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Brand SA improves its ranking


13 Oct 2011 12:52

The 2011 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brand Index, based on an annual online survey done amongst 20 panel countries in which they rank 50 countries on six key dimensions: tourism, culture, people, exports, governance and investment/immigration, has moved South Africa up by one spot to 36 out of 50.
Fieldwork was conducted in July and is based on the perceptions of people in these panel countries.

Commenting on the results, Brand South Africa's CEO, Miller Matola, says, "A nation's overall reputation rank tends to be stable over time. Thus, the last four studies, with 200 measurements each, only produced two year-on-year changes greater than five.

"Both were the result of defining moments in the history of the countries concerned. The election of the first African-American president in the United States moved the country up six positions in 2009 while the post-revolution volatility brought Egypt down six positions in 2011.

"Moving up gradually"

"Moving up gradually in the rankings is a sign of sustainability and to do this while the world is in turmoil, is a positive sign."

Reputation-building needs a long-term approach. It is understandable that a country can move up one rank in category (tourism, for example) and move down two (governance), move up two in culture and three in immigration/investment.

There is a subtle shift, too, which bodes well for the future. The generational analysis shows that traditional leaders and Western powers fair lower amongst the younger generation than their peers do. There is a shift in favourability towards the new emerging powers amongst the younger generation, who represent future tourists, investors and consumers.

South Africa, too, shows a marginally higher positivity amongst the younger generation. Of this development Simon Anholt, the man behind the nation brand index, says, "This can only be good news for South Africa, suggesting that it now has somewhat more in common with the 'rising stars' of the developing world than with the fading heroes of the post-industrial economies."

Productivity plays a vital role

Two areas of interest, too, says Matola, are that while South Africa did not progress beyond the quarterfinals in the Rugby World Cup 2011, its stellar reputation for sporting excellence has helped its culture ranking to end up in 16th position.

Secondly, there is no clear explanation why the index shows there is a noticeable drop in perceptions that South Africans are 'warm and friendly'.

While expressing satisfaction with South Africa's ranking, Matola points out that different branding indices can come to different conclusions. As with all brands, what is of greatest importance are the key differentiators. For Brand South Africa, this would be to continue its focus on positioning itself more as a business destination and an attractive emerging market on the African continent. Productivity plays a vital role in this regard, as it is a core factor in driving economic growth.

Thus while the Anholt index shows a drop of two places in the governance ranking because of a perceived cooling towards this aspect by South Africans themselves, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, also published this week, showed South Africa holding steady at fifth place out of 53 countries.

"The lesson is that nation brand building takes time and holding steady or possibly gradually edging upwards in an index, is the sustainable way forward," concludes Matola.

Source: BizCommunity (

Brand SA improves its ranking

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