International Marketing Council 2008/09 Budget, Strategic Plan & Priorities

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13 May 2008
Chairperson: Mr I Vadi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The International Marketing Council looked at key strategic shifts as well as international and domestic campaigns that focused on changing mindsets and reinforcing patriotism and optimism. The organisation discussed challenges that they faced and briefly looked at their three-year spending plan.

Members asked for clarity on why the former CEO of the International Marketing Councilhad resigned from the organisation. The new requirement by the ANC that non-executive board members of public entities must be present was criticised by the Democratic Alliance. This was in reference to the IMC team being sent away the previous week as only one such board member was present. The purpose of board members at oversight meetings was discussed as was the perceived overlap and relationship between the International Marketing Council and South African Tourism. Members were concerned that South Africa was being marketed too forcefully in Africa.

Meeting report

Adoption of SABC Report
The Chair addressed the Committee stating that Members were to see if the Report accurately captured what had happened in the meeting with the SABC.

Mr R Pieterse (ANC) stated that the report was clear and therefore there was no need to debate it.

The Chair referred to the Report and clarified with Members that the Chairperson of the SABC Board was delegated the task of investigating the leak of the memorandum and not the Deputy Chairperson of the Board.

Mr S Nxumalo (ANC) agreed that only the Chairperson of the SABC Board was mandated by the Committee to investigate the leak.

The correction to the Report was made.

Mr Pieterse stated that the ANC had adopted the Report with the slight correction.

Ms D Smuts (DA) stated that the Democratic Alliance wanted to note an objection to the Report.

The Chair noted the objection. He announced that the Report would be tabled in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Report (ATC) and that it was scheduled for debate in the House on the 22nd May 2008.

Mr Pieterse said that it was his understanding that the Report was to be adopted on the basis of what transpired in the meeting.

Ms Smuts disagreed, saying that Mr Pieterse was to look at the recommendations.

The Chair stated that the Committee was not to argue, as a debate would be held in the House where the different political parties would vote on it.

Briefing by the International Marketing Council (IMC)
Mr Moeketsi Mosola (Acting CEO) informed Members of the International Marketing Council’s achievements for 2007/08, in both international and domestic marketing. International achievements included 2418 TV spots on CNBC and CNN, 100 branded London taxis, translating the South African story in to seven languages and launching the Global South Africans project in the USA and UK. Domestic achievements included messaging and branding alignments with the provinces, the 2010 National Communications Partnership conference and launching the Brand Champion, “We’ve done it before” and “Moments of Pride” campaigns.

The IMC was allocated funds to the amount of R111 million. This was budgeted between global marketing, domestic marketing, personnel, admin and other expenses. The IMC aligned with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Foreign Affairs and South African Tourism priority markets to target places such as China, India, the UK, Brazil and Africa.

Strategic objectives for 2008-2010 included increasing knowledge of SA as a viable destination for trade and industry, integrating marketing of core clusters and industries in key markets, mobilising South Africans living abroad so that they market SA, engaging with key media and mobilising potential tourists to put SA in the consideration set. Domestic objectives for 2008-2010 included sustaining efforts to build pride and patriotism, proactive engagements and partnerships with key media, forming strategic partnerships with leaders and key decision makers, and coordinating Brand South Africa domestic marketing and mobilisation efforts.

Key strategic shifts included increasing the allocation of resources to the East, increasing the focus on domestic mobilisation, enhancing resources for domestic media management and developing a crisis management communications strategy with key stakeholders.

International campaigns focused on changing people’s mindsets while domestic campaigns aimed at reinforcing patriotism, pride and optimism. International campaigns included “Invest in SA” and the Media Club launch. Domestic campaigns included “We’ve done it before”, “Movement for good” and “Stories of ordinary South Africans doing extraordinary things”.

The IMC experienced internal and external challenges. They explained that they had a large mandate and a small budget, which posed challenges. However, they were building and maintaining capacity to fulfil objectives and they were developing and motivating their staff. The IMC had little control over “who delivered the brand” and had to deal with perceptions created by external events and media coverage. The key challenge would be to create an alignment of key stakeholders.

The three-year spending plan focused on the global marketing and mobilisation programme, the domestic mobilisation programme and the support programme. The three-year plan also focused on projects that included, domestic mobilisation, global marketing and the media club.    

Ms Smuts (DA) referring to the 7 May incident when the IMC team had been sent away by the Committee as the ANC objected to there being only one IMC board member present. She wanted clarity on the ANC’s new policy of having non-executive board members present at meetings. She asked why the ANC had implemented this policy only to have very few ANC Committee Members present at the meeting.

She also wanted clarity on the former IMC CEO, Ms Yvonne Johnston, who had resigned from the IMC. The IMC seemed to be marketing Mr Jacob Zuma, the new ANC president. Ms Smuts expressed concern at this, as Mr Zuma was not yet elected as the President of South Africa. It seemed as if the IMC was straying from its role. She wanted to know who paid for Mr Zuma’s international visits and why the IMC was involved in governance issues, as they were straying beyond marketing and into politics.

The Chair explained the purpose of having board members present at meetings. Board members were to be present so that the Committee could get a sense of what the organisation’s thoughts and dynamics were. Organisations could bring as many members as their budget would allow. Also, this was the only opportunity that Members had to engage with board members of the various entities that presented to the Committee. Board members did not have to come to every event, but certainly to meetings where important reports were being presented.

Mr Ajay Gupta (IMC Board member) addressed the issue concerning Ms Johnston’s resignation. He stated that there were still a few issues that needed to be resolved.

Mr Phindile Nzimande (IMC Board member) assured Ms Smuts that the IMC’s mandate did not include politics and that the IMC had never paid for Mr Zuma’s international trips.

Mr Mosola stated that there were six variables that were important in marketing a brand, however, the IMC only focused on three: trade, investment and tourism.

Mr Pieterse wondered if it was possible for those who left South Africa and were living in other countries to stay there and promote South Africa in their current places of residence.

Adv P Swart wanted to know how board members saw the resignation of Ms Johnston unfold. He was concerned with marketing South Africa in Africa, as South Africa was losing its popularity in Africa and was seen as a “bully”. The IMC needed to look at the possibility of being less forceful when branding South Africa in Africa. Also, many South Africans living in other countries had a negative perception of South Africa. He asked the IMC if there was a strategic plan in place to counter these negative views of South Africa.

The Chair stated that it was not fair to expect IMC staff members to comment on the former CEO’s resignation. The Committee would meet with them in a different capacity to discuss the matter.

Mr Mosola answered that the IMC was involved in a Global Citizens Campaign that said that there was no such thing as an ex-South African, as South Africans were free to live wherever they liked. The campaign aimed at feeding people with positive news and messages about South Africa so that they would tell others positive things about the country.

Ms M Morutoa (ANC) asked if the IMC involved communities and educated them about branding.

Mr Mosola replied that the IMC was involved in a campaign that appealed to South Africans to get more involved in their country. This campaign would be shown in all the official languages. The IMC would use radio and television as the means to inspire South Africans.

The Chair wanted to know what the relationship was between IMC and South African Tourism. He asked if there was duplication in their activities. He also wondered why the IMC placed so much emphasis on domestic marketing when their role was international marketing.

Mr Gupta stated that there were changes in South Africa’s situation and therefore there were new challenges. Their mandate was international marketing, however, the IMC also focused a little on the domestic market.

Mr Nzimande informed the Committee that the IMC and South African Tourism were both instructed to look at whether there was a possible overlap in their mandates. A review of the roles of the two organisations would be conducted and adjustments would be made accordingly.

Mr Mosola stated that there was some overlapping in the their duties. However, the two organisations would ensure that their duties would be neatly aligned. There had always been a good relationship between the two bodies.

Mr Mosola explained that there was only a 5% shift towards domestic marketing. The IMC still allocated more than 50% of their budget toward international marketing. The IMC had to spend some funds on the domestic market to prepare the country for the statements that they were making abroad. If the IMC was marketing South Africa as a warm and friendly country, then they had to create that kind of environment in South Africa. 

The Chair commented that marketing South Africa resulted in unintended consequences. The more South Africa was marketed, the more immigrants were coming in to the country.

Mr Pieterse commented that there was a negative perception that refugees equated crime.

Mr Mosola said that this was an area where the IMC could use the Committee’s guidance. The IMC needed leadership from Members as to how the organisation was to conduct itself when branding South Africa in Africa, as the IMC often received complaints from tourists coming from Africa who said that they were treated badly while visiting South Africa.

The meeting was adjourned.


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