Africa On Sale!
Commodities meant to be sold usually pass through a rigorous process of preparation and after that, they are presented to prospective buyers in the best way possible. This is done not only to convert buyers but also to create a nice positive image of the company, to enhance the brand.
In this world, everything is a brand. You are a brand; your village is a brand, your country, your community all the way to cloth lines and car companies. And these brands can either portray a positive or negative image depending on how others in its environment view it.
This is where Africa fails terribly. Not Africa actually but Africans.
When you see or hear the name China, there is a certain kind of picture drawn in your mind; maybe ‘the mega manufacturers’, ‘the cultured people’, ‘the many people’ and so on. Again when you hear Japan, or England, or Afghanistan or Dubai, the same thing happens.
The perception we make of these countries depends largely on the background information that we as outsiders have on that country. And since we don’t live there, this background information reaches us through media which is actually the main agent, through the books we read from their authors, the items we use made in their countries, the movies and documentaries we watch about them and also their representatives who live among us as visitors, tourists, workmates or whatever.
An example of a country that has been able to market itself very effectively is USA. You hear everyone wants to go there to study, live, chase their dreams et cetera. Dubai too is another good example.
But when it comes to Africa, the situation is very different. The branding is really there but it is in the wrong direction. Africa is usually known for matters that are negative like poverty, disease, unemployment, corruption, lagging behind, you name it. It is evident in the way outsiders express their views about Africa. It has gotten so bad that even Africans themselves are getting disrespected in their own lands by foreigners. In fact, this negative branding has infected the Africans too such that Africans also bear the same negative picture of their land as foreigners. If you ask the average African about Africa, you’ll get answers you are likely to get when you ask a European too, which I don’t think should not be the case.
This negative branding affects Africans so much that everyone is ‘fleeing’ their country for Europe and America.
Whatever the case, it is our absolute task to brand and market ourselves effectively and positively. No one will love to live, invest, study or even associate with a land that doesn’t appeal to the mind and to the heart.
How can we do this?
In as much as we have problems, we need to show the positive side more often. Show the progress, the developments we are making, our large cities, our beautiful cultures and landscapes, our animals, farming, people, inventions and so much more.
When a new company sprouts, make news about it. Play beautiful music and show more positive documentaries. And whatever else that can be done.
- Content creators
This includes artists, bloggers, writers, photographers, speakers and anyone else who presents data that can be labeled as ‘African’. As you create your content and art, remember you are broadcasting and marketing Africa.
This is very tricky, because most of the tools used in Africa are imported, that is, we do not manufacture ‘anything’. This sort of heavy importing of technology actually creates a negative image about us.
How do you expect people to view you if it looks like you depend wholly on them?
If we had technology to export, it would have been a good way to market and brand ourselves. But all is not lost. We have a great chance to revive and improve technology in Africa.
Wherever you go, you carry the label of Africa. As a tourist, immigrant in another country or student studying abroad, how you act speaks for this entire continent. So keep in mind that you are our brand ambassador.
This marketing not only applies to outsiders but insiders too. We have a task of reshaping our view of our own land as we do the same with foreigners. We need to love ourselves first before anyone else loves us.
We already have bonuses like culture, wildlife, scenery, populations and others that we can readily utilize, so all we need is to step up the game.
We have all to gain when Africa becomes great in the minds of people.