It is up to every one of us to sell South Africa

first_img“If we are serious about marketing the country to the world, we must engage the brand ambassadors who are ordinary South Africans,” says Brand South Africa’s Wendy Tlou. (Image: Brand South Africa) • Brand South Africa infobrandsouthafrica.com PO Box 87168, Houghton, 2041 Tel: +27 11 483 0122 Fax: +27 11 483 0124 • National Development Plan: Utopian dream, practical blueprint • Forum focuses on active citizenship • A freedom timeline: 20 years of democracy • Mandela Day has improved South Africa’s generosity • Infographic: Vision 2030 and the National Development PlanWendy TlouBranding a nation is like branding a sugary beverage or a pop star (even those with questionable talents). The goal is the same: maximise brand value and remain relevant to your audience.Like any brand, nations change, values change and so should the message about the chosen or perceived brand identity.If we are serious about marketing South Africa, we must be clear about what our values are.Branding South Africa is critical to the future of the country for the trite reason of competitiveness and much-needed direct foreign investment.The process of brand development and leveraging the value the brand brings without engaging the diverse people of the country is a plan that is sure to fail.That we have not invested in the exercise of ingraining a common vision that will inform our overall brand as a nation may be seen as a sign that we are not serious enough about how we market South Africa to its own people and to the rest of the world.We are taking chances. In sustainable marketing, buying our own hype is not an option – our marketing ingredient has to be real, otherwise anything else will see us pay dearly in the long run.Branding a country or state, and branding a nation, are mutually exclusive tasks.A credible country can exist without a strong nation, but a country is stronger with the existence of a powerful national brand, an inclusive one at that.Central to a nation is a shared and common culture.A culture that is not limited to whether you are from the north or speak a particular language, but rather a culture of common understanding, one where we uphold the fundamental values that allow all the people of and in South Africa to be who they are, without anyone infringing on their rights.A culture that embodies the ideal that together we are stronger, but divided we are vulnerable.We must address the fact that South Africans are inherently polarised and are thus unable to effectively develop and own a common culture, due to our race and class differences.I suppose it is safer to talk about this after a hotly contested election. Perhaps we don’t trust one another to believe in the same ideals.The impact of partisan politics is perhaps the biggest contributor to lack of unity.Our overall disinterest in the national narrative makes it easy for us to be sold bogus ideas by entities who have only self-interest and profit-making at heart.We are so desperate that the smell of meat on a braai and the ephemeral excitement derived from sport has become our assumed identity, our brand as a nation.While we must celebrate how we embraced one another over the past 20 years during huge sporting events that we had the privilege to host, we do have to ask ourselves whether there was enough follow-through to maintain such a momentum.One would have hoped that there was no better time than the celebration of 20 years after democracy to rectify the error.Can we honestly say that we are underselling the story of our 20 years of achievement?The legacy and brand of Nelson Mandela, our progressive constitution, Table Mountain and hosting the World Cup, among others, are too limited tools in our arsenal to fulfil our mission of achieving solid leadership and dominance on the continent, remaining the gateway to the rest of Africa.They are too limited to ensure we are respected and unmatched – not only because of what we have done, but because of what we are focusing on and investing in for future generations.Being a breathtakingly beautiful country alone is not enough.Knowledge, innovation and excellence are fundamental to any brand.The Americans are arrogant in their pursuit of maintaining global dominance.They are unequivocal about being the standard.They are unrivalled in terms of education, innovation, sports and military capability.They say and believe that they lead because no one else will – and they back it up.Why are we unable to strive for the same on the continent and have the vision, political will and hard work to back it up?We may not be there right now, but a systematic and inspired effort to get there, an aggressive crafting of a new narrative around a collective move to fix our education system and making South Africa a safer and more secure country is just as sexy a story as that of the Big Five at Kruger and the wonderful wines in and around Stellenbosch.For this, decisive and uncompromising leadership from the top is required. We must identify key areas of focus that place us shoulders above other large economies that are a real threat to our economic prowess and leadership on the continent. These focus areas must guarantee returns and have an effect in a relatively short amount of time.The strategy of having several focus areas is ineffective, because South Africans are impatient.We want results now.The concept of planning decades ahead and working for tomorrow is not what we preach.The high levels of instant gratification in the private lives of South Africans are indicative of this challenge. This stifles our potential to create credible institutions, led by brilliant minds, to include in the brand value we offer the world. We want to know that there is imminent change that is not dependent on who will occupy the highest office in the land, but on the will of South Africans – and that it will serve their interests first and foremost. We need to attach equal importance to the development and encouragement of citizen loyalty and efforts to attract foreign investment.When South Africans are proud and committed to the development of the country, everyone will do their bit to ensure that those interested in investing do so with the kind of confidence that will encourage long-term investment in several sectors.Featuring locals in television adverts is cute, but it is not enough to make the project of marketing South Africa, to South Africans and abroad, exceptional.Properly integrate South Africans in the branding and marketing of their own country. Get more people to participate in keeping the cities and villages clean, not just for visitors, but also for themselves, so that they are also proud of their country.Brand Proudly South African must be given life from our products, content and – importantly – through the lives of ordinary South Africans.Let us be honest and clear about who we want in our country, what they bring and how they can help solidify Brand South Africa.When we are marketing South Africa, do we have in mind the Ivy League graduate looking to do exciting and innovative work in Africa, or the less skilled miners from Zimbabwe?The Ivy League graduate is just as valuable as the miner – however, their contribution to the development of the country is different.We expect that their economic activity will significantly benefit key industries, including tourism, which continues to perform positively in parts of the country.But without a stronger message about prioritising safety, security and reliable infrastructure, we will not be able to attract the calibre of visitors that our economy needs to grow at levels that we need.We must be unapologetic in the pursuit for quality individuals to make South Africa their professional and economic home. If not, we merely overburden ourselves by taking on more people to cater for.The pressure under which public facilities find themselves cannot be understated. If we are serious about marketing the country to the world, we must engage the brand ambassadors who are ordinary South Africans.Limiting our potential to aesthetics is problematic – we can create, we can think and we must tell the world this. We can charm and impress with more than just a three-minute video of pretty South Africa on YouTube.Tlou writes in her personal capacity. During the day she is the marketing and communications director for Brand South Africa.last_img read more

Will vehicle-to-vehicle communication in new cars save lives?

first_imgThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a new rule which will require automakers to equip all light-duty vehicles to include vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. V2V technologies enable cars to “talk” with each other, alerting their drivers to potential dangers as they arise in traffic.See also:In 2013, there were over 5.9 million crashes on US roadways. These collisions resulted in over 32,700 fatalities. According to the Department of Transportation, many of these accidents and fatalities could be avoided with a more widespread deployment of V2V technologies.See also: Instead of waiting around for the auto industry to phase in these features, or worse to make them a paid upgrade, the NHTSA is proposing a new rule that would make them a requirement on all new light-duty vehicles produced for sale in the US.From the official proposal:The agency believes that V2V has the potential to revolutionize motor vehicle safety. By providing drivers with timely warnings of impending crash situations, V2V-based safety applications could potentially reduce the number and severity of motor vehicle crashes, thereby reducing the losses and costs to society that would have resulted from these crashes.A unique standard to share informationThis new rule isn’t without some merit. Without a standard set of requirements, auto makers are at risk of creating their own proprietary communication systems, each sharing data that isn’t consistent between makes and/or models. This would greatly reduce the effectiveness of this technology as it would limit the number of vehicles that would be able to talk to one-another.By making a regulated standard, vehicles will share information that will enable them to alert each other when danger approaches. A driver would hear an alert in the vehicle when another vehicle is merging into them, and collisions that occur just on the other side of an obstructing truck would be detectable thanks to the information shared with other vehicles in the area.This new regulation will raise questions among privacy advocates. After all, if our vehicles are communicating with one-another, what’s to say that your behavior on the road won’t make its way to the authorities?The information shared between vehicles does not include personally identifiable information. The proposed rule includes privacy-protecting language that ensures that this information remains anonymous and untrackable to the individual. For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Related Posts Ryan Matthew Piersoncenter_img Tags:#autonomous vehicles#DOT#driverless cars#Internet of Things#IoT#NHTSA#self-driving vehicles#V2V#vehicle-to-vehicle 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle… Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and…last_img read more

How To Get Ahead In Your Creative Career

first_imgYou can’t always control your creative career…but you can be ready to make the most of career building opportunities.These summer months are a time of great turmoil for many young graduates, emerging from the comfort of 20 years of systematic education, now faced with the wide blue yonder of the uncertain future and wrestling with ‘what they’re going to do with their lives’ and exactly how they are going to ‘make it.’If there is one thing that seems pretty certain about a creative career, it is that you can’t really control it’s trajectory, but you can be ready (or not) to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. Here a few thoughts on how to get ahead in your own creative career – advice for current and future video editors, photographers, producers and other creative professionals.Faith, Hope and ReasonAs a creative entering into the marketplace for the first time there are a few things that you need to come to grips with. First of all you cannot always control your career trajectory, but you can be smart, prepared and ‘lucky’ in your career.Why do I think you can’t control your career?One job leads to another, or not. One connection leads to another, or not. A phone call out of the blue can change everything. Months of pounding the pavement on a project can lead nowhere. Life is more random than we give it credit for so we should be prepared for everything not to go according to plan, or at least not our plan. And that’s totally ok. If you go with the flow, instead of fighting it, you’ll have a much better time and not be so worried when its not all working out quite how you hoped.So what can you do to best prepare yourself for opportunities?I think its important to set goals, some audacious goals, but be flexible with the time and method of getting there. You and you alone are the forward thrust in your career and it won’t be handed to you on a platter. Be active in pursuing your goals, knowing that you are moving forward but in a zig zag fashion. One thing can add to another in unexpected ways but you probably won’t get there by a direct route.Secondly there tends to be two ways of engaging with the world. One way is that the world is a scary place and you should live cautiously. This thinking means you should shore up for yourself securities of money and always make job safety your first priority. Conversely, you can live your life more openly, viewing the world as a place to be engaged with and a place to make your mark in. If you can start thinking more like the second camp you’ll have more fun and be less afraid. All you need to have starting out is a bit of faith in yourself and your abilities, hope that everything will work out against the odds and a reasonable, yet flexible plan of attack.Making Your Own Luck“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – SenecaHave you ever noticed how some people (other people) tend to get lucky more than you? They always seem to be in the right place at the right time, getting to work on the best jobs and with the coolest creatives.You can make your own luck. If you’re prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that randomly come your way you can get ‘lucky’ much more often. So what’s the best way to prepare?First of all, having an open mind as to what an opportunity looks like, means you’re more prepared to spot them. As Thomas Edison said ”Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”. Being prepared to put in the hours of hard and humble work and doing it all with a sense of humor and not entitlement, makes for 90 percent of having the right attitude. Your attitude matters more than your aptitude. As an example, I was working recently at a post production house that had two interns. One had been there a while and carried herself with an air of over confidence, she acted like every task was a little bit of a burden and she came across as a bit annoying. The other was always hard at work, happy to do any job no matter how mundane and in any spare moment that she had, asked if she could sit in to watch what I was doing, asked questions and seemed generally hungry to learn. Now which one of those two interns do you think I’m likely to recommend to someone else as an assistant? How you conduct yourself as a person is far more influential on your career trajectory than what you know. People work with people they like, and they can train those people to learn new things far more easily than they can train someone to have a whole new personality.Nobody knows anything – but everyone knows someone.In every single sphere of life, what really matters is people. Get good with people and you’ll get ahead in your career. Talent will get you there in the long run but its over rated in the short term. The production manager’s nephew is more likely to be hired as a runner than your CV in a stack of CVs.  You need to get out there and make your own connections.  Attend user groups, join professional organizations, be bold and reach out to other creatives in your community that have the type of career you aspire to.Community, networking (in the nicest sense of the term) and being good with people are what matters.“Nobody knows anything…… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” -William GoldmanTo, circle back round to the beginning of this post…If you’re fresh from university and looking to find your way in the world remember what screenwriter William Goldman said:  “Nobody knows anything.”At this point in your life, people will start weighing in, telling you what to do, how important making money is, that you need to think about career etc, etc, etc. Of course you should listen to their advice and take it for what it’s worth, but be concerned about your chances of achieving the career you want if you only make ‘the safe choices’.There is no one way to make it in life. You can break the rules others think are set in stone. Cut your own path, make your own luck and be ready for and open to the opportunities that come your way.Have advice to share for creative professionals?Share your thoughts in the comments below!last_img read more