It is said that great brands require great leaders.
Think of Microsoft and the name Bill Gates immediately comes to mind; Virgin and Richard Branson comes to mind or Apple and Steve Jobs comes to mind.
These leaders have utilized the power of their personal brand to generate love for their organizational brand.
One personality who is utilizing the power of her personal brand to change the face of diplomacy in Ghana is the French Ambassador to Ghana, Anne-Sophie (Akosua) Avé.
Whilst a country may not be a product like a mobile phone or a television set, there is still no doubt that some branding principles can help diplomats in positioning themselves to win the hearts and minds of their target audiences.
And that is exactly what Anne Sophie Avé has done.
In this article, I will share with you 4 of such branding principles that in my opinion have catapulted her into becoming the Queen of People’s Hearts in such a relatively short period of time.
AUTHENTIC BRAND PERSONALITY
Authenticity is one of the biggest assets of any brand.
Consumers are attracted to brands that are genuine, credible, honest and true to themselves.
No matter where one comes from, humans are naturally drawn to people who care and have the right intentions to help others.
Anne Sophie Avé has stood out as an exemplary Ambassador by being herself; by being HUMAN.
Her genuine love for people and her compassion shines through every interaction she has, making her a great humanitarian. Her ability to empathize has endeared her to the hearts of many.
She is friendly, approachable and down to earth. This has helped her to cultivate meaningful and memorable relationships with different audiences generating positive stories about herself and the country she represents.
No doubt she has become the “queen of people’s hearts.”
UNIQUE POSITIONING STRATEGY
Great brands do not just focus on their products.
They focus on their target consumers, immersing themselves in their consumers’ lives, getting to understand their motivations, their desires, their behaviours and their aspirations.
By getting into the minds and hearts of their consumers they start to think and act like their consumers.
Consumers get to see themselves in the brand and they are able to lead these consumers to buy into their brand and products.
What Anne Sophie Avé did strategically throughout her term in Ghana was to immerse herself into the lives of her Ghanaian target audience; to think, feel and act like a Ghanaian.
From taking up a Ghanaian name Akosua, to buying foodstuffs at the local market, queuing to buy waakye at the popular waakye joint, traversing parts of the country with her ‘Meet and Connect’ initiative to connect with her target audiences, jamming to Ghanaian music, dressing up in Ghanaian regalia, co-scripting and playing a role in a local TV series to showing her unflinching support for the Ghana Black Stars during the 2022 World Cup qualification.
She has come to be seen as a Ghanaian at heart. It is thus not surprising that she was enstooled as the Nkosuahemaa (Development Queen) of the town, under the stool name “Nana Benneh III” as well as queen mother for her developmental works in the Osu community and Ghana under the name Naa Narley Owaa Oman I.
By integrating into the lives of her Ghanaian audience and gaining acceptance, she has creatively led her Ghanaian target audiences to warmly embrace her “organizational brand” FRANCE and all it stands for.
Great positioning strategy I must say.
GREAT CONTENT MARKETING
Great brands leverage relevant and quality content to engage their customers, building credibility and enhancing visibility.
Anne Sophie Ave has done remarkably well in this regard; creating and hosting an innovative TV show, the first by an Ambassador, “Touch of France” which was adjudged the “TV show of the year” at Ghana Media and Entrepreneurship awards ceremony.
The programme unveils the collaborations of France with Ghana in relation to the theme of the week ranging from football, health, fashion to gastronomy, business, music or holidays, literature, cars, SDGs, heritage, diplomacy, languages or dance.
The program gained popularity due to the choice of addressing subjects with invited Ghanaian celebrity guests who share both their views on the theme of the episode and their experience of France and the French language.
Some of the Ghanaian personalities who have appeared on the show include Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Becca, Bola Ray, Anita Erskine, Marcel Desailly and Abedi Pele, Juliet Ibrahim, among others.
Coupled with her strong online presence (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) where she shares exciting content of activities she engages in: from meeting with celebrities and her fans, speaking engagements to visit of tourist attractions.
Her engagement strategy has been spot on.
IMPACTFUL AND EXPERIENTIAL BRAND ACTIVATIONS
Great brands no longer sell just products; they sell experiences that endears them to the heart of their target consumers through impactful brand activations.
Anne Sophie Ave has been deliberately collaborative; collaborating with Ghanaian personalities who matter in the Arts and Entertainment industry from musicians to actors/actresses to bloggers during her term as Ambassador.
Her immense involvement in the promotion of Ghanaian Arts, Tourism and Culture both locally and internationally is remarkable.
Her strong belief in selling unique brand experiences through brand activations gave birth to the highly successful Paris in Accra and Accra in Paris concerts, providing a platform for France-based artists such as Passi and Orti to collaborate and perform with Ghanaian artists such as Sarkodie,, Stonebwoy, Becca, Kwabena Kwabena, Gasmilla and Fameye.
Following from the success of these 2 events, it is not surprising that she has received high praise from many Ghanaians.
Just to recap a few of them on Twitter:
Sammy Anim Addo says: “She (Anne Sophie Ave) is a Game Changer. She has changed the face of Diplomacy in Ghana. She associates with the people as much as she can: market women, street kids, vendors and to the Arts & Creative industry, she is the star. To me she deserves a National Honour”.
Another Twitter follower says “A Ghanaian not by colour. Greatest Ambassador to Ghana ever.”
“This woman deserves to be celebrated. Great work contributing to put Ghana on the map.”
“We have to build a statue for this woman. She’s incredible.”
In a little over 3 years, Anne Sophie Ave has been able to connect people’s hearts and minds to her personal brand and ultimately to her “organizational brand” FRANCE.
Through her authentic brand personality, her unique brand positioning, relevant content marketing and the use of impactful and experiential brand activations, she has warmed herself into the hearts of many and has certainly lived up to be the “Queen of People’s Hearts”.