SAFA poised to score own goal
Cape Town - The intended name change of Bafana Bafana could prove to be a devastating move by The South African Football Association (SAFA), generating unnecessary expense and eroding the emotional ties that many fans have with the existing brand.
This is according to Frikkie Herbst, Professor of marketing at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) who says that establishing a comparable international brand like Bafana Bafana will be more expensive than buying, growing and re-enforcing the existing brand.
It recently emerged that Wayne Smidt, owner of Stanton Woodrush (Pty) Ltd, the company that holds 100% of Bafana's trademark rights would sell his trademark at a price tag of R41 million.
According to Herbst, this is not a huge amount when you consider the financial translation of the events that have led to Bafana Bafana becoming a household name.
“The success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the dramatic opening goal of the tournament has firmly established Bafana Bafana as a local and international brand. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to create such a connection to a name without the help of hosting a World Cup,” he says.
Furthermore, as a result of the World Cup, and the years preceding the event, fans from all over the world proudly own Bafana Bafana t-shirts, scarves, beanies and other merchandise.
Herbst says that most fans are unlikely to replace outdated souvenirs with the new brand as the Bafana-branded merchandise represents a sentimental souvenir of a once-in a-lifetime event and not just a team they support.
Herbst believes that the funds spent on creating and building a new brand could be better spent on increasing the brand value of the Bafana Bafana name through improved performance on the field.
“A new name will not change the performance of our team. The funds that seem to be available for a re-branding, if directed towards training, skills development and team selection could have a significant effect on the team’s results and ultimately increase the worth of the Bafana Bafana name.”
He also warns that if SAFA intends to change the name they have to acknowledge the millions of supporters that identify with the current name.
“People need to look at South Africa’s past, especially on an emotional level to understand the way that consumers connect to the Bafana Bafana brand. It is a brand owned by the nation that has been built up over several decades,” concludes Herbst.