By Olive Lumonya
TENSION, excitement and uncertainty gripped Ugandans as they counted down to the celebration of Uganda@50, a special Nile Special was brewed, KCCA’s carnival, prayers, parliamentary week, NSSF Torch awards for the disadvantaged communities, among others.
For months, activities towards this special day have been on everyone’s lips and certainly the awareness levels of Uganda@50 could be standing at over 60%! It doesn’t matter if one understands what Uganda@50 means but at least they have heard and seen the message!
The definite fact is that Ugandans are looking and hoping for a new brand ‘Uganda’. What brand do Ugandans want to see from today onwards and what have Ugandans stood for in the past 50 years.
Just like any brand, there will always be ups and downs but a strong brand will get up and move.
Whereas it is much easier for smaller brands to be positioned, with a brand as big as Uganda, it takes creativity, innovativeness and clear understanding to effectively position Uganda and enable Ugandans and the world to appreciate the brand. How will it be driven?
The Government is the custodian of the brand. The Brand-Uganda is owned by all Ugandans and that means that the different segments will need to appreciate it, love it, adore it and market it.
It doesn’t matter how much, how educated one is, but if this brand is clearly positioned, each Ugandan will play a part in building a new Uganda.
Ugandans can be targeted in the different groups basing on incomes, education, location, age, schools.
What can we all start doing now to improve the brand image? Stop throwing rubbish on the streets, even those in cars, we would be proud owners of a cleaner Uganda and visitors too will feel the new Uganda.
What marketing strategy will drive this approach to ‘keep Uganda clean’?
The healthy sector is in dire need of support and the majority of Ugandans rely heavily on the Government medical facilities to survive.
There is need to give the health sector a new look and support that will make the majority Ugandans see a new brand-Uganda with healthy Ugandans.
On the other hand, the medical personnel, especially the nurses should portray a new Uganda. There is need to change the manner in which they handle patients, especially in the labour wards!
With the new Uganda, we must change our individual behaviour before other things can change. Change begins with each and every Ugandan.
Infrastructure is yet another area for the new Uganda! All Ugandans, whether on boda-boda, taxi, my cars, or on foot, pass through the same deplorable roads, and whenever it rains, one must plan where to pass.
Can we, in the new Uganda, improve the roads? A new Uganda with better roads will definitely excite everyone.
On the education side, the primary and secondary universal education has offered hope to millions of Ugandans who cannot afford education.
The challenge now is to position these two education products in such a way that the promise is delivered.
How can they be improved and marketed for a new Uganda?
Uganda is a proud tourism destination, but how do we make Ugandans and more specifically those living around the tourism areas feel proud of tourism? Can we encourage tours of these sites?
The Kiprotich Brand is one of the latest, among others, that has given Ugandans reason to celebrate but how do we intend to maintain and build new brands that will enable Uganda stand out and firm in the next 50 years.
As we celebrate, there is need to evaluate what Ugandans stand for, what they have stood for in the past 50 years and what they want to stand for in the next 50 years.
Just like successful brands, we need to evaluate and position ourselves for a new Uganda.
The onus is on all Ugandans and friends of Uganda to pride in Uganda and build a strong brand that will stand the test of time.
Congratulations and together we can build a strong brand that our children and grand-children will pride in 50 years to come. I just can’t imagine how October 9, 2062 will be celebrated!
The writer is a Chartered Marketer