Diverse and experienced new IMC Board united in its determination to promote the country and build its brand in 2010, South Africa’s milestone year.21 January 2010, Johannesburg: The recently appointed new Board of the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) is determined to ensure that South Africans buy into and live the brand promise made in the country’s international marketing campaign – in order to achieve national economic growth.This is the assurance given by IMC Board Chairperson, Ms Anitha Soni, who says the new Board will reinvigorate the nation branding effort to position South Africa as an attractive destination and partner for tourism, trade and investment, and to help the country realise its international relations objectives.Ms Soni chairs a Board of Trustees that was appointed to a three-year term late in 2009 and whose composition reflects both Government and the IMC’s belief that diversity and expertise is a winning combination.Ms Anitha Soni is a highly accomplished tourism specialist, award-winning businesswoman and was Deputy Chairperson of the first Tourism BEE Charter Council.The Board comprises 12 independent members, nine provincial and three government representatives. The members were selected for their business acumen, expertise in areas such as tourism, local economic development, communication and marketing, sports and their proven contribution to the wellbeing and upliftment of South African society.Members’ skills mix and vast experience gained in the private and public sectors enhance the Board’s ability to take the South Africa brand promise, “Alive with Possibility” to reality.“The IMC Board of Trustees is honoured to be given an opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to our Nation Brand. We are committed to fulfilling the organisation’s revised mandate and leveraging our cumulative strengths and expertise effectively,” says Soni.Soni says the IMC is mandated to build a national brand which positions South Africa as the country to attract tourism, trade and investment as well as to realise its international relations objectives.“Building South Africa’s reputation in the international arena must be done with the overriding purpose of national economic growth in mind. To market South Africa successfully, and to achieve the growth objective, it is important to establish a link between the brand promise and its fulfilment.This can only be done if two conditions are met – the IMC has to reflect the will of the country, and the Council must ensure it obtains citizen buy-in on the brand promise. Only if these conditions are fulfilled will we be able to effect performance delivery on a national basis.Over the past seven years the IMC has done valuable work to engender the necessary alignment. The members of the new Board have the know-how and experience to give even greater impetus to this process to the benefit of Brand South Africa. The composition of the Board in terms of independent members and provincial representatives will also prove invaluable,” says Soni.Leadership diversity“Diversity drives results,” says Soni. “Diverse backgrounds and perspectives enrich the work and enhance an organisation’s ability to succeed. It is imperative to entrench such diversity in the leadership structure.The composition of the Board makes provision for remarkable diversity across a number of factors, ranging from gender to experience in applicable fields. “Contributing to Leadership developmentPresident Zuma, in appointing the Board, also recognised the wealth of leadership in our country. A number of the Board members have proven their bona fides by not only surviving as entrepreneurs by holding their own in successful businesses. Sandile Zungu is recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and Chichi Maponya heads up one of South Africa’s proud business successes. Lucas Radebe represents the development and leadership of sports and has held football captain positions both locally and internationally. Similarly other Board members have made a contribution to the success of our country. We believe that engaging these fresh, young, and vibrant leaders will serve to deliver on, and, sustain South Africa’s brand profile. We also want to see this reflected within the executive team at the IMC. Our leadership collateral in the country must be tapped into to progress our country’s growth objectives.While there is much diversity and quality leadership amongst the Board, there is also a common denominator, and this is the passion the members have for their country.”Comment from Mr. Collins Chabane on Ms. Soni’s appointmentThe Presidency has welcomed Ms. Soni’s appointment as Chairperson, saying her extensive experience and passion for South Africa makes her ideal for the Chairpersonship. “Through her action orientated approach she has become known for her strategic expertise, her ability to implement and for producing innovative and workable solutions,” says Mr. Collins Chabane, Minister in the Presidency.“Ms. Soni has contributed substantially to the development of policy, locally and in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Her work includes developing the tourism White Paper for South Africa, designing and implementing the initial tourism enterprise programme, marketing strategies for SADC countries and the framework for the SADC Univisa programme. She has also developed the Tourism Human Resources Development Plan for the Government of Mozambique,” says Chabane.Determining prioritiesSoni says the Board is firmly focused on optimising South Africa’s investment in two major global events – the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2010.“President Zuma has indicated that 2010 marks South Africa’s most important year since 1994. The World Cup has led to a resurgence of national pride. The IMC has locked into this pride and has launched a number of exciting and robust initiatives which will contribute to growing 2010’s brand capital potential. We will continue to mobilise the nation until the final whistle blows,” says Soni.Looking beyond the World Cup, the IMC will re-launch Brand South Africa with a competitive value proposition which will reflect the recommendations of the Vision 2025 process (a national long-term plan), the values embedded in the Constitution and the DNA of the Nation Brand.