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REPOSITIONING GHANA THROUGH REBRANDING

 By Yvonne Elikplim Harlley-Kanyi

 

“America is America because of communication. They have powerful instruments that communicate their values…, so we need a strong information machinery to communicate our dreams, values and unique selling points.”

 

These are words of Honourable Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, Minister for Information when he hinted of plans by the Ministry of Information to rebrand Ghana as part  of government’s agenda.

 

The initiative is to create a new coherent image platform to give a “uniform look and feel” to government and government institutions, he noted.

 

The Minister, in a Ghana News Agency report says when done, all communication platforms and mediums of government institutions such as signboards, letterheads, websites and complimentary cards would have the same design for a “uniform look and feel.”

 

A cursory observation indicates that a good number of the citizenry received the news with joy during radio discussion programmes and some social media platforms.

 

Importance of rebranding

 

Rebranding is a marketing terminology, which is simply the creation of a new look and feel for an established product or company. The main goal is to influence a customer's perception about a product or service by revitalizing the brand and making it seem more modern and relevant to the customer's needs, according to experts.

 

Further, rebranding could also help reposition a company’s vision to reflect a change of focus, setting the company apart from its competitors, and updating the corporate image to appeal to a younger market, and expanding the business scope among others.

 

Some people believe that branding or rebranding is propaganda and do not belong to government. Others too say there is no competition for government services for government to desire to stand out from competitors hence do not need branding or rebranding.

 

However, it is worth stating that branding is an appropriate government activity, which is not only necessary but critical as stated by DigitalGov. This day and age, anything can be branded from products, services, companies, industries, people-celebrities, politicians and places-cities, countries and continents.

 

Gyorgy Szondi of Leeds Business School, Leeds Metropolitan University, mentioned the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, Oman and Morocco as the five top country brands in Middle East, North Africa-MENA in 2010. 

 

Fact is citizens are living in a branded world of globalization, so it is important for government to think about branding to give itself an identity and present a unified and consistent visual image to the public.

 

This, through effective communication will create trust and help in recognizing the work of government, ministries, departments and agencies.

 

A well-structured nation branding campaign will help the country increase international credibility and investor confidence, gain influence in international affairs, strengthen the identity and self-esteem of its citizens and help erase misconceptions and negative stereotypes about the country.

 

This will help reduce Ghana’s identity-image gap, which is holding back the country’s economic development and injuring its position in the world community despite the huge gains in democratic governance.

 

The Five Pillars of National Orientation

 

An important feature, which must be added to the campaign, is Madam Oboshie Sai-Cofie’s five pillars of national orientation-“Proud to be Ghanaian, Patriotism and the Spirit of Ghana First, Positive and Can Do Attitude, Productivity and Accountability and Dedication and Discipline.”

 

The pillar of Patriotism and Ghana First must be given serious attention renewing the love of the citizenry for the national flag, national anthem and time consciousness.

 

Szondi says country branding is not about cosmetics or communication only, so it is worth reminding that actions and behaviours are vital and this campaign must not suffer discontinuity like the pillars of national orientation for a successful branding.

 

It is also important for players in the private sector and civil society organizations to be engage in the campaign to gain the support and goodwill of the domestic audience.

 

“Ghana beyond aid,” could be our positioning platform as against South Africa’s “Alive with possibility”, Malaysia’s “Truly Asia,” and India’s, “India Shining.”

 

The writer   is an Information Officer at ISD Regional Office, Ho, Volta

 

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