Simon Anholt, the world’s leading authority on managing national, regional and city identity and reputation, has urged Botswana to look beyond the brand logo and the catch phrase as it won’t do anything to change the country’s image or help build the country economy.
Speaking at a Competitive Identity Master Class, Anholt presented a basic insight into the processes involved in establishing, building and maintaining a competitive identity of countries.
Anholt noted that “in a world of globalisation the marketing of places has grown in importance as most countries are competing with one another to attract investment”.
Anholt revealed that basic areas of activity that entail tourism promotion, products and services exported, government policies, investment, culture and people are key to realising a competitive economic advantage with regard to attracting tourism income, attracting foreign direct investment or perfect export strategy.
As Botswana is in the process of building a good image, Anholt urged Botswana to concentrate on these sectors as they are responsible of constructing a country image.
“If these sectors send a conflicting message, the negative impact is felt on the nation’s strategies,” he said.
Anholt said exported products and services, act as powerful ambassadors for each country, but only where their place of origin is explicit.
He, however, noted that “Botswana is missing this vital conduit to attract investment into the country as products are powerful mouthpieces of a country”.
Anholt emphasised that if Botswana wishes to achieve its goal of economic diversification, the Government should revise some of its policies as they discourage foreign direct investment into the country.
“Government should create new structures, which will make it impossible for different ministries and government departments not to coordinate,” he said.
Furthermore, Anholt noted that the Botswana tourism board should work tirelessly to send the right picture of the country to the outside world to rid itself of the negative African images.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer for BEDIA, Jacob Nkate, said, “Botswana should understand that to attract foreign direct investment into the country, it’s not about plastering your tagline all over the world it’s actually about developing a competitive product to put into the global market”.
He added that the producers should give the customer a quality product.
In addition, Nkate said the country is faced with stiff competition in the global economy, “to vie with other competitors in the global economy let us be unison”.