April 12, 2020

South African government is confusing its brand

South African government brand confusion

On Thursday, April 9, the president of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa announced that we would be locked down for an additional 14 days until the end of May.

I watched part of his speech on YouTube.

I went to the president’s Twitter account to see what the reaction to the news would be and found this …

Is this an anomaly? Surely the President of the Republic of South Africa should be first and President of the African National Conference should be second? Or is that just me?

Curiosity got the better of me and I went to the deputy president of South Africa, David Mabuza’s Twitter account …

Then I went to …

Clearly not an anomaly then.

The narrative changes it’s complexion somewhat below which is more encouraging when it comes to intent and action in terms of putting all South Africans first.

No Brand Uniformity

I checked out a bunch of other ministers’ Twitter profiles and they’re all over the show. It is apparent that brand uniformity is not high on the agenda (I suppose with our many challenges, why should it be?).

There are a number of conclusions one can come to:

  • The more cynical of us would say that the four top examples indicate the real intent of the ANC. Party first, country second. If this is the case, then no amount of motherhood statements about pulling together and caring for the nation will be taken seriously.
  • Cynics would say that the ANC really does only care about the 10-million+ voters and their families who voted ANC in 2019. If you’re not in the ANC church, then you are excommunicated and exiled to the second class benches. That’s fine if that’s the policy (us and them), just don’t pretend otherwise.
  • The public relations arm of the ministry is not up to a scratch from a branding perspective. All the ministers’ profiles should have a uniformity to them. I would suggest that it should be South Africa first, party second.

I jump between cynical and positive. I’m going to give the benefit of doubt and say that a mediocre government communications team has dropped the branding ball and hasn’t constructed a uniform message and that there’s no partisan bias.

Take your brand seriously

Whatever your thoughts on the issue (or non-issue … seriously, Jacques, you worrying about branding when we have a global pandemic on our hands … get a life buddy), don’t lose the lesson.

Have a look at your own messaging. Do you say one thing, but mean another? Are you mouthing motherhoods but you don’t really mean them? Are you putting you first and your customer second? Are you putting you first and your employees second?

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

Francis of Assisi

One Comment on “South African government is confusing its brand

[…] you already know, the President of the African National Congress, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that we’d be extending the lockdown by 14 days until the end […]


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