7 steps to nation branding

Paul Bannister

The hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup gave South Africa the chance to rebrand the nation and the African continent to present a positive and credible brand image to the travel industry and business leaders

Given the timing, it would be natural to expect a strong focus on the 2010 FIFA World Cup as the pinnacle achievement within South Africa's nation branding strategy. In truth, the World Cup is a high-point, but, more importantly, it is a proof-point and a potential springboard for the fledging nation brand that is South Africa.

The South African nation brand journey began some 20 years ago with the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and his later installation as state president. As the 1990s drew to a close, it became clear that the democracy dividend would not last indefinitely and, in 2002, the International Marketing Council (IMC) was created as a public-private partnership to oversee the reputation management of Brand South Africa (see panel, p27).