Is ‘Brand Ghana’ agenda on course?

‘Brand-CON Africa’
Daniel Amateye ANIM

On February 7, 2022, the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) organised the first of its kind ‘Brand-CON Africa’ at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra. It was an event that brought together brands and marketing professionals from all critical sectors of the economy. Indeed, it was an insightful and very impactful moment. The experienced panellists took their time to share professional perspectives on the theme ‘Celebrating Versatility and Innovative in the midst of a pandemic’. Immediately after the event, I started thinking and considering how we can brand the country in order to position it competitively within the sub-region as the gateway to Africa.

In fact, the phenomenon and practice of branding has been in existence for the past 1000 years. However, the 21st century globally competitive economic and business environment has witnessed the efficacy and power of branding in both the corporate and national domain. It is against this score that leaders and managers should ensure a brand represents the company image, personality, characteristics and core competencies.  Indeed, with the help of a strong brand firms can motivate the customers and have a strong influence on the market; hence spreading its tentacles beyond focusing on competition and target markets.

The essence of this article is to suggest ways by which ‘Brand Ghana’ can be strategically positioned on the global landscape for the benefit of all citizens. But before finally focusing on ‘Brand Ghana’, it is the view of this writer to walk you through some theoretical perspectives. Clifton et al. (2003) stipulates that the word ‘brand’ comes from the Old Norse ‘brandr’, meaning to burn, and from these origins made its way into Anglo-Saxon. In fact, burning was one of the ways by which early-man stamped ownership on his livestock; and with the development of trade, buyers would use brands as a means of distinguishing between the cattle of one farmer and another.

The critical question people often ask is, “what is a brand?” Angus (2004) defined ‘brand’ as a name, term, sign, symbol or design – or a combination of them all, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiate them from those of competitors.

Brand Equity

Ying (2005) stated that a company’s brand equity relates to the attitudes and associations wide stakeholders have of a company, as opposed to those of an individual product. According to Chernatony and McDonald (1992), brand equity is about the perceived unique benefits brands offer consumers that give them their value-adding potential and enable them to sustain a price premium over their commodity form. In simple terms, brand equity is the added value that firms derive from building and owning brands. It is instructive to state that firms must invest in enhancing and consolidating their brands so as to fully derive the future economic benefits associated with it.

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is defined as a rudimentary level of brand knowledge involving, at the least, recognition of the brand name. Awareness represents the lowest end of a continuum of brand knowledge that ranges from simple recognition of the brand name to a highly developed cognitive structure based on detailed information.

According to Aaker (1991), there are three levels of brand awareness:

  • Brand recognition: Is the ability of consumers to identify a certain brand among other.
  • Brand recall: This is a situation whereby a consumer is expected to name a brand in a product class.
  • Top of mind: This is referred to as the first brand that a consumer can recall among a given class of products or services.

Brand Association

Brand associations may be defined broadly as anything that reminds a person of the brand. They are the impressions and images which consumers have of a brand. Brand associations are usually derived by consumers from two main sources. In the first instance, consumption communications about the brand from both the brand managers and elsewhere provide the main source of brand associations. Secondly, the consumption of a brand can result in a consumer developing a new set of brand associations. This association will invariably determine whether a consumer repurchases the product or not.

Brand Loyalty

Post-consumption associations motivate consumers to want to repeat a consumption experience. Furthermore, it is through repeated consumption that not only is the unique quality of the item confirmed, but also its consistency is assured. De Chernatony and McDonald (1992) states that the aim of branding is to facilitate the firm’s task of getting and maintaining a loyal customer base in a cost-effective manner, in order to achieve as high a return on investment as possible. Holt (2004) suggests the strongest type of brand that will ensure customer loyalty is one demonstrating brand paternalism, trust, commitment, love and adoration.

Brand Ghana: Are we on course?

The Brand Ghana office was established in 2009 by the late President John Evans Atta Mills, in a quest to brand the country in a manner that will attract investment and also position it competitively as the best choice for the international business community. In view of this, the office was mandated to present the country to the outside world in terms of its values, heritage, socio-economic and political environment.

It is my utmost belief that ‘Brand Ghana’ is a progressive strategy capable of enhancing the country’s image, and as well help drive tourism and investment generally. Unfortunately, in my candid opinion I have not seen any aggressive approach from the Brand Ghana office in terms of pushing through the aforementioned objectives. It is therefore my sincere belief that if the right resources are channeled into the office, they should be able to deliver on their mandate successfully.

We can pick a few lessons from the Republic of Rwanda. In my view, they have been successful in branding their country. Rwanda is strongly emerging as a destination for businesses from across the world. Anyway, let’s focus on how we can brand Ghana better by reconsidering the following:

  • The Black Stars of Ghana: Senior National Team

The senior national team, the Black Stars of Ghana is a huge brand that ought to be considered from an economic perspective. Apart from the fact that the Black Stars’ high performance bring joy many Ghanaians, it can be used to brand the country and position it competitively for economic gains.

I had the opportunity of travelling outside the country’s jurisdiction, and the only way people could easily identify Ghana was through the Black Stars. References were made to our incredible performance at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the performance of some players in Europe.

It is against this background that I am calling on the Brand Ghana Office to liaise with the Ghana Football Association to devise strategy by ensuring the right investments are made into our football – more importantly, the Black Stars of Ghana.

  • Boxing

Boxing has contributed significantly in making the nation known in the global sporting landscape. The likes of former world champions David Kotei – ‘D.K. Poison’, Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Nana Konadu, Joshua Clottey, Joseph Agbeko etc. have really projected the image of Ghana globally. I interacted with one diplomat who told me she knew about the country years ago through Professor Azumah Nelson. This is a clear manifestation that we can use boxers to re-position ‘Brand Ghana’.


We have so much that we can leverage on to brand Ghana, such as our political stability, sports, notable historical tourists sites, culture and heritage etc. We need to devise the right approach and strategy; appropriate resources should be invested into the ‘Brand Ghana Agenda’. Let’s work hard to make Ghana a better place for the citizens and others.

>>>The writer is a Development Economist and Chartered Business Consultant. Daniel is the Chief Economist at the Policy Initiative for Economic Development. He also the Director of Research and Analysis, B&FT. He can be reached on email: [email protected]. Tel; 0244 476376/ 0201939350

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