investment policies and reforms.
According to ambassador Mubi, this was critical to change the narrative about Zimbabwe and to indicate that the country is “open for business”. She said the campaign cannot succeed without the “buy in” of Zimbabweans.
“Renewed confidence in ourselves, and show-casing our ability to reform, show-casing what is working in the country will be a starting point in the process of redefining our image.”