HomeOpinion & AnalysisThe brand Bulawayo

The brand Bulawayo

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I AM in awe of the positive feedback that I continue to receive on Brand Savvy, the latest being from a professor in the United States who indicated that I should consider writing a marketing book with real Zimbabwean examples given what we have gone through business-wise as a country.

He indicated that it would be resourceful in the marketing field worldwide. I suppose it is not entirely impossible. I have spoken to my friend and fellow columnist Nonto Masuku.

Who knows we may just consider it: Marketing — A Zimbabwean Perspective! With all the support and feedback we are getting it could work!

Today’s article was supposed to continue with the laws of branding, but I decided to take a break from those to concentrate on brand Bulawayo, the land of my birth.

If my memory serves me well from what I have read, Bulawayo is turning a grand and majestic 120 years this year. I believe that this is a milestone that should have been widely publicised (or did I miss it somewhere) to bring awareness and possibly to draw the country as a whole to stop and consider brand Bulawayo.

City branding is a process that should be worked upon as if one were working on a commercial brand.

Just like brands, cities evolve and therefore strategists should consider constantly monitoring the brand with the hope of rebranding to revitalise the brand if need be.

Bulawayo is undoubtedly a formidable brand, one whose equity all in Zimbabwe must be interested in restoring.

In order for a city to be considered a brand and for it to function well, key fundamental properties have to be worked on.

These fundamental properties include but are not limited to;

  • Offering attractive employment,
  • Not to be unduly expensive in relation to wages,
  • Providing good and affordable housing,
  • Having reasonable public transportation,
  • Having good schools,
  • Having good recreational and cultural attractions.

Back in the day, I was the first female junior town clerk, (taking over from Chris Maroleng who is the anchor of Africa 360 and Head of Department Africa eNews Channel Africa) of a city that was majestic and grand in its stature.

Even as the junior city councillors we were so proud to be a part of Bulawayo.

Just the City Hall commanded so much respect with all the gardens that used to be lush and green.

I am reliably informed that the Bulawayo City Council generated its own income from the beer halls it operated.

From the profits recreational parks, roads and council facilities such as schools were put up.

This fell away when the government started taxing production at the breweries and eventually profits were diminished.

The breweries were then privatised leaving Bulawayo to rely on rate earnings only.

While I am not suggesting that brand Bulawayo goes back to earn its income through recovering the beer halls as this is against my belief, what I suggest is that to revive brand Bulawayo maybe it would be wise to look at the systems and strategies that worked then and draw experiences from there for formulating new strategies.

For a city to be considered a good brand, its functionality has to be considered. Bulawayo is good for its proximity to some of Zimbabwe’s major attractions such as the Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park and Matopos Hills, among others.

It is also home to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. It is easily accessible by road, rail and air.

We have a beautiful airport which I am reliably informed can safely handle a plane as big as an Airbus 380.

Why am I saying all this? Well it is to remind all concerned that Bulawayo is in fact, a formidable brand that needs to be revitalised as it does have a specific brand identity given its history, attractions, demographics, economics and tourism.

We all have a duty to preserve brand Bulawayo and help it grow from strength to strength and as it comes of age, we must wish it every success in its endeavours.

Till next week keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy.

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