/ 15 February 2006

Branding South Africa

Manana Moroka took up the position of CEO of Proudly South African from November 1 last year. She took the reins when the company was on a back foot — it had lost about 2,8% of its membership in less than a year and was accused by business of not delivering on promises.

What will you bring that is different to the Proudly South African brand?
As CEO I will be contributing my fair share of management, executive, strategic and marketing expertise and commitment to excellence. I believe that my experience at the Department of Trade and Industry, in local government, the private sector and in the marketing milieu in general gives me the edge in understanding the challenges of brand development. Phase A of the Proudly South African campaign focused on general awareness. In Phase B, from where I will be continuing, there will be an added dimension — educating the public about South African products and services and in doing so also promoting pride in our own and a culture of buying South African … and confirming that the quality of these products and services are on a par with the best in the world … This will be achieved through outreach programmes and below-the-line marketing, targeting specific niche markets and consumers in general.

Which sector of the economy has bought most voraciously into the Proudly South African brand?
All sectors across the board have actually shown support for the brand.

Does your previous job as deputy director general of marketing at the Department of Trade and Industry give you a sympathetic ear in the government?
I do believe that my experience in business and marketing provide a competitive edge. As President Thabo Mbeki said in his State of the Nation address last Friday, building a winning, proudly South African nation is a national priority.

Proudly South African was on the back foot when you took over — it had lost about 2,8% of its membership in less than a year and it was accused by business of not delivering on promises to present business opportunities and boost marketing efforts. Were these valid criticisms?
Experience worldwide has shown that establishing and sustaining a brand of this nature can be a daunting challenge. I am of the opinion that Proudly South African has done well under the circumstances, but obviously there is always room for improvement.

How much does Proudly South African earn a year from membership fees?
About R15-million. Members are charged 0,1% of their annual turnover. The minimum amount is R500 and the maximum is R500 000. Businesses that are less than a year old are charged 0,005% of their annual turnover. NGOs are charged R500 a year and local and provincial governments pay R10 000 a year.

About 60% of your annual revenue is spent on membership and marketing activities. Please can you detail what these activities are?
Besides our communication and marketing infrastructure, which we use continuously, initiatives such as the Proudly South African week and the Homegrown Awards have been developed to achieve Proudly South African’s strategic goals.

Of the 480Â 000 registered companies in South African, what percentage has bought into the Proudly South African brand?
Our mandate is to establish at least one brand in each production category, which carries the Proudly South African trademark.

More broadly, what specific difference do women bring to business?
In my view, competence, professionalism, experience packed by the appropriate training and people skills are generic prerequisites for success in any business environment, irrespective of one’s gender. That is what I am offering in my new position.