The Government has appealed to local marketers for help in rebranding the country, as Zimbabwe’s “terrible” reputation has destroyed the country`s prospects for growth, a cabinet minister has said.
Over the years, Zimbabwe has gained an international reputation of political repression, social stagnation, worsened by corruption and human rights abuses.
Officiating at the 11th Annual Marketers’ Convention hosted by Marketers Association Zimbabwe (MAZ), Thursday, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa acknowledged that negative perception was destroying Zimbabwe.
She said part of her job was to rebrand Zimbabwe but that could only be done successfully and effectively with the support from everyone.
“You can only succeed in a country, which is succeeding whether it’s economically, socially or politically, so we need you. This is why President Emmerson Mnangagwa has continuously said Zimbabwe is for us all.
If it was a company we are equal shareholders and as such there’s no wonders that can be done by the ministry alone without all Zimbabweans, we need each other,” the minister said.
Mutsvangwa urged marketers to approach her office with ideas that could help improve the country`s image.
“We need to rebrand this country, the reputation is terrible and Zimbabwe is not that bad. A friend of mine went to Rwanda and because of the way Rwandans marketed their country, he had this big perception. When he came back, said ‘my goodness, we are not doing good service to our own country. This is not fair to Zimbabwe because there’s a lot of good going in our country and it is not being marketed well.”
A marketer by profession, Mutsvangwa said marketers play a pivotal role, not only in marketing their business but also promoting their brands, which culminates in a strong country.
“The Association has made great strides in ensuring the uplifting of the marketing profession which has resulted in business and professional growth. I would like to commend the Association’s efforts to integrate business and government initiatives,” she said.
The information minister also touched on the social media space, saying it has completely revolutionised communication.
“Even as government, we need a good mix of content channels in order to drown up negative or fake news. We need to take communication seriously and keep abreast with technologies,” she said.
Mutsvangwa noted gone are the days, where government would rely on mainstream media to communicate with citizens.
“As the Minister of Publicity, I am ceased with the task that government policies and decisions are timeously communicated and the choice of the vehicle of communication is of essence for our effectiveness. I therefore applaud you the marketing professionals to support us in government with further insights into the trends and platforms so that we keep abreast with the new developments. Change is real, it is therefore paramount for every constituent to be at its toes in order to be relevant,” she said.
However, the minister warned that uncouth marketing strategies were bad and encouraged responsible communication from marketers who had broad influence on people’s choices and even their world’s view.
“Social media is a very powerful medium which can either destroy or build brands as well as the nation. Let’s engage in professional marketing that does not contain inflammatory language, hate speech or encourages violence in the country. As we ride on current affairs in our social media marketing lets also be wary of insensitive messages and be accountable,” she said.
Mutsvangwa reiterated that ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business,’ and the government could not market the country alone.
“We need your support to position and market the country brand on the global scale, promote our local goods and brands as well as promote exports. When this happens the country will be successful. We need to create dialogue and have proper solutions. Don’t just expect the cabinet to talk from their heads,” said the information minister.