As the first project in its new GeoBranding Center, the Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMOC) is partnering with South Africa to measure the impacts of the country’s branding efforts and co-sponsor a crowd-sourcing advertising contest leading up to the FIFA World Cup tournament this summer.
The council is forming the GeoBranding Center as a global knowledge resource center dedicated to the marketing of countries, destinations, places of origin, attractions, venues and locations. Geobranding experts and marketers will be invited to contribute insights, opinions, case studies and best practices, and a series of research initiatives will explore the impact of campaigns using B-to-C and B-to-B digital and traditional advertising and marketing campaigns. The center’s microsite will launch March 15.
South Africa’s investment of billions to host this year’s World Cup football tournament (June 11-July 11) and the country’s story of rapidly growing tourism, trade and economic development success represented a prime inaugural opportunity to deploy the new GeoBranding Center’s resources, says CMOC executive director Donovan Neale-May.
Working with the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMCSA), which is responsible for defining and shaping the country’s image throughout the world, the GeoBranding Center will use PR Newswire’s worldwide monitoring to track and conduct monthly analyses on the tone, sentiment and prevalence of social media conversations, commentary and news about South Africa throughout the world leading up to the tournament.
The basic goal, says Neale-May, is to evaluate how the interaction and content/tone of billions of social media interactions influence country perception. Key determinants of the nation-branding value created by the event and the marketing surrounding it will include effective message management and clarity of brand positioning relative to the visitor/player experience, global media attention and viral online community conversations/content sharing, he points out.
“With the world’s eyes upon it as host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa is seeking to establish itself as a competitive and relevant nation brand,” said IMCSA CEO Paul Bannister. “We’re excited about the potential for social media channels to generate greater discourse and narrative about our brand from people who have experienced or researched our special place in the world.”
At the same time, the two councils are launching an open, global advertising contest, called “Get Wildly Creative About South Africa.” People ranging from current and aspiring creative professionals to digital media buffs to South African citizens, expatriates and visitors/tourists are being encouraged to come up with fresh, evocative and inspiring messages conveying the spirit of “a country that has gone from tragedy to triumph in less than two decades,” in Neale-May’s words.
The contest is being hosted on the “people-inspired” advertising platform Zooppa.com, and interest and participation will be driven through viral communications, online conversations, blog postings and cyber chatter. The Zooppa contest center provides entry information, a creative brief on the assignment, and links to South African resources.
Cash and prizes donated by SA Tourism, in-country partners and creative technology solution providers will be awarded to the top submissions within each category, including best print campaign, best online banner campaign and best video segment or commercial.
Winners will have their work showcased globally to the CMO Council’s 5,000 members (who control more than $150 billion in annual marketing spend) and recognized at an IMC-hosted reception in New York City in early June. They will also win trip packages courtesy of SA Tourism and other travel, hospitality, lodging and merchandise partners in South Africa.
Overall, says Neale-May, the contest should benefit IMCSA by putting at its disposal a wealth of “democratically” generated ideas and creative to inform its “Brand South Africa” marketing plans and efforts going forward.