Upon first sight, when one looks at Thebe Ikalafeng they can clearly see a down to earth, calm, and collected gentleman with a sharp kind of edge attached to his style and the way he carries himself. He speaks with self-assurance and authority on matters that concern Africa and its brands. This partly explains why he has over the years delivered inspirational and dynamic talks on corporate and personal branding to thousands of audiences and organizations across the globe. Thebe Ikalafeng is a South African author, reputation architect, and brand advisor whose passion for Africa continuously pushes him to encourage its growth.
Who Is Thebe Ikalafeng?
Thebe Ikalafeng is the founder of the award-winning pan-African brand and reputation advisory firm, Brand Leadership Group. His work with over 100 diverse brands across Africa has seen his career grow as one of the most respected brand advisors and influencers in Africa and all over the world. He has worked on brands such as Brand Ghana and Brand South Africa, Transnet in South Africa, the University of South Africa and University of Botswana, Zanaco Bank in Zambia, Mail&Guardian Africa in Kenya, the Africa Green Revolution Forum in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia plus several successful political branding and campaigns for, among others, the late Presidents Atta Mills and John Mahama of Ghana in 2008 and 2012 respectively and the Congo Brazzaville Referendum in 2015.
He is also a non-executive director of Mercantile Bank Holdings (a subsidiary of Caixa CGD, the Portuguese state-owned banking corporation and the second largest bank in Portugal), the JSE listed Car Track Holdings(operating in 20 countries in Africa, Europe Asia, and the USA) and WWF South Africa(World Wide Fund for Nature), deputy chairman of South African Tourism, and chairman of Brand Finance Africa.
In a distinguished corporate career that started at Colgate Palmolive in New York and culminated at NIKE as group Marketing Director for Africa, Ikalafeng led NIKE to the #1 brand across Africa, grew the business over 450% and earned over 75 awards, including 10 Cannes Lions and the IMM “Marketing Company of the Year” Roll of Honour.
Thebe is passionate about Africa and African brands. To him, Africa is ripe for the picking and soaring only if we see it for the potential it harbors.
PR Over Coffee in Uganda
During his recent visit to Uganda to launch the maiden PR Over Coffee quarterly meetings, he shared vast tips and techniques that focus on raising Africa’s potential. The aim of these meetings is mainly to share ideas, tips, and tools that entrepreneurs need to shake up their industry, challenge ‘old hat’ practices, increase their bottom lines, and have an undeniable impact on the business society in Uganda. PR Over Coffee offers opportunities for industry experts to meet and share ideas on how to tackle common challenges. It also enables participants to acquire world-class solutions, based on deep insights for global standards to be achieved by the local markets. And who better than ThebeIkalafeng, a brand and reputation authority to deliver the keynote address whose theme was,“Africa Inside: Building Businesses, Brands and Relationships in Africa.”
“Africa is now past the era of aid and is creating its own opportunities. It has been said countless times that Africa is the next economic tiger; it is a consensus among some of the top global companies that indeed Africa is the real deal. That is great news for us Africans. If we took an example of the rate at which the Asian economies have grown, then we can believe that this will be replicated in our continent,” he said.
Thebe also added that as Africans, we also have to position ourselves in a strategic manner so as to foster and ensure that this impending growth benefits us as individuals. If that happens in Africa, the world will be transformed!
Various reports indicate that the continent is collectively the fastest growing market at around 5.5% per annum and is projected to get to $2.6 trillion in 2020.
Brands that are poised to win in the African market are those that have a developmental agenda – enabling and empowering the country and/or the consumer.
We ought to stop looking at borders and shift our focus to establishing partnerships that will enable businesses to attain a global footprint.
‘It sounds audacious when I say I want to lead the challenge in Brand Africa, especially for someone with no political heritage and who doesn’t come from a privileged background’.