Zimbabwe’s brand architecture after the downfall of Mugabe through the ‘soft’ coup of 15 November 2017 is hard to define.
The replacement of Robert Mugabe after the seizure by the military and his erstwhile Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, contributed to the weakening of an already fragile brand.
Enduring, albeit National Brands are naturally a representation of order strengthened by the consolidation of democratic ethos and values.
This explains why the new President is struggling to take brand Zimbabwe on a new and acceptable trajectory.
Zimbabwe, post-Mugabe is facing an existential crisis of creating a brand promise and accompanying experience.
This is because the leaders assumed office through force and power seizure rather than through constitutional means.
The result of which is supposed to create a social contract, as both the promise by leadership and the ‘experience’ citizens and national stakeholders are supposed to enjoy.
If managed well, the impending 2018 general election is supposed to deal with this dilemma. However, it has become common knowledge that foreign powers like Britain and the European Union seem keen use the electoral process to launder the coup.
This will only serve to delay the resolution of the brand crisis of legitimacy and credibility.
It is for the benefit of Brand Zimbabwe if the internal stakeholders engage extensively and build consensus on the electoral conditions that will lead to the plebiscite so that there won’t be any dispute on the outcome.
Yet, the prevailing situation is that of an incumbent bent on pleasing outside forces rather than complementing internal stakeholders in building an enduring brand.
We need to examine three major national branding indicators in order assess where Brand Zimbabwe stands after Mugabe’s rule.
After Mugabe, the new regime seems to be struggling to define a ‘big idea’ that unites the people of Zimbabwe.
This has seen the new leaders running around the globe, like proverbial headless chickens, riding on a rather hollow concept: ‘Zimbabwe is open for Business.’
This is a very weak idea, for lack of better phraseology.
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