Yvonne Johnston
It was a natural progression to move across to the Client or Marketing side of the desk. After short sojourns at Primedia and Nedbank, she discovered that she wasn't a corporate animal, so she started her own business, Refreshing Marketing.  From here she was head hunted by Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert who asked her to combine her passions for marketing and for South Africa and head a fledgling marketing authority, being instituted by President Thabo Mbeki to establish and promote a clear-cut and definitive brand for South Africa.

Brand South Africa

The mandate of the International Marketing Council (IMC) and Brand South Africa was to increase Tourism, Trade, and Investment; to improve international relations and to integrate business and Government activities to create a cohesive message emanating from all stakeholders in South Africa. In other words to establish a brand, domestically and internationally and then create the communication channels with which to market it.

Alive With Possibility
With a competent team that grew as Yvonne and the organisation advanced, she developed the well-known and beautiful Television work promoting South Africa including the much-loved “Alive with Possibility” campaign.
Pivotal to the success of the work of the IMC was the realization that positioning the nation brand can ultimately affect social issues, job creation, and unemployment.

During her time at the helm of the organization, from its inception, she interacted with a Board of 40, leading lights in Business and Government, and built an organization from one office, and four people, to two domestic offices, three International offices and 40 people.

Brand South Africa has received many accolades particularly for the level of communication and world class advertising that appears on local and international TV channels.

Brand South Africa was responsible for the official web portal for the country – www.southafrica.info recently achieving 30 million hits per month. She left, after seven years, in March 2008.
Communication Strategist and Problem Solver

In 2005, Yvonne was nominated as a finalist in the BWA Business Woman of the Year award.
Yvonne Johnston is a leading communication strategist, and her key skill is problem solving, and developing creative solutions to marketing and business problems. She has been a key motivator in the creation of an entity called “Action for A Safe South Africa” – for the first time looking at the root causes of crime in South Africa.

Public Speaker
Yvonne is acclaimed as a public speaker both at home and abroad. She speaks passionately on a wide range of topics focusing on:
·    Nation Branding and place branding
·    The mood of the nation
·    Positive stories about South Africa, and the role of the individual in creating a better country
·    The current economics and politics
·    2010 and what we can expect from the FIFA World Cup
·    Leadership lessons (particularly for women) in business
·    And the story of her personal journey, from training as an actress to running a highly successful organisation, being fired at 50 for political reasons, and the spiritual learnings that ensued.

Always innovative, this strategic thinker has rebranded herself as a Marketer-at-Large, working in partnership with a range of experts on different projects. At present, her clients include Vodacom, Financial Mail, GIBS Business School, and Cape Town Tourism.

Yvonne Johnston is a member of the Boards of SA Tourism, and Valued Citizens and is a founder member of “Action for a Safe South Africa.”