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South Africa - the “brand”

South Africa - the “brand”

The relationship between country brands and the products and services those countries produce is complex, and changes over time. When a country and its brands represent consistent qualities and values, they lend one another credibility, and there is a multiplier effect for both.


Think of Germany and BMW; both represent elegance, performance and prestige. BMW is intrinsically German, and Germany is synonymous with BMW. The same could be said for France and Chanel, and perhaps the US and Levi’s, or Japan and Sony. In each case, the brand and the country are part of a virtuous cycle, a symbiotic relationship.


Brands can both shape and be shaped by perceptions of their country of origin. Japan in the 1970s was known as a cheap manufacturing base, but is now respected as a world leader for quality electronics and technology thanks largely to brands like Sony and Toyota. South Korea has taken a similar path, with Samsung and Hyundai demonstrating to the world what modern South Korea can deliver, and has created a halo effect improving consumer attitudes in international markets to favor other Korean brands.


In a relatively short time, China has shifted perceptions from being seen as the world’s high-volume but at times precarious production house, to a powerhouse of entrepreneurship and innovation, particularly in digital technology. This is partly because of government strategy and a rebalancing of the Chinese economy, but also due to the ambassadorial role of some of China’s leading export brands, such as Haier, Huawei and Alibaba.


South Africa’s uniqueness, distinctiveness and sense of adventure attracts Europeans, Asians and Americans and has done so for many years. South Africa established itself as the epitome of change and peaceful transformation as it emerged from a dark social history of division, into a vibrant and energetic country ready to take its place in the world, with a culture all its own.

Brand “South Africa” offers global consumers an eclectic blend of the exotic and adventurous, mixed with a young and charismatic “up and coming” attitude. It attracts millennials and post-millenials to visit, study, and start their careers amidst a fast-paced environment in which the hottest brands of the world compete.

South Africa has shown the world the true meaning of mobility, virtually leapfrogging the world in its digital transformation, where everything is done on the move. No wonder South Africa is ranked in the world’s top quartile as a “mover”.


About Cultural Rankings


The BrandAsset® Valuator (BAV) is a study of consumer brand perceptions, measuring brands on imagery and equity dimensions in a category-agnostic fashion. By understanding and exploring a brand against the broader dynamics of culture, BAV can uniquely provide insight into a brand’s larger role in the evolving cultural marketplace, and provide actionable insights that drive both brand growth, and the brand’s impact on culture.


BAV has been collecting cultural ranks of brands for over 24 years, having spoken to over 1.2 million consumers globally. In South Africa, BAV has been tracking hundreds of brands on the same 75 brand associations, including 48 imagery dimensions, since 1993. The evolution of the brandscape in South Africa has been meticulously measured and studied by BAV and reflects the culture of the times and consumer attitudes.


BAV’s “Cultural Rankings” tool captures a snapshot of consumers’ mindset and market conditions measuring key brand dimensions that matter, from trust to innovation to social responsibility. When combined with other market-specific brand associations, the tool helps contextualize a brand’s cultural role, guiding marketplace positioning.




For more information about BAV and its Cultural Rankings, please contact:


Michael Sussman, CEO, BAV Group


Anna Blender, SVP, BAV Group


Lauren Hayden; Senior Brand Analyst, BAV Group