Thursday 16 July 2009


Remember the Time ?

So did President Obama’s visit to Ghana help build the Ghana brand ? If yes what can you remember ? Well, a CNN search of ‘Ghana’ today (Thursday July 16th 2009) shows perhaps the message decay has already set in, and the lead story is about a charity that donates used computers to village schools . Great stuff, but what does brand Ghana actually stand for ?

What’s great about Brand Ghana

From the CNN reports I give top marks for clearly identifiable core values of democracy and independence, and a solid brand character of passionate, proud, and hopeful. However, with no clear overall equity – and no real executional elements Im left a little disappointed.

Execution, execution, execution…

Yes there were merchandise and memorabilia (sold locally of course)and even official songs but without a video there’s no chance to generate the 3m+ views that eg the United Breaks Guitars song has achieved on Youtube. The missed opportunity here is develop a visual identity that could travel the world and lodge in peoples minds.

Visual Brand icons

Simple question - from this event what will the international consumer (ie viewer) take away ?

As awareness slips, a simple distinctive visual identity would help recollection. I’m not saying its easy to do, but two great recent examples :
1. Michael Jackson’s memorial service silver glove and aviator shades
2. fireworks and the singing girl from the Beijing Olympics

Unfortunately for Ghana, from president Obama’s trip, all I can clearly remember is, well President Obama in a suit....


  1. Hi Sam,

    Interesting post, and agree that some tricks were missed with a global audience looking in.

    I note your comments about core values and charector which I think are spot on. However a recent communication I heard about Ghana, talked about Ghana's struggles with corruption. Indeed My Obama's speech centred on this issue, albeit with a broader African context.

    With this, one wonders if the country/brand needs to iron out this issues first, before aiming for a new brand identity, when clearly the brand image at this time, still contains such negative issues.

    Equity for Ghana one would presume comes from the wonderful and diverse people, succesful Fair Trade activities (Day Chocolate Company, Cadbury's etc.) and some excellent tourist hotels and facilities. I'm sure there are other untold sources of equity that I am unaware that could be drawn on...

    Do you think its possible to start building a new brand identity for the country, given its current brand image?

    Ghandhi once said "Be the change you want to see" - is this true for Ghana in brand development?

  2. Giles, thanks and some great points. I hear you regarding the corruption dilema, I guess its a case of watch this space.

    But to answer your question yes I firmly believe they have to 'get the train moving', and start on the image/identity now and improve and refine as you move forward, else they will spend too much time polishing to get it right, when no one will be as interested in the message.

    PS I should disclose on my side that I am of Ghanaian heritage.