Arusha — THE East African Community (EAC) is involved in a branding project that it hopes will concretise loyalty to the integration agenda and capture the hearts and minds of citizens across the region.
EAC Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera said this at the weekend when he officially launched the Internal and External Online EAC Brand Survey 2013.
Addressing guests at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Dr Sezibera said the online survey targeted all the staff of the EAC organs, institutions, and Ministries of EAC Affairs in the Partner States irrespective of the rank or position. It also targeted external stakeholders within and outside the region.
"EAC is carrying out a brand survey to gain a better insight into how it is perceived by stakeholders and the community in general." The branding is being carried out with the support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Dr Sezibera said that the process, which is aimed at revitalizing EAC's visual identity and developing a design guide, is divided into four phases: A brand analysis - where EAC is today; a brand identity - where EAC wants to go; A brand strategy - how to get there; and lastly implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
"The purpose of the brand analysis is to conduct a baseline study to explore how EAC is perceived by target audiences, assess whether there is a common look and feel in our marketing and communication materials and if key messages get across," said Dr Sezibera.
The Head of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs at the EAC, Richard Owora, told guests that the survey consisted of desk research, study tours, electronic questionnaires (online survey), personal interviews and an online poll on EAC's website and Facebook.
The online survey, Mr Owora said, would also be launched the same day on websites and social media pages of EAC organs and institutions, Ministries of EAC Affairs and apex organisations.
"The social media is Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so you can imagine what to expect if we get massive response from our external stakeholders and audiences. Indeed, this is the first time a study of such a magnitude is being undertaken on the EAC brand."
The survey will assist in reinforcing the internal and external communication efforts of the EAC Secretariat and to enhance its identity and brand - including the organs, institutions and ministries responsible for EAC Affairs in the partner states.
The project will, moreover, give an indication of the effectiveness of EAC's current internal and external communication efforts. In this regard, the survey will seek to establish whether the perception of external target audiences is coherent with the way the EAC perceives itself.
The secretary general called for commitment to expend resources in building a strong EAC brand. "The Council of Ministers as well as individual partner states should be prepared to spend some considerable amount of money to build our strong brand in order to get the popular support and participation of the ordinary citizens in the integration agenda."
In the first phase of the branding project, personal interviews were conducted in July and August in all the five partner states. The interviews targeted four groups of respondents: Traders, women in business, farmers and local government employees.