Building a country’s reputation to be an aspirational investment and tourist destination can be hard to crack. Online searches play a big part in shaping the perception tourists, investors and potential residents hold.
‘The Digital Country,’ a concept brought to life by the branding practitioner, Filipe Torres, at the recent IPRA Annual Conference is defined as, “A country or a place that has triggered proactive interest from different Stakeholders towards that Country or that Place in the Digital World.”
The recipe to building a digital country involves consistent, responsible and proactive actions, paired with communication and authentic stories, leveraged through online platforms. However, the responsibility required to change the narrative of a country, lies with its people. It is up to South Africans to change the narrative on South Africa.
Despite the discernments about South Africa, a country previously perceived as one littered with corrupt leadership, high crime rates and incapable of hosting global large-scale events, the country has become an active brand, seeking new policies to improve its reputation.
In 2010, South Africa became the first country on the African continent to host the FIFA World Cup and successfully made an event of great magnitude its own. Stadiums were built on time, police enforcements in the city kept tourists safe, public transport was revamped and the air was filled with enthusiasm and national pride.
Successfully delivering the FIFA World Cup garnered a significant amount of positive publicity and helped change perceptions of South Africa. The country is increasingly depicted as one which can deliver on its promises. It has been positioned as one of the best tourist destinations and can be closely aligned with other emerging economies highlighting it as an attractive investment in global investors across various markets.
Riding on the back of the legacy of the FIFA World Cup, South Africa has been afforded the opportunity to host one of the world’s premier sporting events – The 2022 Commonwealth Games – which is an opportunity that needs to be taken with both hands.
Written By Kelli Knutsen
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