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Kenya to be marketed using sports

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 21 – The Brand Kenya Board wants to use sporting activities as a launch pad to revitalise its international marketing campaigns.

The board plans to leverage on international sporting activities, with a keen focus on athletics, which it believes is a key selling point for the country.

Brand Kenya Board Chief Executive Officer Mary Kimonye said they would be working with a US based firm, ‘Run with Kenyans’ to set up expos during major marathons such as the Boston and Chicago Marathons.

"It\’s very easy for Kenya to market sports because it appeals to everyone and we have excelled at it. It is very easy for investments and business related activities to ride on sports," Mrs Kimonye said.

Brand Kenya has already lined an expo for the Boston Marathon in April where it expects to engage with over 80,000 potential investors. The model is expected to be replicated in all other major marathons as well as during the IRB 7s circuit.

With a marketing budget of Sh140 million the Brand Kenya Board has been forced to look for alternative methods of marketing Kenya abroad.

"We have had to work very smart because due to the limited resources. Now we are looking at ways of fund raising from both public and private sector as well as working with other agencies to leverage resources," she said.

The CEO is confident of the new marketing strategy arguing it gives the Brand Kenya Board an ideal opportunity to interact with a large crowd of potential investors.

"I know it will work because it\’s a chance for business people to sell themselves," she said.

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The Brand Kenya Board is currently working on the country\’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

It has enlisted the help of Interbrand Sampson East Africa to develop a master plan for Kenya that would address tourism, investment opportunities, and economic and foreign policies.

Mrs Kimonye said they had received an initial report that the board was currently validating before implementing saying the master plan will add value to the various existing development initiatives in the country.

"This will enable Kenya to build its core competencies as well as future aspirations relevant to trade, tourism, investors and citizens," she said.

The brand development is expected to assist in updating the image and reputation of a country still feeling the negative effects of the 2007 elections, which were marred by ethnic violence despite the implementation of a new constitutional dispensation.

Interbrand Sampson is to develop the branding in collaboration with research company Synovate-Kenya.

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