The Brand in the Mirror: Frances Williams

first_imgFrances WilliamsWhose responsibility is it to change Africa’s image? Managing Brand Africa is the responsibility of all of us, says Frances Williams*, because that brand colours all of us.2nd September 2009: There’s been a lot of talk about branding lately – branding of countries and even of continents. The recent visit to Ghana by US President Barack Obama set off another debate about how Africa is perceived, both within and outside the continent, and whether Brand Africa can ever be repositioned.In the same way witnesses to the same event all have their own version of the facts, our individual experiences have an impact on how we perceive a brand, and different eyes see different things. Do we, as Africans, have a kinder view of Africa or are we all the more critical for being so? Are we so used to seeing the wide disparity between the have and have-nots in our home countries that we fail to understand just how others from more developed lands might view this?By the same token, are we so aware of all the positive things in our societies of origin, that we despair of visitors who come only to reinforce their negative perceptions?The Sum of Our ExperienceMy experience of flying British Airways will colour my perception of that brand, while the quality of a product I purchase from L’Oreal might make me question if it (or I) is ‘worth it’.Having recently returned from a visit to South Africa organised by South Africa’s brand manager, the International Marketing Council, (we’ll be sharing more from the trip in future issues) I am incredibly inspired by the energy and determination of South Africans. With a World Cup to run, everything seems to be in the process of being built or rebuilt – a visible renaissance in a nation that has been so recently reborn from its painful past.Yet, as I read articles in the British and international press about Africa, I have to wonder. If the essence of branding is the sum of how we feel about our experience of a product, it begs the question of how so many people who have never experienced a part of Africa have no qualms about contributing their views.Branding AfricaSome media, never letting facts get in the way of a good story, start with a presumption of guilt, leaving the burden on the falsely accused to protest, rebut, and finally claim a victory long after the buzz generated by the issue has died down.The African continent is a classic example of an easy target and what you are told will depend on who you ask – or don’t. For some, Africa represents a continent of hope and opportunity; for others, a place of despair and hopelessness.Good news stories are rarely allowed to emerge from Africa and that plays strongly into the perception of the continent’s brand. Distorted reports, clarified too little and too late, continue to build a picture of crime ridden, corrupt and venal countries governed by tyrants and despots. Progress is often either grudgingly noted or swiftly dismissed when compared to ‘the bigger picture’; while external spokesmen are given more credibility than those who know the continent to make or break the case for Africa.Knocking away StereotypesSo what role can we, as Africans overseas, play in changing some of the assumptions and presumptions about Brand Africa?Well, we can make a start by challenging false assumptions and knocking away negative stereotypes. Challenging ignorance, not by strident insults, but by gentle explanation and factual discourse; remembering the saying that ‘raising your voice doesn’t increase the power of your argument’.People’s experience of us as proud Africans will colour their perception of Brand Africa. Africans can’t achieve? Africans are limited? Perhaps, then, striving for excellence – right where we are – is the best way to rebut assumptions about the capabilities of people from Africa.A New BrandManaging Brand Africa is the responsibility of all of us, because that brand colours all of us. In many areas, Brand Africa has never had more good news to shout about but has also never been more in need of ambassadors to make its case.In the words of the late King of Pop, it’s time to make that change. South Africa has made a decision to protect its brand; isn’t it time the rest of Africa did the same?* Frances Williams is the Chief Executive of Interims for Development, a Human Resources and Training consultancy and Editor of ReConnect an online careers and jobs publication for African professionals around the world.Courtesy: theafronews.eulast_img read more

Merrill Lynch: Cloud Computing Market Will Reach $160 Billion…Really?

first_imgalex williams 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The estimates for cloud computing can make you wonder sometimes about what to believe. Analyst firms and it looks like investment houses, can be notorious for wild estimates about market sizes. So we have to wonder about the estimates from Merrill Lynch, which is estimating the cloud computing market to reach $160 billion by 2011.The estimate includes $95 billion in business and productivity applications. Whoa! That makes cloud computing one of the fastest growing markets in the world.But Merrill Lynch is not alone in its lofty estimates. Earlier this year, Gartner pegged the market at $150 billion by 2013. In their estimate, Gartner included Google Ad Words estimates in their estimates. This seems sketchy at best. Here’s what Gartner analyst Lydia Leong wrote back in May:“Obviously, one argue whether or not it’s valid to include advertising revenue, but a key point that should not be missed is that in the trend towards the consumerization of IT, it is the advertiser that often implicitly pays for the consumer’s use of an IT service, rather than the consumer himself. Advertising revenue is a significant component of the overall market, part of the “cloud” phenomenon even if you don’t necessarily think of it as “computing”.What’s at risk is making cloud computing totally irrelevant. How can corporate IT departments make sense of the market when it appears that cloud computing is essentially tied to anything connected to the Internet?But then you need to look at the dynamics in play. IT is built on legacy systems, custom, built to order environments. Cloud computing provides a level of automation. From the PriceWaterhouseCoopers summer Technology Forecast:“Legacy IT soaks up much of the available IT budget and is a primary barrier to IT responsiveness and overall business agility.”The report goes on to say that cloud will be necesssary for automating the world of IT:“…IT must adopt an architecture that creates loose coupling between the IT infrastructure and application workloads. It also must modernize and automate IT’s own internal business processes for provisioning, managing, and orchestrating infrastructure resources.”In other words, cloud computing will be huge but to call it a $160 billion market seems like a form of hype that can lead to all kinds of issues. It’s almost reminiscent of the dot-com bubble. And look what happened there. Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#cloud Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Chris Ross credits teammates: ‘Everyone was up to the task’

first_imgLOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Chris Ross. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netChris Ross was back to his old self Friday night in San Miguel’s 111-102 win after his worst performance of the series in Game 4 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.The freshly-minted Best Player of the Conference finished with 10 points, 11 assists, five steals, and four rebounds to help the Beermen move within a win of ending their drought in the mid-season conference.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Eager to contribute, Santos wills San Miguel to comeback win View commentscenter_img LATEST STORIES Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ What ‘missteps’? But San Miguel first had to recover from a lackluster showing made worse by TNT’s hot shooting in the first half, where it trailed by 61-46, at halftime.“We have a really great discussion at halftime,” he said. “We know we didn’t play good basketball in the first half. We just told everyone to dig deep, find that championship spirit that we know we have, and luckily – I don’t know if it’s a switch or sense of desperation, we came out in the third quarter and locked down defensively, picked the pressure up, and it went our way.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsArwind Santos changed the complexion of the game for the Beermen in the second half, dropping 14 points in the period as the rest of the team buckled down on defense.Ross praised their team captain’s efforts in shutting down the hot-shooting Ranidel de Ocampo in the next two periods, saying, “Arwind came out and he was amazing for us. He stuck on Ranidel, made some big shots, kind of turn the tide for us.” Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games “They always say the first game is hard and the closeout game is the hardest. We know that those guys are not gonna lay down. Every game has been a battle,” he said. “We gonna try to get as much rest as possible, look at film, see where what went wrong when they went up by 15 and try to correct those things, and come out for battle on Sunday.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next San Miguel continued to control the pace, speeding up the game with June Mar Fajardo on the bench.Ross said that the way the team played is a testament on the caliber the players the Beermen have, that even though the three-time PBA MVP is on the bench, the team can still hold their own against the best of the opposing team.“I mean, we’re a pretty deep team, and we have a lot of guys that can play, lot of guys that are really talented,” he said. “Even if June Mar sits down, Arwind can fill in. It’s just like we’re playing all-Filipino. We’re used to that, we have four shooters on the outside and one big man and it makes us quicker defensively. Even without June Mar out there, I think everyone was up to the task and when June Mar is in there, we got to figure out some ways for him to be productive for us.”Now owning a 3-2 series lead, San Miguel has a golden chance to wrap up the series on Sunday.However, Ross expects TNT to give its all for Game 6, noting that the hardest game of any series is always the clincher.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more