Imagian
Imagian

Current state of Place Branding  March 19, 2017
CITY NATION PLACE AWARDS 2016  12 Nov 2016
Sweden Tops 2016 Country RepTrak® Reputation Ranking  28 Jun 2016
Branding Cities in the Age of Social Media   9 Mar 2016
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Place Branding Initiatives  12 Jan 2016
City Reputation Ranking 2015 – World’s Strongest City Brands   24 Nov 2015
City Nation Place Conference and Awards, London, November 2015  28 Aug, 2015
New Report: Place Marketing & Branding 2015  28 Aug, 2015
Oslo Brand Management Strategy  4 March, 2015
How city branding needs to change?  14 Feb, 2015
How and why brand small cities?  25 Jan, 2015
Liverpool brand conference  July 4, 2014
$950K contract to develop Jersey City branding campaign  June 17, 2014
Dubai debuts new destination brand  May 13, 2014
Marketing Liverpool secures European funding to boost city branding  21 Feb 2014
New branding study to help Columbus, OH, to define image  19 Feb 2014
Jersey offers $1M for branding Jersey City, NJ.  10 Feb 2014
A Tale of Two City Branding Projects  31 Jan 2014
New Brand Dublin aimt to involve citizens   December 10, 2013
City Branding: The Case of Barcelona. Full version.  9 November, 2013
Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau launches a New Convention City Brand  10 May 2013
Criticism to the Gold Coast’s $180,000 Tourism Marketing & Destination Brand Logo  27 April 2013
Singapore appoints agency partners for brand building  25 April 2013
City of Grodno, Belarus, launches brand development initiative  24 Apr 2013
Glasgow seeks rebranding ideas to help market the city  24 Apr 2013
City of Murmansk to be branded  16 Apr 2013
City Branding Symposium 2013   21 Feb 2013
City Branding Case studies  15 Feb 2013
Research on tourist destination brand equity and internal stakeholders   10 Dec, 2012
Singapore Tourism Board launches tender for destination brand building  26 Nov 2012
The impact of social media on destination branding   18 Jul, 2012
From Czech Republic to Chechia  26 Nov, 2012
Singapore launches facebook campaign  13 Jul, 2012
Outer Hebrides Destination Branding tender  5 July, 2012
Local Japan: Case Studies in Place Promotion   June 27, 2012
Knoxville, Tennessee Adopts New Name, Logo, and New Leadership   27 Jun, 2012
Several smaller North American cities engage in Place Branding  May 16th, 2012
Philippines announces national brand identity  Feb 1st, 2012
Singapore unveils differentiated marketing campaigns   Dec 22, 2011
Scottish Government claim £89.5m economic benefit from 'Surprise Yourself' campaign  29 Oct, 2011
Soul City launches social media campaign  Dec 8, 2011
Maldives Announces New Nation Brand   8 December 2011
Brand USA unveiled  Nov 7, 2011
EU working on its brand   Oct 26, 2011
Marketing of Chengdu's urban image wins awards   Oct 11 2011
Capetown Harnessing the Brand-building Value of Residents   Oct 6, 2011
Five things you need to know about city branding today   Sep 22, 2011
City branding case study report released  Aug 01, 2011
Corporations and Black Metal bands branding Nations  Aug 02,2011
“I Ride Park City” Announces Improvements  July 27, 2011
Cape Town in brand vacuum  June 10 2011
New Republique to redefine City of Sydney's digital brand   June 07, 2011
What will 2011 bring?  Feb 28, 2011
Yukon seeks Tourism Sales Contractor  Feb 25
Involving citizens, Tourism Australia's new campaign   17 Feb 2011
West Australia state seeks consultants  09 Feb, 2011
Brand Kenya launches city branding initiative  09 Feb, 2011
1000 visitors expected in Global City 2011, Abu Dhabi  08 Feb, 2011
Your country needs you - time to sell brand britain   1 Feb, 2011
Accrediting the success of Bilbao’s urban regeneration to the Guggenheim Museum is misguided  Jan 31, 2011
Kosovo ‘nation branding’ campaign wins award  Jan 20, 2011
Memphis to commission city branding project   Nov 24th, 2010
Singapore Tourist Board hunts for PR agency to spice up image in UK  Nov 24th, 2010
Maldives commences major destination rebranding initiative   Nov 12, 2010
EUROCITIES launched 'City Branding in Europe'  Nov 12, 2010
Seoul city branding chosen IDEA/Brazil Award winner   Nov 12, 2010
2010 Country Brand Index’s early results   Nov 9, 2010
Milan launches special "City Brand" to boost global image for 2015 Expo   Nov 9, 2010
Korea Aims to Build Brand at G20 Summit  Nov 9, 2010
2nd International Place Branding Conference, Bogota 22-24.1.2011  Oct 20, 2010
Livable Cities Award submission closing at 28 Oct  Oct 18, 2010
Nation Brands Index 2010 released  Oct 13, 2010
Brand Africa initiative launched  Sep 18, 2010
Brand Ghana Summit  Sep 15, 2010
Seoul Metropolitan Government reviews international branding account   Aug 9 2010
Best Nation / Place Branding Campaign - Call for entries  15 May, 2010
South Africa's social media initiative  May 02, 2010
Birmingham (UK) Science City branding tender open until 27Apr2010  15Apr2010
FutureBrand: Nation Branding Video Marathon  6th Mar 2010
Seoul City Reviews Branding Account  17 Feb 2010
City branding research   16th Feb 2010
City Branding of Izmir, Turkey  4th Jan 2010
Brand Sweden Goes Local  Dec 26 2009
Brand Canada stuck in National Geogrphic approach?  Dec 08 2009
Canada investing to make Brand Canada visible in food products  Oct 3 2009
5th annual Country Brand Index report launched  Nov 9 2009
Building Brand Australia – Tender Announcement   Sep 17 2009
Danish viral video creates a phenomenon  Sep 16 2009
Business leaders want a Brand Australia Council  Jul 30 2009
Tourism Australia targets social media   May 29 2009
Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark  May 28 2009
Romania’s tourism brand tender  April 6 2009
Saatchi & Saatchi to Nation Brand Kosovo  Mar 26 2009
Syria first needs positioning, then branding   March 26, 2009
Brand Korea's 10 point action plan released  March 25 2009
Korea launches a nation branding programme w 74 million USD budget   Jan 22 2009
Saatchi & Saatchi to nation brand Kosovo  Jan 24 2009
Massive interest in Australian "Dreamjob".  15 January 2009
Branding Jamaica  Dec 03 2008
"Marketing Cities: Place Branding in Perspective" conference  Dec 06
Country Brand Index 2008 by Future Brand  
Research: European City Brand Ranking  Nov 3 2008
New Nation Brand Index provider launched   Oct 21 2008
Nation Brand Index 2008 released  Sep 24 2008
Branding Holland contest  Sep 25 2008
Branding Finland  Sep 21 2008
USA: First promotional site launched  Sep 15 2008
Canada: Tourism Brand Toolkit  Sep 15 2008
Branding Korea (Part 2)  Sep 10th 2008
Branding Serbia  Aug 30 2008
Discussing Brand Sweden  Sep 9 2008
Thailand Building on Social Media  Aug 27 2008
Branding Brunei  Aug 15 2008 (July 1 2008)
Singapore Tourism Board  Aug 15 2008 (Mar 2008)
Austria Launches new tourism marketing campaign  Aug 15 2008 (Mar 2008)
Berlin's campaign begins from residents   Aug 15 2008 (Mar 2008)
Australia ranked world's top country brand by CBI  Aug 15 2008 (Jan 2008)
Current state of Place Branding
March 19, 2017
The Place Brand Observer has released a set of "Current State of Branding in .." reports, aiming at summarizing the state-of-the art in different continents. Have a closer look in here: http://placebrandobserver.com/category/expert-advice/
CITY NATION PLACE AWARDS 2016
12 Nov 2016
The winners of the CNP Awards were announced at the second annual City Nation Place conference in London on 10 November. The winners were:

Best Communications Strategy: GREAT Britain. Entered by Cabinet Office / No10 Downing Street
Best Expression of Place Brand Identity: Make Something Edmonton. Entered by Story Engine
Best Use of Social Media: Finland Emojis. Entered by Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Finland
Place Brand Strategy of the Year: The Hague. Entered by Municipality of The Hague City Branding Department

Read more and see short films here.

Sweden Tops 2016 Country RepTrak® Reputation Ranking
28 Jun 2016
The Reputation Institute has published a new Country Reputation study. Sweden tops the ranking this year (78.3 points), followed closely by Canada (77.8 points), which was the winner of several rankings over the last years.

The RI has been studying the dynamics of country reputation for the last 10 years. Founded in 1997 as an advisory and research firm, today RI claims to be a global leader in the field of corporate reputation management. Its RepTrak® model measures the emotional value of reputation. A total of around 60,000 respondents participate in the survey each year.

Download full report.

Branding Cities in the Age of Social Media
9 Mar 2016
How to use social media for city branding is a question increasingly relevant for city brand managers and marketers. In a research insight article provided bu the PLace Brand Observer, Efe Sevin summarizes findings from his analysis of social media use of three different cities, published in the book ‘Social Media and Local Governments: Theory and Practice’ (2016, Springer).

He also offers valuable recommendations for those in charge of building, monitoring and managing their city’s online image and reputation.

Read full interview here.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Place Branding Initiatives
12 Jan 2016
The Place Brand Observer has published a quick guide to the topic. Find it from here.

City Reputation Ranking 2015 – World’s Strongest City Brands
24 Nov 2015
The City RepTrak ranking has published a new study on City Reputation Ranking 2015.

For the first time we have two cities – Sydney and Melbourne – from the same country – Australia – taking first and second place in our ranking. Australia has been represented in the top five of our previous Country Rep Trak® reports, but only with one city at a time. The rest of the 2015 top ten are Stockholm, Vienna (#1 in 2014), Vancouver (#1 in 2012), Barcelona, Edinburgh, Geneva, Copenhagen and Venice.

Other comparable ranking studies include Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index, the Saffron European City Brand Barometer, Cities of the Future (fDi Magazine), EUI’s Global Liveability Index, Mercer’s and Monocle’s Quality of Living Ranking, and PwC’s Cities of Opportunity.

Order full report.

City Nation Place Conference and Awards, London, November 2015
28 Aug, 2015
The City Nation Place Awards have been launched to identify and recognize excellence in place brand strategy development and implementation. With more national, regional and city governments investing in reputation management and communication, these are the first Awards to benchmark the performance of these areas.

Awards shortlist
1. Best Citizen Engagement
o Brand South Africa - Mobilising Active Citizens To Build The South African Nation Brand
o ConnectIreland.com - The ConnectIreland Community Action Plan
o Go Great Lakes Bays - How a pure Michigan destination turned tourism trailblazer by engaging locals in the strategy and sharing of a new regional place brand
o Team London Bridge - London Bridge Revealed
o Visit El Paso, an operating division of Destination El Paso - “El Paso. It’s All Good.” Digital Ambassador Campaign/Community Pride Movement
o Wirral Waters (entered by Uniform & Peel)Wirral Waters – Engaging local citizens in the largest regeneration project in the UK

2. Best Communication Strategy
o Brand USA (entered by BBC Advertising)- BBC Advertising and Brand USA – USA through film
o Bahrain Economic Development Board (entered by M&C Saatchi)- Building Business friendly Bahrain while driving sector-specific engagement
o City of Mississauga - Mississauga Brand Story: On the Cusp of Something Big
o ConnectIreland.com - ConnectIreland’s Communications Strategy
o HM Government - GREAT Britain Campaign
o London and Partners - London’s Official Guest of Honour
o Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority - Monaco Convention Bureau : Strategic Repositioning & Perception Changing Campaign

3. Best Use of Social Media
o Austrian National Tourist Office - #inAustria – Meeting Place for Bloggers
o ConnectIreland.com - ConnectIreland’s Use of Social Media
o Croatian National Tourist Board - #SuperBowlCroatia. News Hijacking: How Croatia became the secret advertising star of the Superbowl 2015
o ONLYLYON - ONLYLYON Social Network
o Travel Manitoba - Roadside Madness

4. Place Brand of the Year
o The Swedish Institute - “Co-creation for Global Challenges” – A Joint Strategy for the Promotion of Sweden Abroad
o Oslo Business Region, VisitOSLO, Oslo Region Alliance (together forming “the Oslo Brand Alliance”) - In a 100 years from now
o HM Government - GREAT Britain Campaign
o Eindhoven365 - Place branding strategy and identity building of Eindhoven
o Marketing Liverpool - It’s Liverpool

For latest updates, visit citynationplace.com/awards
Source: the Place Brand Observer

New Report: Place Marketing & Branding 2015
28 Aug, 2015
Best Place Institute, a society of place branding experts, published a special report "Place Marketing & Branding 2015. This publication offers an analysis of several case studies and interviews with experts. The “Place Marketing Manifesto” is the key part of the report. Work on the Manifesto commenced at the “Poznan Best Place Summit 2014” workshop. It is an attempt at providing answers to the most important questions related to the European place marketing industry: what is place marketing, what is its role in managing place development, what are the basic methodological assumptions, what are the barriers and challenges to place marketing in Europe?




Oslo Brand Management Strategy
4 March, 2015
Oslo Region started its branding project a year ago. On March 2. the project the project team submitted the proposals for the Brand Management Strategy for the Oslo Region for further processing in the City of Oslo and the other members of the Oslo Region Alliance.

This document is extremely well structured, and is must-read to anyone interested in contemporary city brand management.

Download full report here.

How city branding needs to change?
14 Feb, 2015
In this guest post, Robert Hughes, project manager for Dublin city branding and the AT Brand Project, reflects on how city branding needs to change, and how the European Union-funded AT Brand Project helps to showcase and connect cities through a regional identity that reaches across national boundaries.

How city branding needs to change?
Innovation, Creativity, Vibrancy, Connectivity. What do these words have in common? Well they are the go to words in the city brand handbook. Along with the obligatory image of a river, a market or any other non descriptive image of a city, they are used throughout the world to define our cities.

Generic terms and images are joining the logo and slogan as the big ‘no no’ of city branding.
Generally we all use the same terminology, imagery and methods in describing our cities. Yet ironically in doing so we are losing the creativity and innovation which adorns our urban canvases. Attributes which should be making a city stand out from the crowd and allow a distinctive position are being underutilized and not fulfilling their potential in building a true picture of a city. For me these terms and images are joining the logo and slogan as the big ‘no no’ of city branding.

City Branding Needs to Change from Generic to Integrated
What must be realized here is that all cities inherently have the same traits: they blossom through the blend of ideas and people that flow through our streets. So why are we so quick to use these increasingly exhausted techniques or phrases to explain our cities?

At a recent workshop on city branding I heard an interesting comment; “Never give the keys to the city to the marketing people”. I am in agreement with this to a point. I am not saying we banish our marketing colleagues to the shadows of our cities, they play an important role in helping us define our message.

However, time and again we have seen numerous big budget campaigns impose an idea of a city, one which could be placed on top of any city around the world. These artificial ideals hold little or no resonance with the city, its people or any other potential stakeholder it is trying to entice. You can throw all the funding, slogans, generic terms at it you want it won’t work unless it captures the true essence of the city.

Cities are made of people and ideas
Personally, I think the two most important tools when defining our cities are that they are made of people and their ideas. What brings life to a city is its people and it is their ideas that mould and sculpt its identity. What flourishes from its people defines a city. The vibrancy, the culture, the hustle and bustle of a city’s streets they all revolve around its citizens.

Thus, rather than imposing a brand upon the bricks and mortar of a city we should let it speak for itself. Engage with its stakeholders; from business to universities to the ordinary citizen on street, allow them to tell their story. Adopt this position from the beginning and what will follow will be a true reflection of the living city which they inhabit.

By developing a city’s position in such an organic fashion we can develop an honest and credible message one which holds firm in the minds of its people and thus allows potential stakeholders a true representation of a particular city without the thinly veiled sales pitch.

European AT Brand Project: Integrated City Branding
At this point I would like to introduce the AT Brand project (www.atbrand.eu). Part funded through the EU’s Interreg IVB Atlantic Area programme, the project consists of seven partners including Dublin (Ireland), Liverpool (England), Cardiff (Wales), San Sebastian (Spain), LaRochelle (France), Faro (Portugal) and finally the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities.

It began in 2014 and its main aim is to progress this idea of integrated city branding. We are looking to breathe new life into place branding, enhancing existing techniques and looking at new ways of explaining the true urban narratives and in doing so giving a real representation of our cities.

AT Atlantic Arc City Brands
Core to this idea is the role of the stakeholder within the city. Rather than imposing an ideal of what a city is upon its population, we seek to work with these people from the outset to develop an inclusive representation of the city. Building strong stakeholder partnerships from the outset, we look to highlight the narratives which already define our cities. Combining these we can produce an encompassing message, one which is a true representation of our city.

Acknowledging that these groups are of strategic importance to the development of a city brand, it is crucial that what we develop must be representative of the mindset of the city’s population. In doing so, not only do we create a true picture of the city, but also we can build a strong platform to which our brand can be disseminated with natural brand ‘evangelists’ being created due to their connection with the message developed. The project is broken into a number of key activities.

How the AT Brand Project works
The project has a number of activities which allow for the development of an inclusive approach to city branding. Firstly, we have developed a cross learning approach (next workshop is in San Sebastian, 21-22 April) that allows partners and other outside groups to learn from each other’s experiences within this area. Our partners are at different levels of developing their messaging for their city. So this approach allows a sharing of important knowledge and experiences between all.

Secondly, we are seeking to enhance existing or develop new easily transferable methods in showcasing our cities narratives and improve our city’s position within the international sphere. At present some of the projects include developing brands via digital means, such as integrated websites and city apps to developing comprehensive integrated branding plans, which offer its city a comprehensive map to develop its brand. By the end of this project, we will have a comprehensive roadmap of integrated branding which will allow other cities an insight into best practice.

Finally, we are investigating the possibility of a co-strategy for the North Atlantic Façade of Europe. Can we find commonalities between cities within this group to bring together an overarching narrative for the region? It is an interesting aspect of the project especially with the diversity of cities within the group.

AT Atlantic Arc City Branding supporters
What can this co-strategy bring to the region? The possibility of such an approach can play a role in accentuating existing strengths within the region, while developing a concerted effort in developing a regional approach, which will allow greater co-operation between cities. Also, developing a region in this way will increase awareness of participating cities and the qualities they have within.

How Dublin City Branding Benefits from AT Brand Project
Dublin, like Ireland, is fortuitous in that it has a natural global presence due to a large Diaspora around the world and easily recognizable brands, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness or James Joyce, that draw attention to the city. However, as competition increases around the world, we need to do more in highlighting our city.

For Dublin, the opportunity of being part of a regional co-branding strategy that encompasses the Atlantic coast has a number of beneficial possibilities. Taking from Nordic and Baltic strategies, the Atlantic strategy will seek to unearth commonalities and galvanize these to develop a strong partnership within the region.

Dublin benefits from stronger ties between cities and a strategy that can not only promote the region but increase the global position of each city involved. Although competitors, we see an opportunity to work with our partner cities to develop a relationship that can highlight each other’s strengths and overall be beneficial for the city.


Robert Hughes - Dublin City Branding: Robert Hughes is project manager at the Dublin City Council and responsible for the AT Brand and Dublin City Brand Projects.

Source: http://placebrandobserver.com/2015/02/13/atlantic-city-branding-project/

How and why brand small cities?
25 Jan, 2015
Speaking in London, Greg Clark explains how and why a unifying city brand can be effective in raising the visibility of a smaller city such as Aarhus, Denmark.

See video.

Liverpool brand conference
July 4, 2014
The developing field of city branding was under discussion at the three-day conference, hosted by Liverpool as part of the International Festival for Business 2014.

The conference (June 25 – 27), explored city branding campaigns in European cities with case studies of:

Liverpool. It’s Liverpool
Genoa. More than this
Stockholm. Capital of Scandanavia

Chris Brown, Director of Marketing Liverpool, said:

“There’s a rapid development in city branding around the world. Digital and social media has changed the landscape. Cities, regions, nations are becoming far more sophisticated in using new platforms to improve their image and attractiveness.

“Liverpool are delighted to take part in the project and host the first conference. The mix of cities is fascinating and the conference discovered some distinctive trends that are emerging, which will help inform and shape our thinking.”

The conference recommended four key areas for cities to focus on:

1) Logos and slogans – the preoccupation with logos and slogans is outdated. City branding is an important strategic tool to improve city competiveness and urban economies. It is more far-reaching than merely ‘packaging’ and must be connected to a broader vision and policy framework.

2) Digital and social media – Destination management organisations (DMO) must adapt or die. New strategic approaches to digital and social media are essential. The development of new skills in content, search and data analysis is crucial to DMOs being relevant and effective.

3) Storytelling – a trend for authentic narratives and experiences is emerging. Perfect, polished narratives and images are increasingly taking a back seat to collaborative ways of working in city brand communications. Cities should find new ways of promoting opportunities for residents, visitors, businesses and students to co-create and share their own experiences.

4)Cities are innovating in how they collaborate with their residents, cultural organisations and the business community to create partner models. There are no one-size-fits-all formulas to successful city branding.

$950K contract to develop Jersey City branding campaign
June 17, 2014


The Jersey City Economic Development Corp. has awarded a $950,000 contract to a consortium of three marketing and advertising firms to develop the city’s branding campaign.

Harrison Rand Advertising and Creative Civilians, both of Hudson County, were selected by the EDC board for the branding contract, alongside New York City firm Development Counselors International.

The trio of companies are charged with fulfilling Mayor Steve Fulop’s vision of marketing the city as a “premier travel destination” for work and play.

The firms will be working collaboratively on the campaign, however each will receive its own assignments and budget, according to city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill.

The current budget of $950,000 is subject to quarterly reviews with the ability to be increased to $1.2 million pending review, Morrill said.

The contract will be paid for by a $100,000 state tourism grant, $500,000 in EDC funds and “up to $600,000 in private contributions,” Morrill added.

The marketing strategy is expected to include a new website and a social media effort to attract visitors to the city.

“The RFP review committee evaluated and selected the firms who produced a campaign that will attract investment into every ward in the city,” Morrill said.

“The goal is to position the city in a way that we can see investment beyond the waterfront.”

Source: http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ssf/2014/06/950g_contract_to_develop_jerse.html

Dubai debuts new destination brand
May 13, 2014
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Ahead of a new global marketing campaign launching later this year, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has debuted a new brand for the destination. The new logo, launched last week at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), features the word ‘Dubai’ written in both the Arabian and Roman alphabets, reflecting the city’s rich multiculturalism.

Announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the brand will be used by government departments and bodies, ensuring that the emirate speaks with ‘one voice’ to its citizens and visitors.

Following the announcement of the new brand, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed shared the identity on his Instagram account, stating: “Today we launched Dubai’s new brand identity which will be used to promote our city regionally and internationally. The new brand identity focuses on Dubai being a credible, unique and welcoming destination for tourists and visitors.”

Also previewed during ATM, a new website and app have been designed to inspire and inform at every stage of the consumer journey and help the visitor experience the city to the fullest while in Dubai. Both the website and the app will be launched in the coming months.

His Excellency, Helal Almarri – Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: “The objective behind the launch of the unified brand for Dubai is part of the unified marketing efforts of the city under one name and one identity – Dubai. The new brand is based on the proposition that Dubai is a city where remarkable things happen."

“All of the achievements and superlatives have improved Dubai’s standing as a world leading city and make up the foundation of the brand. The name of Dubai is representative of everything that the Emirate stands for. Implementing the new brand across every touch point will make it easy for the whole world to recognise Dubai, which in turn will enhance promotional activities, especially for upcoming events like Expo 2020, and it will contribute to achieving the targets of the Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020.”

“For DCTCM, the implementation of the brand means inspiring leisure and business travellers with the opportunities on offer in Dubai and continuing to develop the visitor experience. As partners throughout the city adopt the physical elements of the brand they will also be adopting its values and uniting behind a common aim – to deliver beyond the expected and make the experience of Dubai truly remarkable for visitors and residents alike.”

Source http://www.eturbonews.com/45739/dubai-debuts-new-destination-brand

Marketing Liverpool secures European funding to boost city branding
21 Feb 2014
Liverpool has become the only English city to take part in a brand new European marketing project and has successfully secured 170,000 Euros to boost city branding over the next 18 months.

The city, through Marketing Liverpool, has been recognised for its innovation and expertise on place branding and will play a vital role in knowledge exchange and best practice throughout the European AT Place Brand Project.

Launched in Dublin the one day inaugural conference was attended by the eight European project partners from Portugal, Spain, France, Wales and was hosted by the lead partner, Dublin City Council. The programme’s work plan and expected outputs were all finalised and agreed.

The funding will allow Liverpool to host a three day conference in June 2014 on city branding which will be attended by more than 45 delegates from Europe and from across the UK.

The conference will welcome leading academics and experts in the field of place branding and will be relevant to destination marketers, attractions and other practitioners.

The conference activity will be followed by the delivery of a pilot project later in the year, aimed at unlocking original and experimental initiatives to articulate user generated content from the social/ digital space into urban/ physical space.

Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool, said: “This is a superb opportunity to showcase the voice of the city through new innovative initiatives.

“It is a chance for the ‘It’s Liverpool brand to grow, for the Marketing Liverpool team to share the success stories behind the brand, and to capture the valuable knowledge for our other partners. We look forward to hosting the first AT Place Brand Project workshop during the International Festival for Business when we will really be showing our city off.”

Robert Hughes, AT Place Brand Project co-ordinator, said: “AT Place Brand focuses on innovation and management in integrated city branding. Looking beyond individual city branding, it will also explore the feasibility of a long-term strategy to co-brand the Atlantic area, building on recent developments in the Nordic countries and the Baltic Sea region.

“We are delighted to have Liverpool on board as a project partner. There are many valuable tools and techniques the other project partners can learn from Liverpool and we look forward to getting started with the project.”

Peter Finnegan, Director of the Office of Economy, International Relations and Research at Dublin City Council added: “Every city must discover its unique selling point and build a story that captures the world. This project will help us revolutionize how European cities project themselves to the world”.

For further information please contact Caroline Hoppe at Marketing Liverpool on 0151 600 2951 / choppe [at] marketingliverpool.co.uk

Source.

New branding study to help Columbus, OH, to define image
19 Feb 2014
Experience Columbus has hired a research company to determine what people throughout the country think of the city — or whether they think of it at all.

“I’ve seen a lot of these efforts,” and the results have been strikingly similar, said Doug Kridler, president and CEO of the Columbus Foundation.

“Two times (before), they came in and said: ‘We have good news and bad news for you,’” Kridler said. “‘The bad news is, we found Columbus doesn’t have a consistent image, and the good news is, you’re starting with a blank slate.’”

Now, the groups promoting the city want to unite behind one message — and have decided it’s time for a new survey, Kridler and Experience Columbus officials said.

The city’s reputation is on the rise as more people visit for business and vacations, and the desire is there to keep the momentum building.

Amy Tillinghast, vice president of marketing for Experience Columbus, said: “We’ve had all these great national and international events here recently — the Presidents Cup (golf tournament), the U.S.A. and Mexico World Cup (soccer) qualifier, the Arnold Festival every year, and we’re going after the Republican and Democratic national conventions (in 2016), and the sports commission is going after the women’s (college basketball) Final Four.”

Experience Columbus, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, recently awarded a $200,000 contract to study the city’s image to GfK, an international research company based in Germany.

“As we do more national campaigns, we need to understand our audiences,” Tillinghast said.

The new study will be broader in scope than those in the past, Tillinghast said, and GfK will survey 2,500 people, including visitors to the city and frequent travelers.

“This is research that informs a city so it can create their branding,” said Mark Keida, GfK Custom Research North America’s senior research director. He works in the company’s Washington, D.C., office and is a Worthington native.

The company recently conducted a study for Denver.

“When you think of Denver, you think of the outdoors and mountains and sports,” Keida said. “But their culinary culture really stood out as an asset that’s emerging and isn’t fully recognized, and Columbus is the same way.”

Keida is not sure what the survey will say about the image of Columbus, or whether the nation knows much about the city. “I’m really curious, in six months, when our research is complete, what people think of Columbus,” Keida said. “It’s not about making the city something it’s not, but to identify those things — such as the fashion industry and foodie culture and diversity in the workforce — that are already here.”

Partners in the project include the city and Franklin County, the Columbus Foundation, Columbus 2020, the Columbus Chamber and Ohio State University.

“GfK will do the research that will help inform our branding message to be more distinct and motivate folks who could bring business here,” Tillinghast said.

Much work remains “to change the perception and attract talent and young professionals,” said Brian Ross, CEO of Experience Columbus.

The goal isn’t just to bring more conventions and meetings here, Tillinghast said, but also to attract top students, businesses and residents.

Once completed, the GfK research will be presented to the study’s partners at a series of workshops.

“The goal is for everyone to learn and for this to inform what everyone is doing in their marketing efforts,” Tillinghast said. “We’re already running national campaigns; this will make them smarter.”

A 2005 study by the Columbus Chamber found that a majority of American chief executives didn’t think of the region when asked to name good places in which to do business.

In preparation for the Columbus bicentennial in 2012, Kridler helped lead a team tasked with promoting the city.

This was the basis for the “Smart and Open” campaign. Organized by the mayor’s office, it touted the city’s wealth of high-tech companies, the nationally ranked zoo, the COSI Columbus science museum, the library system and “how diverse we are and welcoming to the gay population,” Kridler said.

The campaign continues, he said, adding that it is time to update the information on which the city’s brand is based to improve the message.

“You need a baseline of information that will be useful to everyone,” he said. “I think we’ve turned a corner, and there’s an awareness of Columbus that’s never been there before, that we’re growing and dynamic and diverse and open.”

Source.

Jersey offers $1M for branding Jersey City, NJ.
10 Feb 2014
When he was running for mayor last year, Steve Fulop often told voters he wanted to make Jersey City the “best mid-size city in America.”

Now Mr. Fulop is offering up $1.2 million for a marketing firm to put Jersey City on the map. The mayor announced last week that the city and the Jersey City Economic Development Corp. (EDC) are seeking a firm to develop a brand for Jersey City and market it as a “premier travel destination” for work and play.

“Jersey City continues to attract families, young professionals, and other residents to our city who are seeking a diverse, metropolitan center with vibrant neighborhoods, culture and recreational opportunities,” Fulop said in a statement released by his office. “This branding and marketing campaign will help us refocus the image of Jersey City to the rest of the region, nation and the world to expand on that growth.”

The marketing strategy will include a logo and tagline, a new website, a social-media effort to attract visitors to the city and more.

The city wants to get residents involved, too, asking for submissions for possible logos and taglines that may be used in the branding effort.

Half of the $1.2 million is expected to come from private partnerships, while the other half will come from unused Urban Enterprise Zone funds. In December, Fulop said the EDC had about $1.5 million in unused UEZ funds.

Fulop’s plan to use UEZ dollars to fund the marketing campaign rankles some members of the City Council and the business community. Ward D City Councilman Michael Yun said he’s not opposed to promoting Jersey City, but Yun said the UEZ funds should remain available to the city’s five Special Improvement Districts.

Yun noted that the Journal Square SID cited a lack of funds for its decision not to hang Christmas lights last year, and the Everything Jersey City Festival, a 10-block fair held for five years in the Heights, was canceled last year. The Central Avenue SID, formerly headed by Yun, said it couldn’t afford the fair once UEZ money dried up at the local level.

“The mayor should be concentrating on inner-city businesses districts, not just showing off,” Yun told The Jersey Journal.

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill responded by saying the branding effort “is for the entire city.”

Source.

A Tale of Two City Branding Projects
31 Jan 2014
Insights to two stories of City branding projects are discussed by Mary Jander, managing editor of Future cities in here.
New Brand Dublin aimt to involve citizens
December 10, 2013
In the past year, the Dublin City Council identified a need to develop a comprehensive branding and marketing plan for the community. More than a slogan or a logo, an effective brand focuses on a cohesive message and consistent feel that expresses the unique identity of Dublin, both to members of the Dublin community and to people located outside of Dublin.

“The goal of this effort is to develop an identity for the community that is consistent and realistic of how our residents and businesses feel about Dublin,” said Linda Smith, the City’s Economic Development Director. “We want the community to speak with a common voice and purpose when promoting Dublin as a community in which to live, a destination to visit, or a place to start or grow a business. This branding and marketing effort will give us the tools to achieve that.”

Work is already underway to develop the City’s brand identity. Beginning in November 2013, a variety of research began, which included interviews, focus groups, and information gathering. The next step in the process is to obtain feedback about the community in the Community Survey. The City enthusiastically invites anyone interested to participate in this important next step by taking the online survey. The brand will likely be unveiled in Summer 2014.

December 9 the City of Dublin invites the community to participate in an online survey to provide their opinion about the city in which they live. The Community Survey has been developed to obtain feedback as part of the City’s Branding and Marketing project currently underway. The Survey will help to inform the development of Dublin’s brand. The Survey will be available December 9, 2013, through January 9, 2014, on the City’s website, www.dublin.ca.gov/branding.

City Branding: The Case of Barcelona. Full version.
9 November, 2013
"City branding: The Case of Barcelona" is a G+ Hangout coordinated by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (www.diplocat.cat) to address and debate how cities, and more precisely Barcelona, develop international promotion strategies to create brands.

Have a look in here.

Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau launches a New Convention City Brand
10 May 2013
Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau recently announced the new branding of Yokohama as Japan’s premier international convention city.“Japan’s First Port of Call” was designated as the selling message for Yokohama. Read more.
Criticism to the Gold Coast’s $180,000 Tourism Marketing & Destination Brand Logo
27 April 2013
Cold Coast, Australia lanched a new Destination logo. Criticism towards spending money to logos, as opposed to initiatives that influence images and consumer behavior, is elaborate by Mike Metcalfe in here
here.

Singapore appoints agency partners for brand building
25 April 2013
SINGAPORE – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has appointed creative, media, digital and digital production agencies as partners in STB’s destination brand building efforts for two years with effect from 1 May 2013.An open tender exercise was undertaken from November to December 2012, and saw a substantial number of submissions received from creative, media, digital and digital production agencies.

Read more.

City of Grodno, Belarus, launches brand development initiative
24 Apr 2013
Local authorities took a decision to have the city brand developed for Grodno, the head of the department of physical education, sport and tourism of the Grodno City Hall Ruslan Krasichkov told a press conference.

Preliminary work got already underway. Citizens, students, and others are involved in the discussion of ideas for the city brand. There are plans to announce a theme contest.

Most likely Grodno authorities will invite foreign professionals of territorial branding to refine the idea proposed by Grodno citizens and promote the Grodno brand. As a rule, foreign visitors see the city differently and often highlight other things than its residents. So foreign experts will be invited to consider the views of local residents, said Ruslan Krasichkov.

Most likely, the idea of the brand will be designed along the lines of the concept "Grodno - City of Museums". The brand should work effectively for the promotion of the city. It will include a logo and signature style of the city, colors, tune, etc. and will be used everywhere from postcards to public transport. The city brand should contribute to the economic development of Grodno, its popularity and prestige at international level.

No deadlines have yet been established, Ruslan Krasichkov said. The city authorities hope that the idea will be chosen after the active public discussion. However, it is possible that the first concrete proposals may be presented at the 10th Festival of National Cultures, which will be held in Grodno next summer.

Source.

Glasgow seeks rebranding ideas to help market the city
24 Apr 2013
People and businesses in Glasgow are being asked to come up with ideas for a new brand name to spearhead efforts in marketing the city at home and abroad.

Since 2004, Scotland's largest city has used "Glasgow: Scotland with style".

The aim is to have a new brand in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Responses can be given at the What Makes Glasgow Great website and also on Facebook. Postcards and collection-boxes have also been situated in more than 40 locations throughout the city.

The consultation, led by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, runs until 21 May.

'Next chapter'
Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said the existing brand had helped position Glasgow as "a world-class destination" and had been crucial in attracting and retaining tourism, retail and inward investment success.

He said: "Now, we're asking the people of Glasgow and anyone who wants to see Glasgow flourish to help us write the next chapter in the city's brand story.

"Next year, Glasgow will be in the spotlight like never before when a staggering 1.5bn TV viewers around the world will focus their attention on the city for the Commonwealth Games.

"We're on the starting blocks and as we approach one year to go we're starting a conversation that's aimed at ensuring our residents, visitors and expat Glaswegians the world over have every opportunity to help shape the brand that will represent Glasgow during those Games and beyond."

Source.

City of Murmansk to be branded
16 Apr 2013
City of Murmansk, Russia, launched a marketing move towards ‘successful branding’ for RUB 1 million.

Murmansk municipal committee of economic development announced a contest for city brand development. Designing and a marketing strategy are to be fully developed by end of 2014. The brand should underline certain unique features of the city. In the meantime a plan of activities should also be elaborated to promote the city as a tourism and investment destination.

Among other requirements stipulated by the assignment, a contest winner will need to analyze the current image of the city through the eyes of Russian and foreign tourists and investors, to study competitive advantages of other ‘rival cities’ in the North-West of Russia, and to define key values of Murmansk.

- While identifying advantages of Murmansk, one should focus on its unique geographic location that may market itself as a centre of Northern Sea Route development, Arctic exploration, and so on, reads the document.

Apart from creative and analytical abilities, the municipal contract will also require an academic approach. Officially known as a ‘research on development of the concept and promotion of the Murmansk city brand’, the contract requires a pool of scientifically-minded people to give academic support.

Applications for the municipal contract may be submitted till May 16.

Source.

City Branding Symposium 2013
21 Feb 2013
2nd City Branding Symposium will be held at Tsinghua University, Beijing, October 23-25, 2013. The conference theme is "Positioning Cities: Innovative and Sustainable Strategies for City Development and Transformation".

The symposium is hosted by Tsinghua University, School of Journalism and Communication and City Branding Studio, and sponsored by the School of Business and the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University, Peking University, the National Academy of Economic Strategy at CASS as well as the School of Management and the Nordic Centre at Fudan University.

The scope of the symposium covers the following six themes:
1.Strategic communications: Strategy and planning
2.Sensory positioning: Atmospheres and attractiveness
3.Identity and heritage in relation to positioning
4.Innovative social branding and inclusiveness
5.Branding and innovative urban planning
6.Governance and city branding

Read more.

City Branding Case studies
15 Feb 2013
A collection of City branding case studies have been lanched by internet service GoBookee.net. 15 case studies can be downloaded from here.

At Imagian we are looking forward and working towards more comparative studies, focusing to several cities at the same time.

Research on tourist destination brand equity and internal stakeholders

10 Dec, 2012
According to recently published scientific research (Sartori, Mottironi & Corigliano, 2012) successful destination branding strategies require the commitment and mobilization of internal stakeholders in order to reinforce the communication of the brand message to the tourist market. To this purpose, the literature suggests that adopting an inclusive and participative approach to the branding process can increase and maintain the stakeholders’ willingness to share the brand mission. However, the results of such sharing and involvement strategies in terms of internal brand equity creation are still under research. In order to fill such a gap, the article proposes to build on the established consumer-based brand equity model for assessing the internal stakeholder-based brand equity of tourist destinations. The model, comprising four dimensions – brand awareness, image, commitment, and satisfaction/loyalty – is then applied to the analysis of South Tyrol’s (Italy) regional branding strategy, through a survey of internal brand users. Findings confirm the importance of a participative approach to the branding process in order to enhance its overall internal equity. Findings also show a relevant information gap regarding brand performance that impacts the stakeholders’ commitment. This confirms the link between the internal and external performance of destination brands. Moreover, significant differences in the levels of brand awareness, commitment, and satisfaction among different categories of stakeholders suggest that the brand authorities should enact targeted internal communication efforts.

Source: Journal of Vacation Marketing, October 2012 vol. 18 no. 4 327-340

Singapore Tourism Board launches tender for destination brand building
26 Nov 2012
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched an open tender exercise today to appoint creative, media, digital and digital production agencies as partners in STB’s destination brand building efforts for a two year contract beginning April 2013, with an option to extend the contract for a further two years subject to satisfactory performance.

In the past year, STB has made a deliberate shift towards consumer-centric marketing, developing market-specific strategies and campaigns to address the evolving needs of consumers from Singapore’s key tourism markets. STB aims to attract agencies who, in their respective fields, can deliver solutions based on in-depth market knowledge and consumer understanding, have proven track records in building global brands, possess a strong network and presence in STB’s key markets, and have the commitment to develop a mutually beneficial long-term partnership with STB.

“We have deepened our understanding of consumers in our key markets, allowing us to develop relevant and appealing campaigns according to the needs of our visitors. Partnering strong creative, media, digital and digital production agencies will thus enable us to continue this emphasis on visitor-centricity in our marketing efforts,” said Ms Sophia Ng, Assistant Chief Executive, Marketing Group of the Singapore Tourism Board. “We see this as a partnership; beyond planning and executing campaigns, we want to work with agencies in building a strong Singapore destination brand.”

The impact of social media on destination branding

18 Jul, 2012
A new research comparing consumer-generated videos versus destination marketer-generated videos has been published in Journal of Vacation Marketing (Jul/2012).

The findings of Lim, Chung & Weaver were the following: A one-way conversation with consumers in destination branding was pervasive when destination-marketing organizations created and generated their destination brands. However, social media has made a two-way conversation possible with consumers participating in the development of a destination brand identity/image. This study investigates consumer perception of destination brands created by consumer-generated videos and destination-marketing organization videos. The findings suggest that consumer-generated videos do not carry the same destination brand as destination marketer-generated videos. In addition, consumer-generated videos have little positive impact on a destination brand. This study provides insight into destination-branding strategies with respect to the roles that social media plays in creating destination-brand identity and image.


From Czech Republic to Chechia
26 Nov, 2012
The CzechTourism invited proposals for a new destination brand. The entire process is surprisingly focused to logos and slogans, with an assumption that these are important in place branding. (At Imagian we do not share this view. On the contrary, we believe brands of places are buildt through actions and experiences, and logos/slogans have very little to do with this. [Who knows or cares what is the logo / slogan of Silicon Valley? Do they have one? If they would change it today, would that have any impact on their brand?]).

However, to get an understanding of a process strongly focused in this field, the following two presentations provide interesting insights.

Presentation of a proposal (unsuccessful) of new destination brand of the Czech Republic can be found in here. Created for CzechTourism. Compare with the winning concept at UnderConsideration website Brand New here.




Singapore launches facebook campaign
13 Jul, 2012
New Facebook campaign of Singapore Tourism Board - Destination Brand is presented in condesed format in here here. Unravel & Travel Challenge was to target Indian to re-visit Singapore as their next travel destination. The Facebook app is a quiz for Indian to challenge themselves if they have known Singapore well enough, according to their interest area, e.g. Culinary, Romance, Adventure, Family Fun.

Winners get free air tickets / hotel stays in Singapore.


Outer Hebrides Destination Branding tender
5 July, 2012
Outer Hebrides set for creation of destination branding as it implements tourism marketing plan

The Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association has appointed Bright3d to create destination branding for the Scottish Islands.

The appointment of the £15,000 contract, follows a tender-process and will see the agency tasked with the creation of branding for the Outer Hebrides (OHTIA), as the strategic vision of the Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association is implemented.

The strategy will see the OHTIA manage a number of projects, which will aim to complement the work of VisitScotland, to rive tourism to the islands.

That vision will aim to position the islands as “a unique island hopping destination, with a rich heritage, an outstanding natural environment, and a vibrant food, art and craft culture” with a strategy planned to run until 2015.

The creation of a destination brand is the latest in the marketing plan, which will see it used as a catalyst for the creation of a ‘unified approach’ to tourism marketing and promotion. This will then be made freely available to all businesses and organisations that wish to promote the Outer Hebrides as a destination.

Source.

Local Japan: Case Studies in Place Promotion

June 27, 2012
The latest ‘Local Japan’ case study, by Dr Thomas Jones of Meiji University, looks at the case of Toya-Usu Geopark in Toyako municipality on Hokkaido as an example of how place branding of nature assets can be used to promote sustainable tourism in Japan. You can read the case study here(PDF).

Earlier Local Japan case studies on place promotion through pop culture, regional PR and sustainability can be viewed here.


Knoxville, Tennessee Adopts New Name, Logo, and New Leadership

27 Jun, 2012
After 10 years of bringing business to Knoxville and diversifying Knoxville’s economy, the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation (KTSC) is now doing business as Visit Knoxville. The name change was announced on July 10 at the Board of Directors meeting.

The name Visit Knoxville makes finding Knoxville visitor information easier, reinforces the organization's marketing efforts, is more industry-familiar with meeting planners, and reduces confusion about the organization's purpose.

"Visit Knoxville instantly identifies our industry and business," said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “We needed a name that represents a call to action and brings visitors to Knoxville and Knox County and engage the locals, and visit is the word.”

The move to change the name isn’t a new phenomenon for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs), as several tourism organizations have made similar changes in the last few years. Examples include, Pittsburgh, PA., Charlotte, N.C., Portland, Ore., Buffalo, N.Y., Norfolk, Va., and Fort Wayne, Ind., to name a few more.

Over the last several years, the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) has developed a brand strategy called Destination BrandScience to encourage destinations to implement a genuine destination brand process. As the DMAI encourages DMOs/CVBs to embrace this mandate of defining a destination’s brand, many CVBs/DMOs have changed the name of their organization to incorporate a call to action and to emphasize the destination’s unique assets. It is for this reason that the KTSC changed the name to the Knoxville Convention and Visitors Bureau (dba Visit Knoxville).

Tourism is big business in Tennessee and in Knoxville,” said Bo Connor, Chair of the Visit Knoxville Board of Directors. “It is important that we develop a regional and national image that will position Knoxville in other marketplaces as a viable destination for meetings and visitors. This, in turn, will bring an influx of tourism dollars that benefits the local economy.”

One new initiative from newly appointed President Kim Bumpas is additional parking opportunities at the Knoxville Visitor Center in downtown. Employee parking has been converted into visitor parking to add additional parking places for visitors.

“Adding additional parking at the Visitor Center is the first step in improving the visitor experience,” said Bumpas. “Visitors will get a two-hour parking permit from the Visitor Center, and this will allow us to capture valuable visitor information, which will help with future branding studies and research. The new initiative is a positive step to enhance tourism experiences in our community.”

Source



Several smaller North American cities engage in Place Branding
May 16th, 2012
Timmins, Ontario, Canada (pop ) has set out a place brand building Request for Proposals. The estimated budget is $80.000-100.000 and submissions are due May 24th, 2012. Get the RFP from here.

Lake Havasu, Arizona (pop 52.000), USA, is about to craft a Request for Proposals during summer 2012. Read more: http://www.havasunews.com/articles/2012/05/18/news/doc4fb5d6506be34995913841.txt

Royse City, Texas, USA, plans to begin with a brand research worth of $ 50.000. Read more.

Philippines announces national brand identity
Feb 1st, 2012
The Department of Tourism has been working on a destination brand for years and the lack of brand identity has been cited by many as a major inhibitor to growth of international tourism in the country. Finally, after years of waiting, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has announced the new brand slogan.

“Focusing on the country’s core strength, the campaign singles out what no other destination can offer - and that is the Filipino people,” read a department statement.

Commenting on the new slogan, Tourism Secretary, Ramon Jimenez, Jr., said; “Our strategy is simple. While other countries invite you to observe, Filipinos can promise a more heartfelt and interesting experience. Wherever you go, whatever you do in the country, it’s the Filipinos that will complete your vacation and will make your holiday unforgettable.”

Since taking over as Tourism Secretary towards the end of last year, Jiminez has been pushing hard to give the Philippines a brand identity. Furthermore, he has tended to put the people at the centre of his promotional efforts, by combining social media campaigns with the strength of the Philippine Diaspora across the world, for example.

“The Filipinos are already known around the world to be one of the happiest and warmest people on earth. [This] campaign hopes to enjoin the whole country in creating positive buzz of the tagline.”

As the international campaign is underway, the DOT is also developing a national initiative under the line ‘#1FORFUN’ to rally the nation.

“The national line is a goal, a constant reminder to ourselves why we can tell travellers it’s more fun here than anywhere else,” says the Secretary.“It needs everyone’s support for it to stay true—we need to make sure people’s experiences in our country are positive, enjoyable, and most of all, fun.”

Source


Singapore unveils differentiated marketing campaigns

Dec 22, 2011
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched its series of differentiated marketing campaigns, starting with the New Discoveries campaign in Beijing, China. This has been tailored to suit the needs of consumers in China. In the coming months, customised marketing plans will be rolled out in phases across other key markets, including Australia, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The new approach, which is focused on addressing consumer needs, marks a departure from the destination marketing strategy that STB used to employ across different markets. The consumer marketing approach has resulted in more targeted and integrated marketing campaigns that will comprise PR, above and below-the-line advertising and digital marketing.

"In the past year, we have deepened the understanding of consumers in the various regions. This has allowed us to develop strategies that are customised to the needs of individual markets. By understanding consumer needs, we can create and deliver better quality experiences to visitors. This is a natural evolution of the YourSingapore destination brand that emphasises the personalisation of experiences. We believe that this visitor-centricity will increase the appeal and relevance of Singapore, and help build a stronger brand in the long term." said Ms Sophia Ng, Executive Director, Brand and Marketing of the Singapore Tourism Board.

Earlier this year, STB embarked on various in-market engagements with consumers and trade which have provided an increased understanding of the consumers from these initial launch markets. This, coupled with STB’s market knowledge gleaned from years of operating overseas, enabled the team to develop customised marketing plans. With these insights, STB will also work with industry partners, both locally and in the markets, to develop and package more meaningful destination experiences.

Chinese Consumer Insights & New Discoveries Campaign

From conversations with various consumers and trade, STB found that whilst Chinese still come on packaged tours, many are increasingly making their own online bookings and travelling as free, independent travellers. More significantly, they sought a greater depth of travel experiences that include new, unique experiences.

"The New Discoveries marketing campaign leverages this consumer insight in order to enhance our engagement with the Chinese audience. Singapore is a city that is constantly evolving and renewing itself. On top of what consumers already know of Singapore’s well-known tourist attractions, we want to help Chinese deepen their understanding of our city, providing them with compelling reasons to visit Singapore again and again." added Ms Ng, "Not only do we want to share the new experiences that Singapore offers, we would also like to encourage our Chinese visitors to look beyond the surface and uncover for themselves the hidden gems."

STB has also partnered with three major travel agencies in China, namely GZL International Travel Service, CYTS and Ctrip to launch a series of New Discoveries packaged tours. In addition to pre-arranged flight and accommodation options, these free and easy tour packages come with a fully personalisable itinerary. Chinese can choose from a menu of dining, culture and retail recommendations, coupled with essential travel services such as car rental and guided tours. Alternatively, semi free and easy tour packages, with guided tour services for the first part of the tour, can help first-time visitors familiarise themselves with Singapore, before they customise their itinerary for the remaining part of the trip.

The New Discoveries launch event was held at Beijing’s edgy 798 art district with home-grown celebrity Stefanie Sun playing her part as Singapore’s Tourism Ambassador for Greater China by sharing her favourite spots in Singapore. In the coming months, the campaign will also feature local Chinese advocates at various PR and communication touch points, including social media platforms such as Sina Weibo, Douban and Renren to reach the Chinese audience.

Source


Scottish Government claim £89.5m economic benefit from 'Surprise Yourself' campaign

29 Oct, 2011

VisitScotland claims that its most recent domestic advertising campaign ‘Surprise Yourself’ has produced its best results, raising £89.9m for the Scottish economy since it began in March.

The announcement was made by the organisation’s chairman Mike Cantlay and Scottish Government cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney, who added that a survey revealed that 70% of respondents had found the £3.5m advert, created by The Leith Agency, to be more emotionally engaging that previous campaigns.

VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay said: “We are delighted with the results so far for Surprise Yourself. This is clear evidence that the staycation trend is far from over and we hope that the campaign will continue to inspire potential visitors and locals alike to explore the fantastic things to see and do in Scotland.”

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government and VisitScotland are working hard to position Scotland as a first class destination for business and leisure tourism. The ‘Surprise Yourself’ campaign has generated an additional £89.9 million to Scotland’s economy since its launch in March – making it VisitScotland’s most successful domestic campaign to date.

“This positive news follows on from the latest ONS figures which show Scotland has seen a six per cent increase in domestic visitors in the first six months of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010, and a 13 per cent increase in expenditure. This growth is testament to the success of VisitScotland’s push on the ‘staycation’ market.

“More than 80 per cent of Scotland’s visitors come from the UK and the further strengthening of this market is very encouraging as we move into the ‘winning years’, which aims to capitalise on the huge economic opportunities that lie ahead, including the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, Homecoming 2014, Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.”

Source: http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2011/10/24/visitscotland-and-scottish-government-claim-%C2%A3895m-economic-benefit-surprise-yourself

Soul City launches social media campaign
Dec 8, 2011
In order to attract viewers and followers, Soul City has launched its first social media campaign 'Be There When the Sparks Fly' that encourages viewers to tune in and engage with the cast by following Soul City on viral platforms, Facebook and Twitter.

Users get to comment on the actors' roles, and their reactions and opinions on the key messaging in the new series. The themes addressed in Series 11 Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) and financial literacy.

Soul City has commissioned advertising agency June 15 for the creative execution of the creative concept ‘Be there when the Sparks Fly’ which was inspired by the literal, physical sparks that fly as a result of an electrical short that causes the local clinic to burn down in the new season. It also embodies the conflict and tension that arises between the different characters as a result of the fire and the themed messages of the series. The sparks also represent the everyday struggles, differences and decisions that the community encounters.

John Molefe senior executive marketing and public affairs says “The creative team uses striking imagery to portray the heated emotions that exist in the series, the result of which is a high impact campaign that attracts attention. But it also urges viewers to interact with the brand, whether it is through the viewing of another episode or joining the conversation on various social platforms. Soul City's weekly live chats with some of the cast enable viewers to express their thoughts and ideas in an open environment and give them an opportunity to discuss how the issues relate or conflict with their personal attitudes, values and beliefs and the impact on their lives.”

The social media marketing campaign aims to draw viewers to Soul City’s social media platforms where weekly episode synopses, competitions and polls, photographs and online chats with health experts and cast members. The platforms provide followers with interesting and provocative content as well as useful contact details for local support groups and clinics. In this way the messaging is relevant, realistic and appropriate, and provides ongoing accessible, high quality and entertaining channels to address the educational needs of its audience.

Molefe concludes "The objective of the campaign is to present the Soul City brand in a way that the target audience identifies with and that communicates an integrated message in a language that captures and expresses the essence of Soul City. In this way, Soul City is able to engage and interact with the different audience members and online followers."

Source


Maldives Announces New Nation Brand

8 December 2011
BANGKOK, 7th November 2011 – A new nation brand for the Republic of Maldives, has been unveiled in the island nation's capital, Male. The logo and "Always Natural" tagline, developed by QUO Keen, was approved by President Mohamed Nasheed at a full cabinet meeting.

"The slogan and logo are designed to underscore the outstanding natural beauty of the Maldives, which tourists from all segments of the market consistently rate as one of their main reasons for visiting the country", said MMPRC Chairperson Thoyyib Mohamed.

David Keen, CEO of QUO Keen said: "We have created a brand that stands for the Maldivian people, for tourism and for all of Maldivian industry. The slogan "Always Natural" talks to the wonderful character of the people of the Maldives, to sustainability and to the ultimate tourism experience. The logo has been hand-crafted to express the natural elements of the country formed in a thumb print."

QUO Keen has worked in close conjunction with key stakeholders including the MMPRC and other public and private bodies. It carried out extensive research projects in order to craft a new unified identity for the Maldives which goes above and beyond the current image of a luxury honeymoon destination. The final identity will be brought into immediate use.

The mark has been created with the aim of becoming not just a tourism brand, but a brand with transferability to all areas of Maldivian life and livelihood, from sustainable energy, to fishing and other local industries, to the natural smiles of the people of the Islands.

David Keen added: "While the mark and tagline speak clearly of the natural beauty of the Islands and will appeal to tourists around the world, the new identity has also been created for investors interested in the drive towards sustainability, and those drawn to conduct business with a country of unique natural characteristics. The new brand offers unique cross-marketing possibilities."

The identity reinforces government policy of repositioning the Maldives as a country focused on sustainability, and with a wide range of offerings across all spectrums. It draws on the topography, culture, and people of the nation and will appeal not only to traditional markets, but also to the growing inbound tourism markets of China, Japan and India.

"The MMPRC is delighted with the end result and we look forward to proudly communicating the new brand to the world," added Simon Hawkins, Managing Director of the MMPRC.

Source

Brand USA unveiled
Nov 7, 2011
United States unveiled today "Brand USA", the country's first-ever global travel promotion brand. A global brand positioning and strategy before an international audience of travel professionals and destinations in London. Brand USA (formerly the Corporation for Travel Promotion) was created for the purpose of encouraging travelers from all over the world to visit the United States of America. The public-private marketing entity was created in 2010 to work in close partnership with the travel industry maximizing the social and economic benefit of travel in communities around the country. Brand USA, through its call-to-action "Discover America," aims to encourage and inspire travelers to explore America's travel possibilities.

Source

EU working on its brand
Oct 26, 2011
EuroPCom 2011 - "Share (y)our voice" conference. 19-20 October Brussels.

The second edition of EuroPCom gathered 650 communication managers and senior experts of local, regional, national and European authorities to share their strategic insights and practical experiences in actual communication challenges.

Several presentations were directed to Place Branding, including presentations from Simon Anholt, Teemu Moilanen (from Imagian Ltd), Mihalis Kavaratzis, Magdalena Florek, Robert Govers, Juan Carlos Belloso and Jean-Marie Dru. Download presentations here

The ambition of EuroPCom is to improve public sector communication by
•sharing best practices among public communicators of major European, national, regional and local institutions, about themes such as branding, social media or dialogue with citizens;
•stimulating active involvement of decentralised communicators in the communication strategy of the European institutions;
•enhancing transfer of professional communication know-how towards all political levels;
•facilitating networking among those working in public communication across the EU.

Over 650 public sector communication professionals from all over Europe have attended the conference and engaged in debates and the exchange of expertise. The audience's active engagement during the, sometimes rather provocative, panel debates showed that the topics and opinions presented by the speakers have a high relevance and that only a constant exchange of expertise can lead to fruitful solutions to current communication challenges.

The need for common strategies and the communications experts' enthusiasm to find those also showed to good effect in the active networking and debates that took place during the breaks and after the event.

The EuroPcom team of the Committee of the Regions, together with the co-organising colleagues of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the Polish EU Presidency, would like to thank all participants for their contributions which have made this event so unique and important.

Follow-up and evaluation
Soon a full evaluation of the EuroPCom-conference will be made available on this website. This evaluation will contain the proceedings of all sessions and workshops, statistics, participants' feedback etc.

Source

Marketing of Chengdu's urban image wins awards

Oct 11 2011
The most influential advertising events in China - China International Advertising Festival will be held in Shenyang, capital city of Liaoning province, from September 24 to 27. The assignment "Chengdu recruits ambassadors globally" won the "Effie Awards of China for Effectiveness 2011"—deemed the industry's version of the Oscar awards. The project "zero-cost of Chengdu element implanted into KungFu Panda 2" won the "2011 Marketing Excellence Award for City Brand."

After becoming the first local government to gain the "Effie Awards of China for Effectiveness" in 2009, Chengdu picked up the award a second time for its "integrated promotion of the city image after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake" campaign.

With many Chengdu elements appearing in this year's Hollywood hit movie "KungFu Panda 2", the media has branded it "commercials that Hollywood creates for Chengdu". Fortunately, it was a free promotion for Chengdu. With the zero-cost, Chengdu gained the biggest return. Chengdu's promotional effort has attracted extensive attention in the marketing and communication sector. Thus "Marketing Summit of City Brand" specifically invites Chengdu delegations to introduce its successful marketing experience.

Source: China Daily


Capetown Harnessing the Brand-building Value of Residents

Oct 6, 2011
FREE VOUCHERS: BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY

While the residents of many large cities think they know their city very well, they are often stumped when they’re hosting out of town friends and family. Not enough cities try to harness the power of their residents as potential brand ambassadors to invite and host friends and relatives in their city. Cape Town, South Africa is very much aware of these benefits and for the third year will host My Cape Town, a month-long celebration of the city for residents and a chance to be a tourist in their own city.

The My Cape Town campaign is coordinated by Cape Town Tourism in partnership with brand ambassadorsmajor attractions like Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Cape Point, City Sightseeing and many other city attractions, all of which encourage locals to experience their city as a tourist, and through new eyes. Cape Town Tourism will give away $US 50,000 worth of vouchers to the city’s attractions through competitions on local radio stations and newspapers.

“Many Capetonians believe that because they’ve lived here all their lives they know the city like the back of their hand, and they have experienced much of what our city has to offer, but that’s not to say that a diverse, ever-changing city like ours won’t surprise every now and then! And still, there are many locals that have never been to the top of Table Mountain or to Robben Island. September is the month to do it and My Cape Town provides them with the opportunity to truly know and love your city,” said Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

Read more
By Bill Baker


Five things you need to know about city branding today

Sep 22, 2011
In a Campaign Asia column, Lynne Anne Davis, Fleishman-Hillard regional president for Asia Pacific, offers five lessons for a city trying to grow its brand. Topics include the new era of icons and why a crisis provides the ultimate opportunity to “emerge as a leader.”

1. National branding is too broad, cities are the real growth drivers for transformation

The real buzz and battlefield is at the city level. This means the way upstart cities get branded and how more established urban centers refresh their brands will directly impact how urban competition unfolds and economic growth shifts. According to McKinsey & Co:
• By 2050, 75 per cent of the world’s population will be in cities, many in Asia.
• By 2025, more than 20 of the world’s top 50 cities will be in Asia.
• By 2027, nearly 40 per cent of global growth will occur in 400 midsize cities in emerging markets that are barely known today (That is a bigger contributor to global growth than the combined total of all developed economies, plus the emerging markets’ megacities -- the ones with more than 10 million people – such as Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai)

2. How cities are defined and judged has evolved with dramatically new expectations for greatness

“Livability” is a critical factor to attracting business. Criteria to be considered a “smart city” is growing and getting more sophisticated.

Being “environmentally sound” and “sustainable” are chief among new benchmarks. New eco-cities like Songdo , South Korea are raising the bar with centralized waste disposable systems using pneumatic tubes. Another -- Masdar City in the UAE -- boasts a goal of zero waste and carbon emissions.

Cities, new and old, must work harder and smarter to remain relevant. In doing so, the attributes a city projects to define its brand must be authentic. From that factual foundation, cities can and should be aspirational, highlighting their goals and positioning in a changing new world order.

3. The new era of icons do more, mean more

Since the Egyptian pyramids, cities have built icons to symbolize their assets and aspirations to the world. As Asian finance is back in growth mode, Singapore is one of several business hubs jockeying to be an investment gateway to the region and the pre-eminent international financial centre.

Its new Marina Bay Financial Centre was developed to define Singapore, but it is so much more, because it doubles as its financial district. By the end of 2010, it attracted over S$20 billion of private real estate investments.

Another leading Asian city, Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world, symbolizing its commercial and financial clout. It attracts shoppers by the droves; as much as 56 per cent of its visitor spending goes to shopping.

The Hong Kong Tourism Association has been innovative and through partnership with the private sector its skyline comes alive every night with a dazzling display of lasers synchronized with music. Hong Kong’s skyline is a global icon of progress and prosperity.

4. By selling their softer sides and being savvy with digital media, cities can compete with “super brands” – and become one

A fresh wave of sectors -- creative arts, culture, heritage and environmental experiences –has supplanted fatigued industries such as manufacturing when it comes to city branding and economic impact.

A good example is the south Indian hotspot of Kerala. From an unknown coastal state, Kerala decided to spotlight its quaint, scenic beauty over agricultural produce, to transform into a niche eco-tourism destination.

The online world has been a leveler for Kerala where digitally savvy upstart destinations can have the same reach, power, and presence of a New York City or London. Through micro-blogging, ipad and iphone apps, strategic video placements and portal strategies, Kerala projected its brand promise worldwide, starting in 2008.

It was since named one of the 10 paradises of the world by the National Geographic Traveler magazine. The economic impact has been extraordinary.

It is a perfect example of how innovative thinking, creativity, aspiration and social media can fast-track modern cities.

5. A city in crisis is the ultimate test and opportunity to recover, rebrand and emerge a leader

Strong leadership when a crisis hits determines the city’s posture, and the speed and effectiveness of its recovery, not only as a community, but as a brand.

One of the “brands” hit especially hard recently is Japan -- and Fukushima, in particular. How it responds to the multiple disasters on 311 could set the bar for re-branding in the face of crisis. Among many measures is a movement for instating Fukushima as a special economic zone to accelerate growth. The site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters has the chance to lead the world in renewable energy development.

The Japanese are world-renowned leaders in innovation and this event stands to reinforce that pre-eminence. As the Japanese say, from the tide of misfortunes come blessings.

Source



City branding case study report released
Aug 01, 2011
With increased competition between cities in Europe to attract investors, business and consumers, the role of city branding in building sustained awareness and reputation is more important than ever. ‘City Branding and Urban Investment’, a new InfoBurst report published today by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), examines different approaches by four cities to increase their brand value.

The ULI Urban Investment Network report profiles Hamburg, Barcelona, Edinburgh and London, four cities that in different ways have evolved their brands to achieve differentiation and distinctiveness within their domestic and international markets. The report also identifies ten key principles for successful city branding.

Download the report here.


Corporations and Black Metal bands branding Nations
Aug 02,2011
Few recent articles in Nation-branding.info point out amusingly the expanding array of branding practices.

The first one is "It’s up to corporates to build Brand India", while the second one "Norway to use black metal for nation branding" tells that the Norwegian foreign ministry has begun training aspiring diplomats in the Black Metal sub-culture, after foreign service missions noticed a rise in enquiries about the musical genre from around the world.

Perhaps the pratice of place branding is finally growing out of it's massive but fruitless focus to logos and slogans. At least in India and Norway.


“I Ride Park City” Announces Improvements
July 27, 2011
“I Ride Park City,” Park City Mountain Resort’s action sports brand announces enhancements for the 2011-2012 winter season, including a new 3 Kings Chairlift, a permanent Cobra Dogs structure, additions to the PC All Star team and a newly launched website, irideparkcity.tv.

“Last year was a transformative year for us with the improvements to the 3 Kings Park and the addition of Cobra Dogs,” says Jeremy Cooper, terrain park manager. “I am excited to be able to continue to improve Park City’s action sports program and strongly feel that the improvements we are working on this summer will allow us to remain one of the top park programs in the country.”

The 3 Kings chairlift is being replaced with a triple chairlift that will double the carrying capacity of the lift. The new chairlift will allow skiers and snowboarders to access the terrain park and Eagle Superpipe faster. Dirt work is underway on the Eagle Superpipe to allow the Resort to open the pipe earlier in the season. Also, a permanent Cobra Dogs structure will be built adjacent to the base of the 3 Kings chairlift.

Local skiers Alex Schlopy and Joss Christensen have recently been named to the Park City All Star team. Both skiers experienced a breakthrough season in 2010-2011, including Schlopy’s World Championship win on his home turf at Park City. Both Schlopy and Christensen grew up riding and training on the Park City terrain and are perfect additions to the team of professional skiers and snowboarders who all ride Park City.

The “I Ride Park City” brand was introduced during the 10-11 winter season. The recently launched website, irideparkcity.tv was designed to showcase not only our team of All Stars, but the progression happening daily in our parks and pipe. Be sure to check the site regularly as video clips, professional caliber photography and blog posts are updated throughout the season.

Season Passes for the 2011-2012 Winter Season are on sale now. The Resort is continuing with the “My Pass. My Way.” program introduced last season. Passholders are able to choose the pass options that best fit their skiing and riding style. Available options include night skiing and riding, Fast Tracks access to the Resort’s most popular chairlifts and underground parking. Season passes are available for purchase online at www.irideparkcity.tv/iridepc/resort-info/tickets-and-passes

About “I Ride Park City”: “I Ride Park City” Park City Mountain Resort’s action sports brand, named among the top terrain parks in the country, is located in the heart of Park City, Utah, and is only a 35-minute drive from the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Source: http://snowboarding.transworld.net/1000156068/news/i-ride-park-city-announces-improvements-for-the-2011-2012-winter-season/

Cape Town in brand vacuum
June 10 2011
With the World Cup having come and gone, the City of Cape Town has found itself in a brand vacuum.

Source: http://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/brand-cape-town-needs-a-breath-of-fresh-air-1.1081716


New Republique to redefine City of Sydney's digital brand

June 07, 2011
Digital creative agency New Republique has been engaged by the City of Sydney to develop their online brand strategy.

The city's brief was to create a sophisticated web experience that caters to the needs of a wide variety of groups in a unique and compelling way. A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said that the team was excited by what New Republique could bring to the project, the results of which will go live later in the year.

New Republique launched in 2010 with an approach that has resonated with brands at the top end of the street including the City of Sydney, Coca-Cola, National Australia Bank, Tourism SA, Zurich and University of Western Sydney.

Utilising bespoke digital brand planning tools, New Republique's approach effectively merges traditional ad agency thinking and process (brand architecture and business problem solving), linking physical brands with the digital space.

Nima Yassini, Representative of New Republique said the company was thrilled by the opportunity to apply its digital planning tools on the City of Sydney project.

"We will be assisting them in taking a world class city brand to the next digital level," he said.

Source


What will 2011 bring?
Feb 28, 2011
Read Interbrand's sector predictions from here
here.

Yukon seeks Tourism Sales Contractor
Feb 25
Yukon, the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories, launched a Request for proposals - Tourism Sales Contractor for German Speaking Europe. Tender closing in March 31, 2011. Read more here.

Involving citizens, Tourism Australia's new campaign
17 Feb 2011
Tourism Australia's most recent campaign was conceived by creatives at DDB Sydney and featured the strapline, "There's nothing like Australia", and TV advertising featuring a song of the same name.

The campaign collected testimonials from Australian citizens, detailing why they love their country. More than 30,000 people uploaded their stories on the site www.nothinglikeaustralia.com.

The entries have been used to create an interactive digital map of Australia, made up of the things Australians think are special about the country.


West Australia state seeks consultants
09 Feb, 2011
The West Australia state government is moving to the next phase of its redevelopment of the Perth Cultural Centre, with six tenders currently being advertised from which a team of consultants will be selected to develop a master plan for the precinct.

Among the roles advertised recently by the East Perth Redevelopment Authority (Epra), which is overseeing the project, is an urban designer to lead the master planning for the area and a place or vision consultant to “develop place brand and define place vision” for the centre.

Read more here.




Brand Kenya launches city branding initiative
09 Feb, 2011
The Brand Kenya board has launched a Towns and cities branding initiative across the country which kicked off in Kisumu County on Thursday, Feb 03, 2011.

The program aims at enlightening Local Authorities on managing image and reputation of their respective cities in order to make them desirable places to live, work and invest.

Read more here.


1000 visitors expected in Global City 2011, Abu Dhabi
08 Feb, 2011
The focus for the fifth edition of Global City event, March 15-17 2011, which will be held at Emirates Palace, is "Visionary Values," as well as the elements that make sustainable cities inclusive, competitive, cultural and livable; these issues will spark much-needed debate around burning topics such as identity and culture, setting new standards for knowledge sharing, potentially influencing strategic city visions currently being formulated throughout the world. Global City 2011, Abu Dhabi, will also address some of the new challenges posed by growing global urbanization, including social inclusion, investment attraction, employment growth, environmental security, new infrastructure development and respect for the environment.

With more than 1,000 guests expected to attend, the forum will provide an opportunity for participants to exchange concrete solutions and best practices, present case studies, generate discussion and share knowledge and insight with city leaders and expert advisers from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

Read more from here.



Your country needs you - time to sell brand britain

1 Feb, 2011
The UK’s image has suffered as a result of student riots, losing the 2018 World Cup bid and alleged tax avoidance by brands. Lou Cooper from Marketing Weeklooks at how events this year and next might improve our country’s brand image and how this might affect marketers.

Read more

Accrediting the success of Bilbao’s urban regeneration to the Guggenheim Museum is misguided
Jan 31, 2011
“Do you expect me to be proud because somebody from Tampa knows where Bilbao is because of the Guggenheim Museum?”. She’s a proud Basque, Arantxa Rodriguez says of herself, but it also becomes apparent during her presentation at the Urbact Multilevel Urban Governance Conference in Liege, Belgium. Rodriguez tells a room full of participants about the real Guggenheim effect and how it cannot be accredited fully for the success that is Bilbao. She explains that Bilbao used to be very rich then there was a crisis and then there was the Guggenheim, according to many. Not Rodriguez. “Bilbao, beautiful and attractive! But for who?” is the name of her presentation. “What I have been arguing for the last 15 years is that urban regeneration in Bilbao is a multidimensional process involving a series of dynamics at various scales (not necessarily always strategically coordinated or integrated) that extend well beyond the simplistic reduction of “the Guggenheim effect””.

About Arantxa Rodriguez
Arantxa Rodríguez is Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the Faculty of Business and Economics (Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales) of the University of the Basque Country (Universidad del País Vasco – Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea) in Bilbao (Spain). She teaches urban and regional economics and planning. Her research deals with dynamics of territorial development and planning. During the last few years, her research has focused on urban regeneration strategies and policies and, particularly the consequences of large-scale urban redevelopment schemes for socio-spatial fragmentation.

The Guggenheim Museum is good for Bilbao’s city branding but not per se for its urban revitalization
Obviously, there is no discussion that Frank Gehry’s lucky architecture and the iconic effect of the building have, indeed, provided a ready-made city branding means for Bilbao. Yet, one thing is to recognize the successful branding and city marketing contribution of the Guggenheim Museum (i.e. the building itself rather than the Museum activity) in terms of selling the city and attracting visitors, and another very different (and misguided) argument is to assign it the sole or even main role in Bilbao’s urban revitalization process. In my opinion, the main contribution of the Guggenheim Museum is related to its key role in the construction of a new urban identity for Bilbao making it more appealing and marketable in a context where cities increasingly compete for attention, investment, visitors, events, talent, etc. City branding is seen today as a critical means to make cities desirable, attractive and successful and the Guggenheim Museum has effectively provided Bilbao with this new identity of a modern, cultural, dynamic, artsy, avant-garde and successful city.

Source

Kosovo ‘nation branding’ campaign wins award
Jan 20, 2011
'Young Europeans’, Kosovo’s ‘nation branding’ campaign created by BBR Saatchi & Saatchi, won the Best Nation and Place Branding category at the 2010 M&M Awards (http://www.mandmawards.com/).

The fact that 60% of Kosovars are younger than 35 was something Saatchi & Saatchi picked up on, which helped it win a tender that initially had 10 interested parties. “A campaign that focused on the beautiful landscape, or a historical spot was not enough for us. This was not a tourism campaign.” says Memli Krasniqi, Government spokesman of Kosovo.

“Our twofold mission is to tell the world what Kosovo is and what it has to offer,” he adds, pointing to the resources that will drive growth. Its coal reserves and ski resorts are two examples.

The M&M Awards, now in their 20th year, celebrate the creation and effectiveness of marketing strategies coordinated and implemented across international borders. The Best Nation/Place Branding Campaign is a new category for 2010, introduced in recognition of the increasing importance of international marketing campaigns created by national governments to promote a nation on the world stage.

The 5 other campaigns shortlisted in the category were for South Africa, London, Dubai, Bahrain and Madrid.

Memphis to commission city branding project

Nov 24th, 2010
Memphis is a brand with some positive associations -- music, fun, nostalgia, a hint of mystery.

Mayor A C Wharton and some private donors want to broaden that image and dispel some of the myths about the city.

They're doing it by commissioning a privately funded $200,000 plan of attack and hiring a publicly funded $64,000-a-year branding manager at City Hall.


Singapore Tourist Board hunts for PR agency to spice up image in UK
Nov 24th, 2010
The Singapore Tourist Board is on the hunt for a PR agency to change UK media perceptions that it is a 'sterile business city'.The tourist board has rel­eased a tender for an initial 12-month contract, which could be extended to two years, kicking off in January 2011.

The PR brief is the second largest currently up for grabs with the city. Last month, Singapore’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Arts kicked off a pitch process for an agency to handle its global reputation, particularly among businesses, investors and media.

Both briefs are asking agencies to help present Singapore as vibrant and exciting city.

The most recent brief, issued by the Singapore Tourist Board, is frank about the country’s reputational challenges in the UK. An RFP document sent to agencies reads: ‘The current media perception of Singapore in the UK is that of a sterile business city that is most famous for Raffles, and the country’s national airline. The colourful, vibrant, modern and progressive country is rarely focused on.’

To change this perception, the tourist board is asking the chosen agency to promote the city’s fashion, food, architecture and urban greenery. It also wants to highlight Singapore’s major developments including new casino-based resorts such as the £4bn Marina Bay Sands.

The tourist board is particularly keen to target leisure and business travellers aged 35 to 54 with a high disposable household income.

It wants to increase visitor numbers by focusing on the luxury lifestyle market and encourage transit and stop­over traffic to stay longer in the city.

The city recently launched a new brand, ‘Your Singapore’, in April to replace the previous ‘Uniquely Singapore’ destination brand.

As PRWeek went to press, the deadline for expressions of interest was looming, with agencies required to submit by 25 November. Pitching will take place in early December.

Source: PRWeek.com

Maldives commences major destination rebranding initiative

Nov 12, 2010
The Republic of the Maldives is set to undergo a comprehensive destination branding evolution to enhance the Indian Ocean island nation’s global image and broaden its appeal to wider markets.

Commencing immediately, the rebranding will culminate in the development of a new logo, slogan, advertising strategy and worldwide campaign set to launch in 2011.

“The Maldives is a vibrant, thriving destination that is embracing its heritage while continuing to transition into a 21st-century nation. We aim to unite all of the country’s unique natural, cultural and historical attributes and enliven them with fresh dynamism to position the Maldives as the must-see destination of our time for all travellers,” said Thoyyib Mohamed, Minister of State for Tourism.

Spearheaded by the Maldives Tourism Promotion Board, the initiative will focus on enhancing the positioning of the nation’s tourism product, strengthening its image in established key source markets while broadening its appeal to wider audiences and emerging niche markets.

Key to the rebranding initiative was the selection of an external brand strategy and communications agency to carry out the brand evolution and develop the communications strategy. Through a global tender process that drew responses from agencies across the globe, Bangkok-based travel and tourism branding specialist agency KEEN was selected to develop the country’s new identity.

While evolution of the country’s tourism positioning will be a central driver of the rebranding process, the Maldives will also seek to present itself as a destination offering a wider array of opportunities for business and investment, with the goal of spurring development and building a national image that its people will embrace with pride.

About the Maldives: The Maldives is an archipelago nation of 1,190 islands in the Indian Ocean renowned for its pristine beaches and island environment. Annual GDP growth has averaged 7.5% over the last 15 years, and is largely led by two major economic drivers – tourism and fishing. Europe and Asia are the nation’s primary tourism source markets, led by UK, Italy, China, France, Germany, and Japan. Total tourism arrivals for 2009 totalled approximately 680,000.

Source

EUROCITIES launched 'City Branding in Europe'
Nov 12, 2010
EUROCITIES launched a new report on City Branding, labelled "A Shared vision on City Branding in Europe".

The contents: 1. Introduction, 2. Why have a city brand strategy?, 3. How to build a City Brand from City Identity?, 4. What type of brand and strategy?, 5. How to involve stakeholders?, 6. How to promote the brand?, 7. How to manage the brand?, 8. Conclusion

Download it from here

Seoul city branding chosen IDEA/Brazil Award winner
Nov 12, 2010
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has won the gold of IDEA/Brazil 2010 Awards, a coveted international design competition in South America, in the category of design strategy and environment for its design-related policy in recognition of Mayor Oh Se-hoon's exemplary leadership in promoting design in overall city administration and urban development.

IDEA/Brazil is the South American chapter of the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), one of the three most prestigious awards for designers in the world along with iF and Red dot of Germany. IDEA/Brazil Awards are conducted every year with the validation of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).

Joice Joppert Leal, executive-director of the Objecto Brasil Association, main organizer of the IDEA/Brazil Awards, said that the citation is for Mayor Oh's contribution to upgrading the city brand value of Seoul though his design policy. In particular, Seoul City established the Design Seoul Headquarters as an organization of the city government, which has implemented various design-related projects. He even recruited a design expert as the Chief Design Officer (CDO) responsible for the city's design policies. Oh's such move is believed to strengthen the city's international competitiveness and improve the quality of life of citizens, she was quoted as saying.

The city's such efforts have made Seoul won the title of World Design Capital 2010 from the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design in 2007. In celebration of its designation of WDC 2010, Seoul hosted/will host several events including the annual Seoul Design Fair, World Design Capital Summit that induced cooperation among leaders of world cities, Seoul International Design Workshop that helped cultivate design manpower, and the like.

Seoul City has also strengthened design infrastructure. Some of the examples are the Seoul Design Committee, set up and operated by the city, and the creation of the design guidelines and typeface of Seoul that apply to urban design. In addition, Dongdaemun Design Plaza is being built at the site of the former Dongdaemun Stadium, which is expected to be completed by 2012.

Seoul City said the gold award from IDEA/Brazil signifies that its design policy has gained recognition even from countries in South America and will serve as a momentum to further upgrade the city brand value of Seoul, the World Design Capital 2010.

Source



2010 Country Brand Index’s early results
Nov 9, 2010
Early results from the 2010 edition of the Country Brand Index have been announced today by FutureBrand, the authoring company behind the Country Brand Index.

The brand rankings (produced in partnership with BBC World News this year) cover 102 countries and aim at measuring the “intangible asset” of how the country is perceived amongst international business and leisure travellers, travel and nation branding experts and opinion formers.

According to the survey, Canada is “the most respected country brand in the world”. Canada’s rank jumped from 12th in 2006 to 6th the next year and to 2nd by 2008, a position it maintained last year.

Canada has climbed to the top spot ousting the United States. The USA’s No. 1 ranking last year was attributed to the “Obama effect,” and its slip into fourth place this year likely also is Obama-related, FutureBrand’s chief strategy officer in North America Daniel Rosentreter told to USA Today.

“What we’ve seen this year is the shine may be off. Obama hasn’t delivered what the world expected,” he says.

According to the international branding firm, the 2010 Country Brand Index top-ten ranking is as follows:

1. Canada
2. Australia
3. New Zealand
4. United States of America
5. Switzerland
6. Japan
7. France
8. Finland
9. United Kingdom
10. Sweden


The three worst performing country brands were Zimbabwe, Iran and Pakistan. Complete results from the Country Brand Index 2010 will be showcased at the forthcoming World Travel Market forum, to be celebrated next week in London.

FutureBrand’s presentation will take place on November 11, 14.00h, at the North Gallery Room 4&5. FutureBrand’s Australian-born destination strategist Victoria Berry and Daniel Rosentreter will be the keynote speakers. Complete results from this study are expected to be posted online on November 15th.

The 2010 edition of the Country Brand Index survey queried 3,400 business and leisure travelers on five continents, augmented by expert focus groups, on their image associations of various countries in five categories, including tourism appeal, quality of life and value systems.

Source


Milan launches special "City Brand" to boost global image for 2015 Expo
Nov 9, 2010
ROME -- Milan authorities of Italy on Friday launched a special "City Brand" aimed at boosting the city's international image and appeal in the wake of the preparations for the 2015 universal exposition.

Mayor Letizia Moratti and Tourist Councillor Alessandro Morelli presented the "Milan Brand" featuring the city's red-white-black castle logo which will be placed on the most characteristic goods sold in the boutiques: bags, T-shirts, jackets, computer products, bikes, motorbikes, designer gadgets and even the traditional " Panettone"cake.

The strategic move is two-fold. On one hand it aims to boost expenditures during the Christmas festivity and thus support local growth. On the other the "City Brand" looks ahead at 2015 when Milan will be hosting the universal exposition.

The mayor, named by the government as special representative for the expo, is starting to pave the way towards the event by sponsoring the very best of the Made-in-Italy globally appreciated.

All products bearing the brand, stressed Moratti, represent in fact the perfect blend of "creativity, innovation and research" that characterizes Milan's industrial sector, which will be playing a central role at the 2015 expo.

Source

Korea Aims to Build Brand at G20 Summit
Nov 9, 2010
The fifth annual G20 Summit, taking place this week in Seoul, will aim to impress the Group of 20 world leaders and delegate with the country's high-tech advances — ultra-fast communication, portable broadband, Web-connected mobile television and other futuristic technologies — "that have become rather humdrum for Koreans," in one assessment.

KT, the nation's biggest broadband provider and telecommunications giant, will be handling the high-tech during the Nov. 11-12 G20 Seoul Summit and the corresponding global conference of global business leaders. Hyundai, meanwhile, is providing the official cars for delegates, including its luxury Equus brand and BlueOn electric vehicle, above.

It's also, naturally, an opportunity for nation-branding (more than half of Koreans expect the G20 spotlight to boost Korea's brand) and city branding, particularly in terms of the host city's arts and culture offerings. “The G20 summit will be a chance of a lifetime for Seoul to show off its global competitiveness,” the city's mayor, Oh Se-hoon, told reporters.

Source



2nd International Place Branding Conference, Bogota 22-24.1.2011
Oct 20, 2010
The next edition of the International Place Branding Conference «Branding cities: The search for place identity», will be held in the city of Bogotá in Colombia between 20th and 22nd January, 2011.

This event will bring together a significant number of academics, practitioners and city representatives from all over the world, who often approach the subject of “Place branding” from diverse perspectives. Thus, the conference is not only an interdisciplinary encounter but also an opportunity to share and learn from experiences from different contexts.

[Editors note: The quality of the first conference in Berlin two years ago was exceptionally high. This may be one of the best events of it's kind.]

Read more or register


Livable Cities Award submission closing at 28 Oct
Oct 18, 2010
The closing date for the Philips Livable Cities Award is quickly approaching however there is still time to enter!

The organizers are looking for individuals, community groups or NGO’s and businesses with ideas for 'simple solutions' that will improve people's health and well-being in a city. To help translate these ideas into reality, three Award grants totalling €125,000 are being made available. One overall winning idea from any of the three categories outlined below will receive a grant of €75,000, while two additional ideas will receive grants of €25,000.

Entry categories:
Wellbeing outdoors:Initiatives that will help make citizens feel safe and secure in public spaces, or help create city identity and foster a sense of belonging.For details click here

Independent living: Initiatives that will help the growing number of elderly people living alone to feel secure and comfortable in a city, and / or enable them to live longer at home with the appropriate access to healthcare. For details click here

Healthy lifestyle at work and home: Initiatives that will support a healthy body and mind, whether through a person's surroundings or other essentials such as exercise, sleep and diet. For details click here

The closing date for entries is Thursday 28 October 2010 at 5pm Central European Time. If you, or anyone who may also be interested, have an idea for submission,
click here.

Good luck with your submission.

Read more about the award:

Enter the award.

Nation Brands Index 2010 released
Oct 13, 2010
A new edition of the popular Nation Brands Index has just been released today. According to the Nation Brands Index 2010’s earliest known details, the United States continues to have the world’s most valuable country brand, a place it obtained in in 2009 after Obama’s election. There are minor changes in this year’s edition of the Nation Brands Index, but are noteworthy nonetheless. For instance, the BRIC countries continue to advance, and at a faster pace than before, their nation brand images, while the PIGS, predictably, have lost some charm because of the economic uncertainties they have been going through.

Results from the 2010 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index, which measures the global image of 50 countries, shows the United States holding the top spot for the second year in a row as the country with the best overall brand. Among the top 10 nations, Southern Europe has seen several changes, all of them for worse. Spain is no longer part of the top 10, Italy has been overtaken by Canada, and France has lost its standing to an emerging Germany. Greece is not among the selection of only 50 nations being ranked at the Index, but one can safely assume that it has lost a number of positions, especially on the business and governance dimensions.

“After last year, which saw the United States make such a significant leap in its standing to the top nation spurred by the election of President Obama, the reputation landscape of the countries comprising the top 20 have remained relatively stable,” says Simon Anholt, the Nation Brands Index founder and an independent advisor to over a dozen national governments around the world. “However, the uncertain global economic climate, combined with financial bailouts, natural disasters and civil unrests have created some interesting shifts, especially among southern European nations.”

The Nation Brands Index 2010 overall results (in brackets countries occupying that spot on the Nation Brands Index 2009) are as follows:

1. United States [In 2009: United States]


2. Germany [In 2009: France]

3. France [In 2009: Germany]

4. United Kingdom [In 2009: United Kingdom]

5. Japan [In 2009: Japan]

6. Canada [In 2009: Italy]

7. Italy [In 2009: Canada]

8. Switzerland [In 2009: Switzerland]

9. Australia [In 2009: Australia]

10. Sweden [In 2009: Spain, Sweden (tie)]

The 2010 Nation Brands Index survey was conducted from July 7, 2010 to August 4, 2010 in 20 major developed and developing countries that play important and diverse roles in international relations, trade, and the flow of business, cultural, and tourism activities. The survey results are based on respondents’ ratings of 50 nations on questions in six categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment. The Nation Brands Index 2010 overall ranking is based on the average of these six scores.

Source

Brand Africa initiative launched
Sep 18, 2010
Just a few days after a summit was held in Accra to explore a country brand identity for Ghana, another large-scale nation branding event took place in the continent, this time in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Over 300 representants from the African media, business and political leadership, together with nation branding experts and executives, gathered on Thursday for the inaugural Brand Africa Forum 2010. This new African initiative aims to harness the collective African and global wisdom and experience to drive the continent’s reputation, image and competitiveness.

“Brand Africa is an initiative for Africa by Africans, who are confident in and passionate about Africa. It’s about Africans proactively taking charge of their destiny to build a better Africa for investment, exports, tourism and citizenship,” said leading brand authority and founder of the initiative, Thebe Ikalafeng.

The Forum reflects on the positive impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and chart a way forward to manage Brand Africa – a positive image and reputation to enhance the continent’s competitiveness.

“The African story, like its history, has always been left to the world to interpret and shape. However, this forum is distinguished by the fact that it focuses on Africa, not as a topic, but as the agenda,” he said.

Nation branding expert Simon Anholt was one the keynote speakers among a line-up of 14 international guests, including Dr. Irvin Khoza, Chairman of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Local Organising Committee. Speaking of Africa’s brand in the global marketplace, Anholt has said: “Brand Africa, with its simple message of ongoing catastrophe, is promoted by aid agencies, international organisations, donor governments and aid celebrities like Bob Geldof and Bono … not as 53 countries in various stages of development and struggle for independent existence and identity, but as a uniform, hopeless basket-case”.

It is this image of Africa, which fails to reflect the continent’s economic diversity, and the optimism that goes with rising investment, growth and stability, that the Brand Africa Forum sought to address, through keynote speeches and discussions.

The Forum, hosted by Brand South Africa, featured an opening address by Khoza and keynotes anchored around panels on media, business & the economy and nation branding led by Dambiso Moyo, a former Goldman Sachs economist and author of the New York Times bestseller Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How there is a Better Way for Africa and Simon Anholt.

Khoza, Moyo and Anholt were joined by a chief executives from African countries which have embarked in nation branding, such as Mathias Akotia, CEO of Brand Ghana, Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa and Mary Kimonye, CEO of Brand Kenya, among others.

“The Forum is aligned with South Africa’s strategy to work with key African partners to create a better future for Africa,” said Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa. “It’s also in line with the our goals of enhancing the reputation and competitiveness of South Africa and Africa.”

Source: http://nation-branding.info/2010/09/18/brand-africa/

Brand Ghana Summit
Sep 15, 2010
nation branding summit was celebrated earlier this month in Accra, Ghana, in order to discuss a unified nation brand image for the country.

The meeting was held by the Brand Ghana Office, which was created in September 2009 to manage a nation branding programme for Ghana, and brought together about 300 participants from government bodies, representatives from both business and citizen sectors and most of the promotional agencies of the country.

The summit’s main theme was “Ghana in search of a competitive identity” and it was organized in a formal opening session and follow-up workshops with about 23 syndicate groups to explore branding-related areas in governance, business, investment and human development. The workshops’ challenge was to find a concept and build a consensus on what kind of a brand Ghana should take.

Chief of Staff Henry Martey Newman, who imaugurated the event, said the objective of the nation branding project was to develop a unique competitive identity for Ghana with the ultimate intention of positioning it internally and externally as a good place for trade, tourism and investment.

He also said that Ghana should have a ‘nation-branded’ economic policy which all political parties should strictly adhere to, irrespective of which party was in government. Such an economic blueprint would deserve a constitutional provision making it mandatory so that successive governments follow it.

Mr. Newman also stressed that there is a need for a strategic focus on long-term solutions, as these would generate positive response back to the nation. “Ghanaians must be assured of a policy of continuity in matters that bring development to the people,” he said. Mr. Newman said this was factibe with the Brand Ghana programme, as it provided a common vision which successive governments could follow, “similar to those visions first experienced by entrepreneurs which outlasted them”.

The Brand Ghana initiative should not be treated as a political tool, Mr. Newman warned too. He said stakeholders should be united by the nation’s brand vision and shared values – and as consequence work together and align their policy and acts to a common national strategy. In order to safeguard it from political volatility, he announced that the Ghanaian government was committed to transform the Brand Ghana office into an independent, public-private hybrid partnership.

A strategic tool for development

In his speech, Mr. Newman also said that only countries with the ability to tackle confidently the amazingly diverse marketplace with a clear, credible, appealing, distinctive and thoroughly planned national identity strategy could compete and win. “Competing to win is about acquiring culturally grounded differentiation, premised on strong national vision and shared values as well as effective and coherent projection and communication to the target markets,” he said.

Mr. Mathias Akotia, Chief Executive Officer of Brand Ghana, said nation branding had become a strategic tool and process used to ensure competitiveness, because ‘having a reputation or none at all seriously impacts on a country’s ability to compete at all levels’.

He also said that he had already encountered people who casted doubts over whether nation branding would create more jobs or boost wealth for the country. “These questions reflect the enormity of work ahead in generating intellectual cooperation and commitment for the Brand Ghana development among the population,” he said.

Mr. Akotia pointed out that nation branding was not new by saying that many countries have promoted their identities for different reasons to attract international attention. “An example was South Africa which, in realising a gap between the international perception and the reality of the country, launched the Brand South Africa project which has correctly positioned it”.

He said India, Malaysia, Egypt, Costa Rica, New Zealand and many more countries also have had active nation branding programmes in spite of the existence of state-owned, investment, tourism, exports and public diplomacy institutions dedicated to promote the country’s products, services and interests.

Mr. Akotia also said that at this moment of Ghana’s economic development there is the need to take time and think and elaborate about the country’s common national values. “It is time for us to lay aside our ethnocentric and political alliances to drill deep into our common heritage of nationhood in order to find a single, representative, national identity that respects and unites our cultural diversity, making us truly one people.”

Source: Ghanaian Times, Nation-branding-info.com



Seoul Metropolitan Government reviews international branding account

Aug 9 2010
SEOUL - The Seoul Metropolitan Government has issued a statutory open tender for all overseas advertising for its city branding account worth an estimated US$25 million.

http://www.campaignasia.com/Article/212283,seoul-metropolitan-government-reviews-international-branding-account.aspx

Best Nation / Place Branding Campaign - Call for entries
15 May, 2010
LONDON: The M&M Awards 2010 is now open for entry submissions with two new categories, Best Nation / Place Branding Campaign and Best International Communications Strategy added for this year's event. The entry site for awards will open on 26 May; the deadline for submitting all entries is 16 June.
The awards gala dinner will take place on 9 September 2010 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Two new categories for 2010:
Best Nation / Place Branding Campaign reflects the increasing importance of international advertising campaigns created by national governments and city authorities to drive tourism, inward investment and international commerce or to promote a nation or place brand around cultural or sporting events.

Best International Communications Strategy will celebrate the big idea that has enabled a brand to achieve success across international markets - our judges will be looking for campaigns that demonstrate clear consumer insight, a brilliant strategy and a precisely managed execution to engage the target audience.

Full list of categories:

Entering categories
To be eligible for entry in the entering categories, a campaign must have run on pan-regional media and/or local media in two or more countries between 1 June 2009 and 31 May 2010. There is no limit to the number of categories one campaign can be entered in to, but ensure that your campaign entry write-up is specifically re-written and tailored to the criteria of each category.

o Best Campaign for Reaching Business & Political Decision Makers
o Best Campaign Reaching High Net Worth Individuals
o Best International Launch Campaign
o Best Use of Content
o Best Use of Digital
o Best Contribution to an International Campaign by a Media Owner
o The International Targeting Award
o The Effectiveness Award
o Best International Communications Strategy
o Best International Corporate Branding / CSR Campaign
o Best Nation / Place Branding Campaign

Non-entering categories
The following categories do not invite entries - the winners are selected by either public vote, or jury vote or as a result of a consistently strong performance across the entering categories.

o International Marketer of the Year
o The Media Excellence Award
o Agency Network of the Year
o Campaign of the Year

Judging process
A jury of senior executives representing client marketers, agency strategists, digital specialists and content gurus is currently being put together. Each juror will have direct experience of developing and managing international advertising and communication strategies and the judging process, involving not only an online shortlisting stage but also a digitally enabled final judging session, allows jury expertise worldwide to review work and select the winning entries.

For further information, go to www.mandmawards.com/how.




South Africa's social media initiative
May 02, 2010
2010 FIFA World football Cup is to be hosted by South Africa and it is just 100 days away. To promote the country, the CMO (standing for Chief Marketing Officer) Council and the International Marketing Council of South Africa have teamed up to launch a crowdsourced advertising contest, by the name Get Wildly Creative About South Africa, inviting people to dream up great ways to promote this colourful African country.

The International Marketing Council of South Africa, which is responsible for defining and shaping Brand South Africa’s image throughout the world, has launched this 8-week, people-inspired, online-based ad contest, opening March 15, as a part of a major nation branding research project.

With social media networks hosting billions of monthly visitors, conversations and connections, this initiative will evaluate the level of voice, influence and creative pull in these interactive online communities, particularly as it relates to shaping perceptions of countries, destinations, locations and origin of products, specifically those related to South Africa.

The ad contest will be hosted on the Zooppa.com people-inspired advertising platform and will use viral communications, online conversations, blog postings and cyber chatter to talk up interest and participation in this pioneering country branding program, which targets the world’s 1.7 billion Internet users.

The Brief
Current and aspiring creative professionals, digital media buffs, South African citizens and expatriates, and anyone with a lust for travel to Africa, are invited in this contest to come up with inventive ways to produce a fresh and evocative message about a country that has gone from tragedy to triumph in less than two decades. Contest entry information and a creative brief, along with links to South African-related resources, are available at the Zooppa.com contest center in here.

From a nation branding perspective, it is interesting to notice that the brief explains that the ad contest “is not just about selling South Africa as a great place for a holiday or a conference, though with its game parks, vineyards, beaches, breathtaking landscapes, warm and engaging people and their unique blend of cultures, the country is certainly that.

Nor is it simply about trade and investment promotion though, again, South Africa as Africa’s biggest and most stable economy has plenty to recommend it on that score as well: sophisticated and well-regulated capital markets, sound economic management that focuses on long term growth rather than quick, populist fixes, first-rate infrastructure and communications, and entrée to emerging markets and developing countries in the rest of the continent.”

The brief states that the aim of this country branding exercise’s objective is overarching: “To imprint on the minds of decision-makers, opinion leaders and trendsetters everywhere – the target audience – an image of South Africa as a desirable and distinctive place to visit, conduct business, invest, source products, services and ideas, host gatherings and experience a unique, unrestrained blending of cultures and hospitable, friendly people.”

The contest’s organizers also provide a list with some of the most valuable nation brand ingredients of South Africa, to help creatives find inspiration. These South Africa’s nation brand ingredients, as stated at the contest’s brief, are the following:

* Knack for fresh, imaginative, yet practical and flexible solutions, as well as exciting and progressive innovations
* Strength and stability which is grounded in its diversity, and commitment to inclusion centered around the “I-am-because-we-are” ethos of ubuntu
* Dynamic and driven DNA manifest in icons like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, jazz great Hugh Masekela, electric car and private space launch pioneer Elon Musk, writer JM Coetzee and actress Charlize Theron
* People who have the character and desire to confront and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges with tenacity, resilience, patience, optimism, openness, lateral thinking, humor, and a deep sense of shared humanity (ubuntu)
* Frank and open acknowledgement of the problems it continues to face, most of them no strangers to developing economies, including poverty, unemployment, crime and HIV/AIDS.
* Capacity to do difficult things well – from building a strong, inclusive and economically robust democracy after generations of racial oppression, to engineering the world’s deepest mines and largest radio telescope, to building high-end vehicles – Mercedes and BMW – for global markets, to hosting mega events like the World Cup – in a way that consistently defies expectation and stereotypes

This last point about “defying expectation and stereotypes” is noteworthy. It is very nice on the part of the South Africa’s nation branding leaders that they have no complexes talking about existing negative cliches towards South Africa. In fact, the brief acknowledges that:

“In the run-up to the FIFA World Cup, there has been a steady, though latterly decreasing, drumbeat of concern that South Africa is somehow not up to hosting the world’s most popular sporting event safely and efficiently. This concern owes a great deal to stereotypes about Africa. A successful World Cup, it is hoped, will do much to lay such negative assumptions to rest.”

Personally I think it’s very nice and honest to say things just like they are – Kudos for South Africa’s nation branding masterminds.

Prizes and comment
Cash and prizes will be awarded to the top submissions within each category including Best Print Campaign, Best Online Banner Campaign, and Best Video Segment or Commercial. Winning entrants will have their work showcased globally to the council’s 5,000 members who control more than $150 billion in annual marketing spend and recognized at a special IMC-hosted reception in New York City, the world’s media center and creative hub. They will also win trip packages courtesy of South Africa’s Tourism Board and other travel, hospitality, lodging and merchandise partners in South Africa.

“We’re looking for inspired messaging and out-of-the-box advertising executions that capture and convey the essence, attributes and qualities of Brand South Africa,” noted Donovan Neale-May, the executive director of the CMO Council, who pointed to the country’s growing tourism, trade and economic development success.

“With the world’s eyes upon it as host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa is seeking to establish itself as a competitive and relevant nation brand,” added Paul Bannister, CEO of the International Marketing Council of South Africa. “We’re excited about the potential for social media channels to generate greater discourse and narrative about our brand from people who have experienced or researched our special place in the world.”

Separately, the Council will be conducting monthly analytics on the tonality, sentiment and prevalence of conversations, commentary and news about Brand South Africa leading up to the four-week FIFA World Cup event, starting June 11. It will source PR Newswire’s Social Media Metrics service, which tracks the tonality and sentiment of global media coverage through 30,000 online news sources in 12 languages. The platform also intelligently agents and analyzes five million forum posts a day, as well as conversations and commentaries in 20 million blogs, social media networks, news groups, bulletin boards, etc.

With billions invested in this year’s Africa sports spectacular, the CMO Council will be looking at South Africa’s effectiveness in shaping perceptions and using the global football spectacle to optimize its reputation and appeal worldwide. Key determinants of South Africa’s nation branding value creation will be effective message management and clarity of brand positioning relative to the visitor/player experience, global media attention, and viral online community conversations and content sharing.

Source

Birmingham (UK) Science City branding tender open until 27Apr2010
15Apr2010
The University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick under the Science City Research Alliance - SCRA Initiative project is looking to appoint a design and marketing agency to provide a full range of marketing and design services consistent with Birmingham Science City existing projects and branding guidelines across the 3 main themes advanced materials translational medicine and energy futures.

Full details here: http://www.publictenders.net/tender/52330


FutureBrand: Nation Branding Video Marathon
6th Mar 2010
Following the release of their Country Brand Index, the study’s authors FutureBrand uploaded several videos in which Tim Riches, Chief Growth Officer, Asia Pacific at FutureBrand, reviews the nation brand rankings of 5 Asian-Pacific countries: Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore. See them in here:
http://nation-branding.info/2010/03/06/futurebrand-nation-branding-video-marathon/

Seoul City Reviews Branding Account
17 Feb 2010
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has issued a statutory open tender for all overseas advertising for its city branding account worth an estimated US$25 million.

According to the RFP, the Government is looking to build on the ‘Infinitely yours’ concept developed last year alongside incumbent creative agency HS Ad (formerly LG Ad). The full line-up of agencies is not known but is believed to include the incumbent Cheil Worldwide and Innocean.

The core target markets are listed as China and Japan. The Government is also looking to reach out to Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, the US, the UK, Australia and India, which it sees as having high growth potential.

Agencies participating in the pitch are required to present a campaign strategy taking into account events such as the G20 summit and WDC (World Design Council) 2010; tourism marketing support and sports sponsorship plans; effectiveness analysis programmes and strategies for marketing in coordination with private companies, among other things.

Source http://www.media.asia/Advertisingarticle/2010_01/Seoul-Metropolitan-Government-reviews-international-branding-account/38511


City branding research
16th Feb 2010
A study focusing in the organizational arrangements and brand management practices of 25 global cities in five continents was launched by HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences. The cities include, among others Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, Singapore and Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas and Dubai. The study will be completed by the end of 2010. For more information teemu.moilanen [at] haaga-helia.fi
City Branding of Izmir, Turkey
4th Jan 2010
City of Izmir, Turkey published a invitation to tender for assistance in city branding strategy development. Izmir (pop. 2.6 million) is a culturally and economically rich city in western coast of Turkey. Deadline for sending the offer is in 15th Feb 2010, and once approved, the project should take no more than 4 months (according to the tender documents) to be completed. Full documentation can be downloaded from here: http://www.izka.org.tr/en/

Brand Sweden Goes Local
Dec 26 2009
Nation-branding, though controversial in some quarters, is becoming ever more important and can be of great value to towns and regions wishing to reach out to the wider world, writes Joakim Norén, Brand development Manager of the Swedish Institute.

Nowadays, a place is also a brand. But branding a place is fairly different from branding a product. For Swedish regions and municipalities, the "Brand Sweden" platform may make the job easier.

In 2006 The Council for the Promotion of Sweden (NSU*) launched a brand platform for Sweden. The NSU is a cooperation between the Swedish Institute, VisitSweden, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Invest in Sweden Agency and the Trade Council. The platform describes the essence that is the foundation or starting point for all official communication of Sweden abroad.

It is quite unique that organisations with such diverse missions from the government share a brand platform, and similar organisations from around the world have shown interest in the platform. The Swedish Institute has also noticed a growing interest from Swedish regions and municipalities, both to learn from the process of developing a brand platform with a broad group of interested parties and to relate to “Brand Sweden” when they develop their own brands.

Branding is becoming ever more important. For companies targeting the consumer market it’s a prerequisite, and for most business-to-business companies as well. But many still think that branding of places is a little bit strange, sometimes even controversial. However, places have as much to gain from a strong brand as products and services. And quite often product brands and place brands interact; you all know which country builds the best quality luxury cars or where the most cutting edge consumer electronics come from.

Branding of places has some additional challenges compared with branding of commercial products. Products can often be changed to fit a brand platform, something which is very difficult or impossible when it comes to a place. There is also a broader range of interested parties involved, who will have to contribute to realising the brand but also have something to benefit from a successful brand. A brand platform for a place needs to be accessible to the public and is therefore more likely to be questioned and criticised.

The Swedish regions and municipalities have far less resources to allocate for branding than the NSU, so sharing the experience from developing “Brand Sweden” is a good way for the Swedish Institute to help them move forward in this process. In the spring of 2009, the Swedish Institute arranged a seminar together with Geobrands, where we presented the brand platform for Sweden together with some insights into how the national brand can be interpreted and used on a local or regional level.

For the regions and municipalities it is essential to know how Sweden is perceived abroad for their own branding efforts, and they wouldn’t be able to afford to carry out all the research that the Swedish Institute does. Sharing this information broadly is also a way for the Swedish Institute to reach its target of a stronger, clearer and more up-to-date image for Sweden abroad.

Brand Sweden is the sum of all encounters between people around the world and anything Swedish – products, people, culture or actual visits to Sweden. The key to a clear and strong national brand is not only in what message the Swedish institute or the rest of the NSU send out, but what all Swedish regions, product brands, people, etc do and say.

For example, companies like Volvo and Ikea have done a great job of positioning Sweden as a country that makes products where design and innovation is really used for the benefit of ordinary people. If we can get more Swedish organisations to share and use the Brand Sweden platform and communicate the unique values and the position that sets Sweden apart in the world, it will surely benefit both the image of Sweden in general and any brand associated with Sweden.

Source

Brand Canada stuck in National Geogrphic approach?
Dec 08 2009
Andrea Mandel-Campbell writes about Canada’s brand image, and how the country can learn off countries such as New Zealand and Australia. With its widely acclaimed performance in the current economic turmoil, Canada can build over this “safe haven” image strategically to attract business and talent into a stable and prosperous economic environment – becoming something more than a National Geographic country reputed only for its majestic landscapes and wild animal life. Canada can become the Switzerland of America – social stability, economic prosperity and banking resilience beyond idyllic landscapes.

Read the article.

Source.

Canada investing to make Brand Canada visible in food products
Oct 3 2009
An official press release on September 17, 2009 announced that the Government of Canada will invest $32 million in the Canada Brand initiative to put the maple leaf brand on the top quality products Canadian farmers grow and increase sales around the world.

“Canadian farmers want to make their living in the marketplace and buyers around the world are looking for the premium products the maple leaf has come to symbolize,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “This investment is going to help Canadian farmers drive market research and promotional campaigns to maximize opportunities around the world.”

The Canada Brand initiative will fund market analysis, advertising campaigns and public opinion research that will promote Canada’s safe, top quality agriculture. The Canada Brand initiative will work in lockstep with industry as a springboard to complement the successes already achieved in key markets.

“By more actively promoting the strengths and benefits of the Canada Brand, the Government will be complementing the individual marketing efforts of specific agriculture and food sectors in order to open more doors and increase sales,” said Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture), Jean-Pierre Blackburn.

Canada Brand is the third program delivered from the $500 million AgriFlexibility fund that was part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The AgriFlexibility fund was created to help reduce costs of production and improve environmental sustainability for the sector; promote value-chain innovation and sectoral adaptation; and respond to emerging opportunities and market challenges for the sector. The AgriFlexibility fund is now accepting new project proposals from provincial governments and the agricultural industry.

Source

5th annual Country Brand Index report launched
Nov 9 2009
FutureBrand's Country Brand Index has just launched, wrapping up a year of in-depth research and analysis. Check overview of the study in here.

or download it from here.

Building Brand Australia – Tender Announcement

Sep 17 2009
The Federal Government is calling on submissions from creative agencies for Building Brand Australia. Tender details have been posted in here.

The successful agency will be awarded a $4 million contract over 4 years. The Australian Government has set aside $20 million over the next four years to deliver the new brand – much of which will be spent on international promotion.

In accordance with government guidelines, a tender evaluation panel comprised of senior public servants will make a final recommendation on the preferred agency.

This panel will be supported by an advisory board of business people headed by leading Australian business figure David Mortimer, whose report last year recommended the development of a national brand.

The winner of the tender is expected to be announced in February, 2010, to be followed by a domestic launch. The international launch of the new brand is expected to take place at Shanghai Expo that starts in May, 2010.

Source: http://www.trademinister.gov.au/releases/2009/sc_090917.html


Danish viral video creates a phenomenon
Sep 16 2009
Viral video ‘Danish mother seeking father’ has developed into a phenomenon in social media. Low-budgeted, the impact of the video, which was aimed to be viral since the beginning, has been tremendous. The VisitDenmark organization wanted to tell a sweet story about Danes, and it did indeed brand Danes. Some say for the good, conveying a country of free, sexually-open and independent citizens, while others says it brands traditionally liberal Danes as promiscuous and irresponsible and Denmark as the place to go to have unprotected sex with strangers the first night – a new class of sex tourist destination. It appeared as a genuine video of a Danish mother seeking her son August’s father, but has since then been revealed as a viral marketing campaign by advertising agency Grey. The video was later removed from YouTube after a request of VisitDenmark (following an uproar), but can be seen here.

Large number of similar clips of people re-telling the story, showing themselves as sought-after fathers, brothers, friends or other characters in this imaginary story, as well as other parody stories of the original video are to be found from YouTube.Read “Denmark: Selling a lie” article about the debate from here.

Business leaders want a Brand Australia Council
Jul 30 2009
Some of Australia’s leading executives are pushing a new lobby to convince the Australian government to manage its country brand holistically, fearing a drop in popularity of Australia’s nation brand worldwide. Australia was 9th at last year’s Nation Brand Index, and 1st at the Country Brand Index.

According to this lobby’s members, selling Australia with one unified brand will strengthen people’s awareness of the country both as a tourist destination and as a business hub. Lobbists think that while tourism has done most of the legwork in selling Australia to the world so far, there now needs to be a holistic approach which will coordinate the marketing efforts of all Australian businesses, artists, musicians, actors, sportspeople, designers and more, leverage off each other, under a unified Australian brand.

Former British Airways boss Rod Eddington and Australia’s Tourism and Transport Forum Managing Director Christopher Brown are the visible heads demanding the creation of a “Brand Australia Council” to Brand Australia and promote the country worldwide. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and former executives Geoff Dixon and James Strong, along with Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams, are also backing the idea of a permanent Brand Australia Council.

The idea of the Brand Australia Council was first floated in 2004 by the Australian Tourist Commission as part of its relaunch of Brand Australia, but it was never implemented. The Brand Australia Council, with relevant private and public sector membership, should be charged with positioning Australia in investment, export, tourism and international relations. It would articulate what Brand Australia stands for, define and clarify brand behaviours (sporting teams included) and co-ordinate the branding strategy across industries, so it is definetely a task far bigger than one for the National Tourism Organisation.

Source.

Tourism Australia targets social media
May 29 2009
One of the world's most influential bloggers, The Sartorialist, visited Australia last month as part of a new Tourism Australia initiative to target social media opinion leaders.

The Satorialist, aka Scott Schuman, is rated by Time Magazine as one of the world's top 100 design influencers, and his New York based blog site currently receives in excess of 36 million visits per annum.

Tourism Australia is aiming to work with these key influencers to drive the desire in others to travel to Australia through positive word of mouth commentary. Tourism Australia Managing Director Geoff Buckley said the addition of the Visiting Opinion Leaders Programme to existing public relations activities provided new ways to reach consumers in the rapidly changing communications landscape.

He said: 'In addition to traditional advertising there are so many more ways to reach consumers today, particularly in the digital environment. We know that the consumers we target - Experience Seekers - are very active in the digital space which is a key reason why we are targeting digital opinion leaders who have a vast audience and influential voice.'

Source: Destination World Issue 29 (May 09) destinationworld.info

Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark
May 28 2009
In 2007 an agreement was made between the government and the Danish parliament on an Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark. The aim is to strengthen a clear and positive image of Denmark abroad to ensure Denmark's ability to compete for creative and competent workers, students, tourists, investment and global market share.

The overall focus of the Action Plan
The Action Plan implements DKK 412 mill partly on cross cutting activities, and partly on five specific focus areas, which are:

* Denmark as a creative nation
* Denmark as a tourist destination
* Denmark as a study destination
* Denmark as an investment location
* Modernisation of the export promotion system

An article describing the Key Elements and the History of the Action Plan was released in here May 20 2009

Here is the article:

Key elemens of the Action Plan
Hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in 2009 gives an outstanding opportunity to increase awareness of Denmarks know how on clean technologies and renewable energy. For this reason, a number of activities supported by the Action Plan will to a smaller or larger extent be related to the climate conference. For more information on the business and research activities related to the Climate Change Conference, you are welcome to contact the Task Force on Marketing of Denmark. For more information on the Climate Change Conference, please consult the COP 15-website.

Another essential element of the Action Plan is the Marketing Denmark Fund. Its purpose is to boost awareness of Denmark's strengths and competences abroad, especially by supporting and promoting larger-scale activities with promising potential such as events, campaigns, conferences, and promotional activities that generate publicity about Denmark. The Fund has an independent executive board, and a cross-ministerial task force acts in a secretarial capacity. Information on how to apply for support from the Fund can be found on the website of The Branding Denmark Fund, however, only in Danish.


The history of the Action Plan
Over a couple of years a comprehensive effort to develop a strategy for securing and improving Denmark's position took place. The work culminated in April 2006 with the unveiling of a globalization strategy, that was shaped by input from an advisory Globalisation Council consisting of prominent figures from the private sector, trade unions and universities.

In the wake of the globalisation strategy a broad agreement was made between the government and the major opposition parties in the Danish parliament on how to follow up on the globalisation strategy. The agreement contains a number of reforms and initiatives that will help prepare Denmark for the future.

One of the initiatives is a strengthened global promotion of Denmark with the aim of attracting foreign investments, highly qualified labour, students and tourists to Denmark, as well as promoting Danish exports and Danish creative competences. A working group consisting of representatives from The Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs (chairman), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Education and The Ministry of Finance was entrusted with the task of developing a proposal for an action plan for a strengthened global promotion of Denmark.

Since the task of marketing Denmark globally by no means could be solved by the government alone, the working group was engaged in a comprehensive dialogue with a wide range of both public and private actors. As part of this dialogue a series of thematic meetings were organised. Some of the discussion papers and presentations used in the meetings are available in English.

Romania’s tourism brand tender
April 6 2009
The Ministry of Tourism of Romania has launched a call for tender with the overall objective to carry out a Tourism Destination Brand for Romania.

The contract will be awarded following an international public procurement procedure. The maximum budget allocated to this project is 2 million euros available from the European Regional Development Fund Operational programme, Priority axis 5, Key Intervention Area 5.3. – Promoting tourism potential and improving infrastructure in order to increase Romania’s attractiveness as a tourism destination on the global marketplace.

The contract will include: research regarding the image and perception of Romania on source markets, competitive advantages of Romania, identify best possible branding position, brand toolkit, logo, imagery, creation & design, implementing guidelines and communication strategy.

The new Brand will be achieved in successive stages by September 2009 and will be followed by a call for tender aiming at its Implementation; 73 million euros will be available from European Structural Funds.

The Ministry welcomes applications from any professional company with long established experience in the field of branding.

Deadline for submitting the applications: 15 April 2009

Source: Freesun News at 28 March, 2009, 6:14 pm

Saatchi & Saatchi to Nation Brand Kosovo
Mar 26 2009
Kosovo Government announced in Jan 24 that Saatchi & Saatchi has been chosen to develop a nation branding campaign for the newborn Balkan republic. The multinational agency was the winner of “Execution of Nation Branding and International Media Campaign for the Republic of Kosovo” international tender, a tender worth €5.7 million.

The intention to involve in a nation branding campaign was announced for the first time in September after criticism that Kosovo Government was not doing enough to promote the newborn republic and secure political recognitions. With this effort, Kosovo wants to drop negative impressions behind and introduce itself to the world with a smoother and more respectable discourse.

Kosovar Albanian officials wish to improve its image of a hotbed of ethnic discrimination, organized crime, corruption and economic mismanagment. Kosovo’s Ministry of Finance spokesman Muharrem Shahini said Saatchi & Saatchi’s Israel-based unit will run the international branding and media campaign for the newborn republic.

It will be very interesting to follow developments as how Saatchi & Saatchi will cope with the sensitivities of the region, and especially as how to articulate in a coherent manner the Serbian history of the republic with the modern-day Albanian demographic predominance.

The article first published here


Syria first needs positioning, then branding

March 26, 2009
Rime Allaf, an international consultant and an Associate Fellow at London’s Chatham House, discusses the convenience of Syria entering a nation branding program. Here is the article:

Nation branding (or place branding) is a logical and hugely beneficial endeavour when done well, because it inevitably centers the communication and the messages emanating from very different quarters in the nation being branded. However, there are countless examples of sloppy branding and marketing which have barely made a difference in the country's image. Contrasted to the impact of campaigns of exceptional quality for certain countries (such as Spain's immaculate "Passion for Life"), and for certain cities (including my beloved Vienna's "Vienna Waits for You"), third rate marketing, including branding, will never be better than no marketing at all.

In my opinion, Syria is not ready for nation branding, not only because it first needs to work hard to get to a "neutral" position from which branding can begin, but also because I dread to think of the qualifications of the branders and communicators who will be designing the campaign, the slogan, or the brand. God help us if they stick with the ubiquitous "road to Damascus" or "cradle of civilization" lines without bothering to undo years of negative imaging. Hence the need for re-positioning before branding, hoping it results in an image more evocative than ruins. All covered in my monthly column for Syria Today.


Syria on their minds: the re-positioning battle

Rime Allaf

In a world where nation branding has become the order of the day for most governments, Syria has a lot of catching up to do and faces challenges on several dimensions. It would normally be reassuring to hear the terms “marketing”, “public relations” and “image” being mentioned hesitantly in official Syrian circles, but there is a real danger that this sudden awakening may result in a sloppy and simplistic campaign of no strategic depth, supported by non-expert contributors with no background in these disciplines. This would be a sure recipe for spectacular failure at the most sensitive of times, when Syria needs to attain an image commensurate to its reflection and ambition.

Communication, as an umbrella of all these marketing branches, is too serious a matter to leave to amateurs. It’s a subject about which I have been preaching for years, in the hope that Syria, and Syrians, would recognise its impact in the age of technology driven information. Alas, the understanding of marketing has come to include every retail or communication activity under the sun, while people with dubious degrees of qualification claim professional positions in that field. A cursory glance at numerous ads in the private sector would reveal that Syria is full of marketeers, in the modern sense of the word, working in a business environment that utilises the full scope of the principles of marketing communications. In reality, the discipline is still in its infancy, and it needs to be developed to allow Syria a competitive chance with even the simplest of product ranges, let alone the intangible business of image.

On a national level, in the public domain, marketing communication is even more of a sensitive issue, as it puts Syria at a disadvantage in contrast to opponents (and even allies) whose discourse, spin and self-marketing is more sophisticated, reaching more influential parties and the all-important opinion makers. Of all of Syria’s shortcomings in this domain, the following are the most significant, and have been the most detrimental to its perception in the world.

Cumulative challenges

First, positive connotations with Syria, if at all known, are mostly historical or socio-cultural, and therefore rather irrelevant to an improvement of its current image and perception. This includes allusions to the country’s richness in historical relics, the language of Christ still being spoken in Syria, Syrian hospitality and cuisine, and similar nice notions of little import on the overall perception.

Second, negative connotations are mostly political, having managed to grab headlines and become spontaneously associated with Syria over time. This includes the usual accusations of radicalism, rejectionism, support for terrorism and even pan-Arabism (currently considered confrontational by some sources), and a long list of complaints constantly re-edited by American and Israeli scribes.

Third, a lethargic ‘laissez-faire’ attitude in all media communication matters has allowed Syria’s critics and enemies to spin freely and to paint the country in the worst possible light. Being secure in the self-knowledge that our critics are lying or giving half-truths does not safeguard us from the sting of their active discrediting of all things Syrian.

Fourth, a sporadic and mediocre approach to public diplomacy by various Syrian institutions, inside and outside the country, has possibly done more harm than good, considering that it was the only outlet communicating a Syrian position. This includes exaggerated and outdated communication efforts (in style and in content) by official media and by some embassies which neglected even the most basic of tools, such as the official website.

Fifth, actual infrastructure supporting Syria’s tourism, exports, and foreign direct investment (FDI) are severely lacking, a fact that is not a secret to those considering any of these activities, or to those advising against them. For all our claims that we are ready to welcome more tourists, to export more goods, and to provide FDI opportunities, there is much to improve before that can be done.

With such examples setting the parameters of the challenges awaiting Syria, which has remained impassive for too long, it is clear that action is urgently required if only to keep up with a majority of countries attempting to refine their own image, and embarking on nation branding in a crowded planet.

Positioning before branding

The urgency facing Syria’s communication needs is itself dangerous, as it opens the door to careless haste when the contrary is needed. Indeed, it will take serious deliberations and strategic planning to go through the necessary process: before we get to nation branding, we need to undo the damage done by years of detrimental coverage and self-exposure. Syria must first and foremost undertake an expert exercise of positioning, or re-positioning.

There are problems with this approach. For one, branding is much easier, and technically more adapted to a situation where time is of the essence, and where a relatively quicker branding exercise may yield results sooner, assuming it is done professionally. One can only imagine how tempting it must be for Syrian marketing enthusiasts to mould a nation brand, rework the slogan and start advertising it through various channels; at this stage of its 'product life', however, it is inadvisable to brand before damage control is undertaken.

Indeed, the comfortable clichés, repeated ad nauseam over the years, must be slowly reworked and not simply pasted as slogans over the same old photos. This has been the modus operandi until today, and it doesn’t work. Syria’s multifaceted identity has been lost in a sea of tired slogans and needs redefining: cradle of civilisation, land of diversity, conversion on the road to Damascus, oldest capital in the world and beating heart of Arabism are all still applicable, but they mean nothing to recipients of negative propaganda, or to seekers of less grandiose thrills. Syria needs to stop trying to be everything to everybody and to overextend the range it presents; instead, it must focus on more tactile perceptions and credible associations.

Nation branding is hard enough in a saturated world where most governments have now set up task forces to construct their brand, making differentiation challenging. It becomes much more difficult when branding does not begin on a clean, neutral plate, but rather on a mostly negative footing. This is why positioning is the first exercise needed for Syria, to attempt correcting its image independently, and in comparison to countries considered similar in their culture and history, but without the drag factor that years of negative publicity have created. It will be a long process.

Changing minds

Whereas branding concerns itself with the attributes of the product (or object, service, nation, etc.) as presented, positioning is truly a battle for a place inside the mind of the consumer, the critic or the future supporter. With positioning, one can aim to manipulate perceptions, in the mind of the recipient, through various means, vis-à-vis several reference points. For example, what makes Syria “radical” in the mind of given respondents who find some of its neighbours “moderate”? What makes it “closed” while others are “open”? Or what makes it “rigid” while others are “flexible”? These questions may have an obvious answer to those who already know Syria, but the picture is not so clear for the uninitiated, or the indoctrinated.

Syria needs to choose its message and its messengers carefully as it manoeuvres into a new global positioning; simplicity, subtlety and sincerity are essential. The battle for the mind must be fought on many fronts, and it entails a change of attitude on Syria’s part: we must become proactive in addition to reactive, convincing in addition to self-assured, enticing in addition to picturesque.

A positioning endeavour would be the first serious public diplomacy, international media or communication campaign undertaken by Syria. Many of the required steps may sound like basic textbook tasks, but it would be a grave mistake to underestimate their sensitivity. As we begin to tackle the challenges ahead, it is imperative that we take it one step at a time, perhaps beginning by setting up a Syria Image Management Unit (SIMU), a Syria Positioning Taskforce (SPOT) or simply Syria Marcom Support (SMS). Whatever the acronym, it needs to have the means and the freedom to research, to debate, and to create, and to allow the respective professionalism and dedication of the team members to be committed to an ideal: Syria, the country, as it deserves to be seen.

Source:http://www.rimeallaf.com/mosaics/index.php?entry=entry090323-190910

Brand Korea's 10 point action plan released
March 25 2009
Korea is the world’s 13th largest economy. It has emerged as a global leader in information technology, boasting the highest rate of Internet use, has reknown multinational brands and its pop culture has enjoyed a boom abroad, especially in Asia. However, the country still does not have a brand value that matches this reality. According to a survey by Simon Anholt’s Nation Brands index, the country’s brand value is estimated at less than 30 percent of its gross domestic product in 2007, while the United States’ nation brand was assessed to be worth 143 percent of its GDP and Japan’s 224 percent.

Its global image is far behind what Koreans think the nation deserves. To raise the country’s global image, the Korean government in January 2009 launched in a nation branding project.

Last week, the President of the Council on Korea’s Nation Branding, Euh Yoon-dae, said in its first report to the country’s president Lee Myung-bak that the project will consist of a 10-point action plan.

The 10 points of Branding Korea Action Plan are the following:

1) To promote taekwondo. - The government will launch a project to promote the country’s most popular martial art, taekwondo.
2) To dispatch 3,000 volunteers abroad every year. - The council will launch next month the “Korean Supporters’,’ a Peace Corps-like program that dispatches over 3,000 volunteers overseas every year, the second largest after some 8,000 from the United States. Some 2,000 South Koreans go abroad as volunteers every year, already the third largest group after Americans and Japanese, but their services are rarely linked to the country as they are dispatched by individual organizations.
3) To adopt “Korean Wave” program. - Seoul will actively share its development experience with developing nations to launch what it calls the “Korean wave,” named after the spreading popularity of Korean pop-culture across Asia. Korea will provide underdeveloped countries technical assistance to help their economies move forward based on its past achievement of double-digit economic growth during the industrialization period.
4) To introduce Global Korea scholarship. - A new scholarship program, “Global Korea Scholarship”, will be established for foreign exchange students to help improve the country’s image among foreign students and scholars.
5) To adopt “Campus Asia” program. - A separate program, through which South Korea will seek to develop and recruit young, outstanding workers and academicians, and will target students from neighboring Asian countries.
6) To increase external aid. - Korea will send more aid workers to meet the global humanitarian needs.
7) To develop state-of-the-art technologies. - Korea will try to showcase to the world its technologic advancement by reaching to high-tech milestones which should hit the international media.
8) To nurture culture and tourism industries. - Among the initiatives, the government will unify Korean language institutes across the world under the name “King Sejong Institute’ (named after the Joseon Kingdom monarch who spearheaded the invention of the Korean alphabet hangeul), and will better manage the growing number of foreigners wanting to learn the Korean language.
9) To treat foreigners and multi-cultural families better. - A campaign to foster better etiquette and improve hospitality. This is aimed at making Korea a more pleasant country to visit.
10) To help Koreans become “global citizens”. - Smooth Koreans’ attitude to the world and focus on Korea’s traditional nationalism and anti-Americanism.

Most of the projects cited may not appear new to most Koreans, because many of them already exist or were undertaken in the past. The main difference now is that the various programs that are run by different ministries and agencies will now be better coordinated and managed.

According to the President of the Council on Korea’s Nation Branding, Euh Yoon-dae, this 10-points action plan’s ultimate objective is to lift Korea’s ranking on the Anholt’s Nation Brands Index (NBI) to the 15th position over a period of 4 years, 18 notches upwards from the current 33rd. “Korea is the world’s 13th largest economy with some $20,000 in per capita income, but ranks only 33rd in the global brand index. This is a big problem,” President Lee said.

Criticism towards this goal has been raised by Mr. Anholt, the creator of Nation Brand Index, and Mr Andreas Markessinis, the manager of Nation-Branding.info. The former has evaluated this objective as too ambitious, while the latter has questionned whether the position in the NBI is the best way to measure the success or failure of a nation branding project.

Source: Based on informmation published in Nation-branding.info


Korea launches a nation branding programme w 74 million USD budget
Jan 22 2009
Last Thursday, January 22, the Presidential Council on South Korea’s nation branding programme was officially launched by council chairman Euh Yoon-dae and dignitaries including the Korean Culture Minister and the Seoul Tourism Organization president.

The Presidential Council

This Presidential Council, formed by government officials and civilian experts from various fields, will coordinate government efforts to raise overall standards in Korean society and improve the nation’s image in the international community. Former Korea University President Euh Yoon-dae, 63, became the first chairman of the Council. “We will start various projects to promote Korea’s global image and make it a more respected country,” Euh said in a speech to mark the opening of the council’s office in Seoul. “The council will strengthen cooperation with the private sector and municipal governments to help Korean firms and nationals get better treatment overseas.”

The 47-member council, including eight ministers and several PR experts from the country’s leading enterprises, will play a central role in reorganizing Korea’s branding activities and creating positive images abroad for the world’s 13th largest economy. The council consists of 16 top government officials and 31 private sector members including businessmen, scholars, lawyers, marketing experts and a popular musician. The extensive presence of private experts reflects the very nature of the work, which should be backed by heightened awareness of the public and active involvement by companies, civil society and citizens, the chairman said.

With an annual budget of 8 billion won ($5.8 million), the council consists of five teams dealing with international cooperation, corporate and information technology, culture and tourism, the global community and overall coordination. A 19-member working-level body will assist the panel.


Helping other countries as soft power

South Korea is creating a pool of 100 billion won ($74 million) to spruce up its negative image overseas and build a brand as a “respected and beloved” member of the global community, the chairman of the council on nation branding said. “We forecast the total amount of money spent annually on branding by the Seoul metropolitan government, the Korea Tourism Organization and other government agencies to reach about 100 billion won ($74 million). The council will find ways to maximize the effects of branding activities through close policy coordination with them,” Euh said.

In an interview with The Korea Times, Euh also said that the country must increase economic aid to underdeveloped countries to share the premium of its rapid economic growth. “Creating a fund is one of the options to ensure successful nation branding. We will discuss finding the best way,” said Euh, who starts a two-year term today as the first chairman of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding.

Last year, New Zealand spent about 100 billion won on branding campaigns and Denmark created a pool of $85 million to support global promotions, according to the former president of Korea University and President Lee Myung-bak’s alma mater. “Many government agencies and municipal governments have their own branding programs. The council will coordinate policies with them to make South Korea a globally respected and beloved country,” Euh said.

Korea’s nation brand lags behind its national corporations

Euh said the country’s leading conglomerates, Samsung, LG and Hyundai, have a better global reputation than their country. “In terms of branding on the global stage, Korea lags far behind these companies,” he said. “Our activities will focus on reducing the gap and preventing such firms from receiving undue treatment just because they are from South Korea.” Euh said it was President Lee’s idea to create the council on national branding. Lee, a former CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction and mayor of Seoul, is well aware of Korea’s image problems and has a firm resolution to increase Korea’s role in the world, he said.

“Korea’s national brand is seriously weak and the country’s image does not compare with its national power. This is one of the tasks that the nation should address most urgently, as it strives to leap into the ranks of the world’s most advanced countries,” said Euh. “We should break the mold in thinking about national image, which we usually associate only with culture and history. We have Samsung mobile phones, LG TVs, the unrivalled archery team, and many other things that are the world’s best,” the renowned educational reformer said.

Source: www.nation-branding.info

Saatchi & Saatchi to nation brand Kosovo
Jan 24 2009
Kosovo Government announced today that Saatchi & Saatchi has been chosen to develop a nation branding campaign for the newborn Balkan republic. The multinational agency was the winner of “Execution of Nation Branding and International Media Campaign for the Republic of Kosovo” international tender, a tender worth €5.7 million.

The intention to involve in a nation branding campaign was announced for the first time in September after criticism that Kosovo Government was not doing enough to promote the newborn republic and secure political recognitions. With this effort, Kosovo wants to drop negative impressions behind and introduce itself to the world with a smoother and more respectable discourse.

Kosovar Albanian officials wish to improve its image of a hotbed of ethnic discrimination, organized crime, corruption and economic mismanagment. Kosovo’s Ministry of Finance spokesman Muharrem Shahini said Saatchi & Saatchi’s Israel-based unit will run the international branding and media campaign for the newborn republic.

Source: nation-branding.info

Massive interest in Australian "Dreamjob".
15 January 2009
Tourism officials in Australia have been inundated with massive flow of applications for what they have described as "the best job in the world". A website set up to accept applications crashed after receiving more than one million hits in three days.

The job, described as a 'caretaker' on a tropical Hamilton island, requires no formal qualifications except being willing to swim, snorkel, and sail.

In return the successful applicant will receive a salary of A$150,000 ($103,000; £70,000) for six months. They will also get to live rent-free in a three-bedroom villa, complete with pool.

In May, 10 shortlisted candidates and one wildcard, voted for by visitors to the Tourism Queensland website, will be invited to the islands for a four-day final interview process. The successful candidate will start the new job on 1 July.

Read full article here.

Branding Jamaica
Dec 03 2008
Branding has been named by Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI) President, Robert Gregory, as one of the key initiatives, which can give Jamaica a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

A strong national brand, Mr. Gregory argued, would go a far way in positioning the country as an ideal destination for investments.

His comments came as he addressed the recent Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce’s, Target Growth Competitiveness Committee’s Minister’s Forum. on ‘Competitiveness in Manufacturing’, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel. The forum was held under the theme: ‘Transforming the Jamaican Economy to Compete in a Globalised World’.

Mr. Gregory said that central to any discussion on Brand Jamaica is the issue of competitive advantage, which seeks to “define what we have to sell to the world, just in terms of our natural attributes, such as sun, beach, and sand.”

“We know that the days of comparative advantage are no longer suited for us in a globalised world without borders. On the contrary, what gives Jamaican products and services an edge in this homogenised and commoditised world, is differentiation and distinctiveness coupled with the ability to be world-class in production and service delivery,” he pointed out.

“Differentiation, distinctiveness, and world class delivery are the critical elements of competitive advantage. The Jamaican productive sector and firms have no choice but to build their strategies around achieving and sustaining competitive advantage,” the President asserted.

Noting that over the last 20 years, Jamaica has been transformed from a primary agricultural producer, to a predominantly services-based provider, Mr. Gregory contended that the only way the country’s goods and services could achieve the competitive edge, is through the nation’s culture, “which makes us different from the rest of the world.”

“Achieving a competitive advantage and access to global markets, means that there has to be an effective distinction and differentiation of your products or services from others in the marketplace,” he said.

In this regard, the President said nation branding presents Jamaica with a great opportunity to “once and for all, set our own reputation agenda,” arguing that “it’s virtually impossible for countries, particularly small island states like ours, to compete without one.”

“It behoves all of us, as well-thinking citizens of 21st Century Jamaica, to, first of all, define our identity - who do we say we are - and having defined ourselves, we then determine how we want the world to perceive us. And, having achieved self-determination and definition as a nation, we then vigorously project and promote this positive, enduring perception of ourselves to the world in everything we think, say, and do,” Mr. Gregory emphasised.

Nation branding, the JTI Head pointed out, is a new paradigm for statecraft in the information age, and one of the most powerful tools for establishing a competitive advantage. This, he emphasised, would communicate and reinforce the true essence of what it means to be “truly Jamaican,” by how the citizens live and relate, and do business internally and with the rest of the world.

Mr. Gregory said that there are several challenges facing local firms, which he described as the “backbone” of the Jamaica economy, which need attention. These, he outlined, include: looking, with renewed confidence, to the growing opportunities locally and globally; identifying and benchmarking the best products and services in their businesses across the world, and collaborating with the Government in negotiating trade agreements, which would facilitate the deepening of Jamaica’s global competitiveness; and selecting manufacturing and marketing opportunities for high value, low volume niche products, where Jamaica could own the design patents and marketing and distribution channels.

Leveraging Jamaica’s culture into high-value, globally competitive niche products and services for economic wellbeing and sustained prosperity, represents the next economic frontier for the “creative economy,” he argued.

“The vibrant soul and essence of the Jamaican personality, would brand all inputs into co-ordinated efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to Jamaica, whilst ensuring that effective linkages and connections are made with local investors to bring them big dividends. Developing Brand Jamaica is critical in the process of building the creative economy,” the President said.

“A structured, functional and creative economy represents our best opportunity to include all the people in the determination of their own economic advancement and future,” Mr. Gregory added.

Read full article here.

"Marketing Cities: Place Branding in Perspective" conference
Dec 06
One hundred place branding professionals and academics gathered to a "Marketing Cities: Place Branding in Perspective" conference held in Berlin on December 04-06 2008. The international conference was organized by Association for Place Branding & Public Diplomacy.

Selected abstracts of papers presented in the conference will be available in January in http://www.nationbranding.de/site_english/

Country Brand Index 2008 by Future Brand
Country Brand Index 2008 has been released by future Brand. This edition of the Country Brands Index, which is the fourth of the series, is a comprehensive study of approximately 2,700 international business and leisure travelers from nine countries conducted by FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy, in conjunction with public relations firm Weber Shandwick’s Global Travel & Lifestyle Practice. This year’s index includes rankings and trends as well as travel motivations, challenges and opportunities within the worlds of travel, tourism and country branding

Download full report here.

Research: European City Brand Ranking
Nov 3 2008
In a study which ranks Europe’s largest cities based on a comparison of their assets and attractions against the strength of their brands, Paris emerges as Europe’s number one city brand, followed by London, Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam.

The study, entitled ‘The City Brand Barometer’ and created by London-based Saffron Consultants, ranks 72 of Europe’s largest cities based on a comparison of their assets and attractions against the strength of their brands. To support the analysis, Saffron commissioned a YouGov poll of 2,000 consumers to find out what people most want from a city.

Download the study from our Books and Reports section

New Nation Brand Index provider launched
Oct 21 2008
A new player has started to research and release Nation Brand Indexes. The indexing system is based on analysing news articles, as opposed to consumer surveys & expert surveys utilized by the market leader companies Anholt and Future Brand.

The company describes methodology used as follows:

"The East West Nation Branding Index is based on analysizing mentions of countries in hundreds of thousands of news articles, every quarter. For the first indexes (2008/Q2), 38 prominent global media sources were surveyed between April 1, 2008 and June 30, 2008. This collection contained almost 5 million references to the 242 countries or regions identified for the study. Of these references, which were grammatically connected to the countries in question, almost 1.5 million were defined as positive while over 1.7 million were defined as negative. The Nation Branding Index (NBI) score relies both on the overall quality of the media and the prominence of the country, determined by the number of country references or mentions. NBI scores are distributed around a mean 50 with a standard deviation of 10. For the second quarter of 2008 the scores ranged from 17.2569 to 91.3769.

The East West Nation Branding Indexes use a proprietary Natural Language Processing text analysis system, developed by Perception Metrics. This rule-based system is comprised of dictionaries that include almost 16,000 words and phrases indicating either a positive or a negative message. From the analysis of these positive and negative messages and country mentions, a score is calculated and compared to other entities in the study."


Nation Brand Index 2008 released
Sep 24 2008
NEW YORK, September 24, 2008 – GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, a division of GfK Custom Research North America, today announced results from the 2008 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands IndexSM (NBI) report.

Germany is viewed as the best overall "brand”, receiving the highest ranking of the 50 nations measured. The United States ranks seventh overall behind Germany, France, U.K., Canada, Japan and Italy, respectively. Familiarity-wise, the U.S. comes out on top: a majority, (91%) have at least some knowledge of the U.S. in general.

2008 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands IndexSM Ranking (Top 20 of 50 Nations)

1. Germany
2. France
3. United Kingdom
4. Canada
5. Japan
6. Italy
7. United States
8. Switzerland
9. Australia
10. Sweden
11. Spain
12. Netherlands
13. Norway (tie)
14. Austria (tie)
15. Denmark
16. Scotland
17. New Zealand
18. Finland
19. Ireland
20. Belgium

The index is based on a survey in which respondents from across 20 major developed and developing countries are asked to rate their agreement with statements about each nation. The statements cover six categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment. The NBI ranking is based on the average of these six scores.

"The NBI is a report card for countries, measuring the world’s perception of each nation as if it were a public brand,” explains Simon Anholt, NBI founder. "Within the top 10 most positively perceived countries, the ranking reveals a strong correlation between a nation’s overall brand and its economic status.”

Adds Xiaoyan Zhao, Senior Vice President and director of the NBI study at GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media, "Much as a commercial brand relies on a favorable public opinion to sell products, countries depend on their reputation and image to bring in tourists, business, investment and other facets important to a nation’s financial strength and its international standing.”

Following are the top ranked countries in each category, as well as two additional countries with noteworthy positions on the list:

Culture Brand Ranking: 1. France, 2. Italy, 3. United Kingdom, 18. Egypt, 20. India

People Brand Ranking: 1. Canada, 2. Australia, 3. Italy, 31. Russia, 34. South Africa

Exports Brand Ranking: 1. Japan, 2. United States, 3. Germany, 21. China, 50. Nigeria

Tourism Brand Ranking: 1. Italy, 2. France, 3. Spain, 13. Brazil, 31. Turkey

Governance Brand Ranking: 1. Switzerland, 2. Canada, 3. Sweden, 22. United States, 50. Iran

Immigration/Investment Brand Ranking: 1. Canada, 2. United Kingdom (tie), 2. United States (tie), 10. Japan, 29. United Arab

For more information and click here.

Branding Holland contest
Sep 25 2008
On September 25, the Dutch Government launched a competition called “Paint the World Orange” to harvest ideas for the branding Holland project. The initiative seeks to find the best idea to brand the Netherlands internationally and develop a new approach for the international branding of the Netherlands. The goal is to develop innovative marketing concepts, tools and ideas to position the Netherlands as an international hub for creative talent, and a global force in innovation.

A jury, led by designer Marcel Wanders, will select 5 candidates from the initial entries; these will be announced by 3 December 2008 and are asked to further develop their concept. The winner will be announced in the Spring of 2009. A budget of max. Euro 500.000 will be allocated to roll out the concept, and it will be made into an integral part of the Holland Branding Strategy.

For more information and to enter click here.

Branding Finland
Sep 21 2008
Finland’s brand new foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, who has always shown strong interest for brands and branding, has appointed a high-level delegation to lead efforts to develop a country brand for Finland, according to a press release from Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Jorma Ollila, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Royal Dutch Shell plc and Nokia Corporation, has been invited to chair the delegation. The delegation is charged with the creation of a country brand for Finland, i.e. to create a strong national image that will enhance Finland’s international competitiveness. Appointment of the delegation is based on the present Government Programme, where the Government mentioned strengthening of Finland’s image as one of its central objectives.

The delegation is made up of prominent Finns with personal experience and proven ability in a wide range of fields, such as culture, business, international advocacy and public relations. The delegation’s term begins on 16 September 2008 and ends on 31 December 2010.

The purpose of the country brand is to strengthen the operating potential of Finnish businesses, increase foreign political influence, promote interest in Finland as an investment target and to increase tourist flows to Finland. The country brand is a cornerstone underpinning success and wellbeing. In the worst of cases, a poor image means economic risk and political setback.

The delegation’s tasks include definition of key strategic selections, critical questions of content, services that enhance prestige and networking, as well as monitoring and steering of the project.

The country brand project is the responsibility of the Finland Promotion Board, which is directed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and whose members include the central professional actors marketing Finland on the international scene, i.e. the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Invest in Finland, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology Tekes, Finpro, Taloudellinen Tiedotustoimisto/Finnfacts, Finnair and the Finnish Forest Foundation.

Guardians of our national reputation

Shortly after this notice, Annamari Sipilä has written a piece on Finland’s brand in this article:

What do those foreigners really think about the Finns? I am not joking. I am not being sarcastic. I am serious. I really want to know what those foreigners think about us Finns. I also want them to think something quite magnificent of us.

Finland’s most overly-cultivated cliche is that we Finns are pathologically interested in what foreigners think of us. The other 192 countries in the world supposedly have no such concerns. The reason is that Finns while are plagued by weak but that other nations are not. Poppycock!

The reality is quote the reverse: we Finns pay far too little heed to what others think of us. We are arrogant and pathologically self-assured, and we imagine that others admire our northern plot of land as much as we do ourselves.

Fortunately the Finnish government has finally understood that it is not possible to get very far with such an attitude. Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb appointed a working group last week to think about a Finnish national brand - that is, the image, or reputation of the country. The group of 18 wise persons is chaired by Jorma Ollila, chairman of the boards of both Nokia and Shell.

As competition intensifies, Finland will not be able to afford not to care about how others see it. A strong country image creates success and well-being, the proponents claim.

Not too little, but perhaps too late?

In other countries national brands have been nurtured since the beginning of the decade. The Estonians are pioneers, and right behind them come the Swedes and the Danes. In Britain and Germany - you know, those two West European countries that appear rather often in the media - the image of the countries has been honed consistently for years.

The aim of establishing a stronger national brand is that when a foreigner hears the word “Finland”, many pleasant thoughts will pop into that person’s mind. The more positive the thoughts raised by the word “Finland”, the stronger Finland’s brand, or reputation will be.

If a country’s brand is especially strong, a foreigner will go batty every time he or she is exposed to a stimulus involving Finland. The foreigner will want to buy Finnish products, to travel (if not actually move) to Finland, to agree with Finnish opinions on international arenas, and to be the Finns’ best friend in other ways as well.

Even a large country can have problems with its national image. In France a few years ago, Germany sought to brand itself as a sexy country. “We could do all kinds of nice things together”, the Germans indicated to the French, tired as they were of having a reputation of being mainly engineers. In Britain, Germany’s national brand campaign focussed on something completely different: Germany is more than just the Second World War.

The mission of Ollila and his partners will take more than two years. It is a short time to set a brand for an entire state. Furthermore, country brands are not established through administrative decisions, or through any other decisions, for that matter. National images are mostly based on random and coincidental events, whose significance is understood only in retrospect.

Or as Simon Anholt, the British pioneer of nation branding, said: “National image is like starlight which, by the time it reaches us on Earth, is only the distant echo of an event that started and finished long before.”

Nevertheless, Ollila’s working group would do well to put some speed in its work. I want my neighbours to start whispering as soon as possible: “She’s a Finn. We were lucky!”

Until then I’ll have to boost Finland’s national brand on my own. It’s terribly difficult, having to think about what others think.

See Helsingin Sanomat

USA: First promotional site launched
Sep 15 2008
DiscoverAmerica.com, the United States' first-ever official travel and tourism website, has been launched with language-specific sites in the leading international travel markets.

DiscoverAmerica.com is the result of a partnership between the US Department of Commerce and the Travel Industry Association (TIA). The six websites took about 16 months to research, develop and build.

The websites target consumers in the five countries that account for 75 percent of all inbound travel to the US: Canada (English- and French-speaking), Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Interactive content for all 50 states, the five territories, dozens of cities and attractions, and official entry information from US government sources is presented in the native languages of each market.

TIA plans to grow DiscoverAmerica.com in coming months, adding more cities and attraction information, as well as adding websites for markets such as China, France and South Korea.

Canada: Tourism Brand Toolkit
Sep 15 2008
A new tourism brand toolkit has been developed by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC).

The toolkit details the look, voice, values and mission of the brand and includes a colour palette inspired by Canada's people and landscapes, ready-to-use graphics and photos, and brand guidelines to make it easy for business partners to align their marketing materials with the brand.

A CTC representative commented: 'Created collaboratively by the CTC and its industry partners, the Canada tourism brand has been designed to take travellers on a journey where they can mingle with the locals, uncover exotic landscapes, stumble upon extraordinary cultural encounters that move spirit, mind and body.'

Branding Korea (Part 2)
Sep 10th 2008
Coinciding with the Korean government’s efforts to develop a nation brand for Korea and its moves to create an agency for the Brand Korea project, the Korea Times has announced it is going to publish a series of articles by nation branding international experts on this issue.

In the first edition, nation branding guru Simon Anholt has been the guest contributor. This is the article as has appeared:

Anything Wrong With Korea’s Image Today?

There is a lot of talk today about Korea’s `nation brand,’ the phrase I first coined 12 years ago in the Journal of Brand Management. Branding Korea has been announced as the cornerstone project of the Lee Myung-Bak administration.

Citing Korea’s low ranking in the Anholt Nation Brands Index in a speech to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Republic, the President commented that “if the nation wants to be labeled an advanced country, it will be necessary to significantly improve its image and reputation.” I think that this is a good moment to ask some important questions about Korea’s current obsession with its international image.

Isn’t image a vague, superficial idea? Shouldn’t governments deal with reality, not perceptions? Isn’t it trivial and unhealthy to become obsessed with how others see you? National image may seem like an abstract concept, but its effects are beyond doubt.

The reputation of a country has a direct and measurable impact on almost every way it engages with the rest of the world: its products, its politics, its people, its culture, its ability to attract tourists and investment, all are underpinned by its image.

If the country’s image is weak, out of date or negative, there is no doubt that this can seriously obstruct many of the things the country wants to do in the world. I have always claimed that it is the responsibility of all good governments in the 21st century to see themselves as guardians and custodians of the nation’s good name: the country’s “brand managers”.

Is there really anything wrong with Korea’s image today? The Anholt Nation Brands Index (NBI), one of the largest regular opinion polls in the world, has been measuring the images of 40 to 50 countries since 2005, polling over 20,000 people in up to 35 countries ― a sample that represents over 80 percent of the world’s economic power.

Korea has ranked, on average, in 29th place in the NBI results; even the Korean respondents themselves rank Korea no higher than 9th. There seems to be some confusion between the Republic of Korea and North Korea in the minds of some respondents, especially in Europe and the Americas, but this isn’t the only reason for Korea’s poor scores in the NBI.

The world just doesn’t think very much about Korea, or think very highly of it. It is not a country that orindary people perceive to be very relevant to their daily lives, or believe to be very attractive or admirable.

Korea’s image is pretty good in much of Asia, mainly thanks to the `Korean Wave,’ and it has a fairly positive reputation amongst international elites ― investors, diplomats and so forth but when it comes to global popular opinion, Korea’s remarkable economic development over the last decades, its natural beauty, its cultural wealth and its human capital have simply not registered.

There seems no doubt that Korea needs a better, truer, fairer, stronger and more positive image in order for it to continue to develop and prosper. I also believe that it deserves a better image than it currently has: most countries, at some level, get the reputation they deserve, but the reality of Korea is generally far better than its reputation.

But can Korea be branded? Is it possible to do anything to change that image, make it more positive, update it, make it stronger?

That’s an entirely different question, and one that I have devoted the last 15 years to trying to understand: by collecting over a million research responses from people in 35 countries, by working closely with the governments of more than 30 countries on their image challenges, by founding and editing the only academic journal on this subject, and by studying the ways in which hundreds of countries, cities and regions have tried to take control over their image during the last 500 years.

My conclusion? Yes, national image can be influenced, but it’s one of the most difficult tasks a country can face. It requires huge amounts of patience, wisdom, skill, resources, courage, leadership and imagination. It requires a long-term partnership between government, business and civil society.

My most important conclusion is that ‘branding’ is absolutely the wrong word to describe how countries can change their images. This process has almost nothing to do with marketing.

I would advise the Korean government to think very hard and very critically about the idea of ‘branding’ as this project moves forward, and not to fall into the tempting trap of believing that national image can be managed or manipulated by communications.

A country is not a running shoe or a can of fizzy drink. It is not a product for sale in a supermarket. Its image cannot be altered by spending money on logos, slogans, advertising and public relations campaigns. This is propaganda, and it is an absolutely unjustifiable expenditure of taxpayers’ money.

In all the years I have been studying national image and reputation, I have never seen a single, properly documented example to show that any country’s image has ever been altered by marketing campaigns. In fact, in the NBI there are several examples of countries whose image has declined in spite of major branding campaigns, and several others whose image has improved without any marketing at all.

But surely you’re the guy who came up with the slogan ‘Sparkling’? Why are you now saying that slogans don’t work?

“Sparkling” is a tourism slogan. Its purpose is to promote vacations in Korea, not to try and change the image of the whole country. The rule is this. If you’re selling a product, then marketing communications ― all the range of logos, slogans and promotional campaigns ― are not just desirable but necessary.

Tourism is a product, just like Samsung phones or Ssangyong cars, and it needs to be properly marketed. But Korea is not for sale, and it cannot be directly marketed to the world.

Whatever reputation the country wants, the country needs to earn. So if branding is the wrong idea, how do you change Korea’s image?

National image can only be altered by a close partnership between all sectors of government, business and civil society, sharing a long-term commitment to courageous and strategically inspired policies, innnovations and investments. The government needs to lead a working coalition of all those stakeholders in developing a strategy that clearly identifies the following:


What the country’s image is today in its most important overseas markets?
Where the country is going and how it is going to get there?
What sort of reputation it needs and deserves in order to achieve those
objectives?
How it is going to implement the actions needed to build that reputation?
This plan should be clear, simple, transparent, accountable and measurable. It should set concrete objectives, and identify how those objectives are going to be met, and how success is to be measured.

President Lee has correctly identified an important problem and an equally important opportunity for his country in the age of globalization, and he is to be applauded for having understood something that few leaders in the world today fully understand.

I hope ― and Korean people and businesses must also hope ― that in the all-important next stage, this clarity and perception do not abandon him and his government. The temptation of a ‘quick fix’, and the appeal of attractive marketing gimmicks and ambitious PR campaigns, should not distract them from the seriousness and the scale of the task that faces them today.

There are no short cuts to a better image. If I have learned one thing in the last 15 years, it is this: countries build their reputations by what they do, not by what they say.

See Korea Times


Branding Serbia
Aug 30 2008
A press release was launched by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately, it seems that the translation is of poor quality, and it is quite difficult to understand. However, here it is:

"PRESS RELEASE / 30.08.2008 / BELGRADE, SERBIA

TOP QUALITY OF THE NATIONAL BRANDING

Open media model for the affirmation of a society in terms of brand development has not been realised yet in any country and thereby successfully carried out initiative would place Serbia on the top in national branding

The Serbian Chamber of Commerce officially signed the Brand charter and thereby supported the initiative of brand development philosophy, the field of national importance. The Brand Charter has been today signed by the Director of the Center for Marketing, Information and Promotion with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Ivan Jaksic and editor-in-chief of Brand magazine Vjekoslav Cerovina.

The Serbian Chamber of Commerce has decided to sign the Brand Charter in order to raise the awareness of the nation and point out the importance of branding, the field of national importance. In this way we indicate the importance of this action and attract other institutions, economic entities, even individuals to support the initiative and try to represent Serbia in its best, as a matter of fact, the real picture of Serbia. First of all, we invite economic entities to support the initiative, as well as the representatives of the state authorities, as with their contribution this action will get its real sense, emphasized Jaksic.

The significance of Brand Charter, initiated by Brand magazine early in August 2007, lies in the organized and general affirmation of all social classes with only one aim-brand development of the country. Along with the concept of open media initiative it provides, the Brand Charter also provides for solutions to social responsible corporations, companies, and individuals to take part in this process.

Open media model for the affirmation of a society in terms of brand development has not been realised yet in any country and thereby successfully carried out initiative would place Serbia on the top in national branding.

The Brand Charter signatories are as follows: SIEPA, Serbian Institute for Public Diplomacy, Apatin brewery, Danube Foods Group, SI&SI Group, UEPS, Brand Fair, Exit Team, Communis, New Moment, Color Press Group, Orange Studio, Belgrade Beer Fest, the Royal Order of Knights, Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Direct Media, Interactiv, Pristop, CenET (Center for Tourism and Ecology, Modern Skills Center, Tanjug, HTTPOOL, BIS (British International School), Profile, as well as artists Djule Van Gogh and Slobodan Trkulja.

All Brand Charter signatories should together organize the conference to identify all possible issues and define how this field is going to be developed."


Discussing Brand Sweden
Sep 9 2008
The Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce has published an interview with Simon Anholt on Sweden’s image, its strengths and the risks that Brand Sweden faces:

[Interview conducted by Hans Sandberg]

Countries build reputations, much like corporations and individuals do, but while celebrities and executives are usually very aware of their public personae, national leaders often ignore it as something superficial.In an exclusive interview for Currents magazine,SimonAnholt – a leading expert on“nation branding”– talks about Sweden’s strong image and the challenges it faces in a changing world.

Simon Anholt coined the modern usage of “nation brands” back in 1998, and soon developed a consulting business around “place branding,” including regions, cities and countries.He publishes an annual “Nation Brand Index” based on interviews with 26,000 people in 35 countries. For the last couple of years, Sweden has ranked seventh in Anholt’s nation brand survey, but Sweden was overtaken by Italy in the latest survey.

Why is Sweden such a strong nation brand?
“Well, it’s really two questions. Why do the Nordic countries perform so well in general, and why does Sweden perform better than the average Nordic country? I believe it’s because they have inherited a very positive regional image. People around the world have a kind of automatic assumption that a Nordic country is a good country, rich, democratic, and with a wonderful welfare system. They make super products, have lovely, pristine landscapes, and exercise good governance.All of Scandinavia enjoys this fabulous image. “Sweden inherits a lot of values from that general image just like Norway and Denmark, and to some degree Finland and Iceland. But while the latter cluster nicely together in the survey, Sweden always come up higher and moves around in a different way. People can clearly distinguish between Sweden and the other Nordic countries. Sweden is more famous and always has been. Swedes are less modest, which perhaps is a cultural thing. They are more natural branders than the Danes, and in particular than the Norwegians.”

So the famous Swedish humility is a myth?
“Oh, yes, they’re not humble at all, even if they pretend to be. And remember that selfpromotion is not necessarily the opposite of humility. Swedes are undoubtedly brought up to be modest, and not show off or boast. But Swedish enterprises on the other hand have always been very ambitious and kept high profiles. Sweden is better known than Denmark or Norway because its commercial brands have higher profiles and are more closely associated with their country of origin. Everybody has heard of Lego, but people don’t know it’s Danish.

“I don’t know if it’s because Swedes are more nationalistic, but somehow they attach their nationality to whatever they do. The achievements of Swedish companies, people, and institutions have therefore contributed more to the image of the country than similar achievements in other countries.”

Swedes rarely speak of themselves as nationalists, but does that help them brand their nation?
“There is a big difference between nationalism and national pride, and this is probably the crux of the matter. Look at Italy as an example. As a country, they always score incredibly well on my Nation Brand Index survey. I’m convinced that it’s because of their national pride. They are tremendously relaxed and happy and proud about being Italian, but this is not nationalism. The Italians are absolutely not nationalists, but they are very proud of their own identity and culture. Having a narrow-minded nationalism doesn’t really help your image.

Can other countries learn from or copy Sweden’s branding success?
“Well, there are certainly some important truths that emerge when you look at Sweden, but I don’t know whether you can copy anything that Sweden has done, because most of it happened by accident. National image is almost never built on purpose, and it’s never, ever, created through communications. There are some cases where countries have set about deliberately to create an image of themselves, something that it is easier to do if you’re not a democracy. Singapore and Dubai did that, and it’s easier for them, because they can act like a corporation, with a chief executive that has a lot of control over the product.

“In reality you can’t really do nation branding, and I regret ever having coined the phrase. I should have realized that people would misunderstand it. I meant it in a very passive sense, in the sense that nations have images, much as corporations have brands, and I wanted to stress that they are terribly important. But I didn’t mean that you could change the image of the nation through communications. What you can do is to change the behavior, but that takes many, many years. If a country wanted to copy Sweden’s model of government, it would eventually end up with the similar good image, but there is nothing superficial that you can copy. What the success of Sweden’s image tells us is that if you have a strong national culture and a strong national identity, a good governance, a prosperous economy, a beautiful landscape, and a creative, innovative, and highly educated people, then you will end up with a happy, successful country, and if you have that, you will have a good image.

“The interesting question for Sweden today is why it should bother if it already has such a brilliant image. The answer is that the product is changing, but not the image. Sweden is facing the same dilemma as many other European countries, because their populations are changing very rapidly, making their images less and less accurate. The classic image of Sweden is a very Scandinavian one with a lot of blond people capering around in the woods, diving into frozen lakes, and so forth. It’s very much a Protestant, white, Northern European and somewhat bucolic story, but a growing number Swedes are not white, male, or Protestant. As a consequence, this national narrative leaves out more and more of the reality, and that creates huge problems.

“Sweden must keep its reputation in pace with a changing reality, and this is its biggest challenge image wise. There is another reason why Sweden needs to do this: because of the changing economic reality. Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden has prospered beautifully within a little shopping mall called Europe, and it is very familiar and well known there, but as more and more and more of its foreign income comes from China, Russia, India, and Brazil, Sweden finds itself in the unfamiliar situation of being largely unknown. While a Chinese and Brazilian businessperson is very familiar with what Germany, Italy, and the U.K. are, he or she is not that clear about the difference between Sweden and Norway, or even Belgium. It’s a little bit of a blur seen from China. So in the age of global markets, Sweden will have to do its branding all over again.”

So you really need to be realistic about your nation brand. You can’t B.S. your way…
“Exactly, and it’s equally important that you continue to deserve your reputation. I always tell governments I advise that you never own a particular image.You only rent it, and you have to keep paying the rent. For Sweden, indeed for most countries, that means that you have to maintain a constant stream of innovation, generating new products, new services, new policies, new culture, new art, new entertainment, new people, new stars.You need to continue to tell and update the story, and prove that this is a country worth respecting, so to keep it in the media, and in the stores. It’s like trying to fill up a bathtub when the plug has been pulled out. You do something amazing, you have the Olympics or whatever, and you pour a liter of water, but before you have finished your champagne glass, the water has run out. People have forgotten about it, and you have to do the next thing.

“Today’s governments must try to create an innovative climate. Sweden is very good at this, and has institutions like Vinnova, which work very hard to generate institutional and social support for innovation. It’s also important that this innovation be guided by a common national strategy so that it tells a story, because just doing new stuff doesn’t do anything to the image. It keeps you looking modern, successful, and rich, but it doesn’t tell people what kind of country Sweden is. It’s not enough to be high profile.You have to be distinctive.”

Is there anything that could threaten the strong standing of ‘brand Sweden’?
“There is the threat of irrelevance. The world can change while you stay the same, and you don’t look particularly interesting anymore. Take tourism for example. You can be busy promoting your tourism, which is not sunny beaches, but rather vigorous, outdoorsy, cool water and hiking-based stuff. You might have been busy promoting that while tourism changed, so that people don’t want what you are offering. That is a threat on the national level as well. The government needs to be able to answer this very difficult question: What is Sweden for? It’s such a hard question, and it’s not a question that countries are accustomed to asking themselves. Before globalization reached its current level, you never had to ask yourself that question, because you occupied your little niche within your region. Now all countries are floating free on this large globe, and they have to position themselves, and be able to say what their country is for.

“The biggest and most common risk is that governments, and heads of state in particular, don’t take this seriously enough. Most politicians were brought up in an age when things like this were considered trivial, and I get this a great deal in Northern Europe and the U.K. as well. People say,‘Oh, yes, image, that is very superficial, but in politics we are concerned with reality.’ Well, this attitude is completely absurd, because people behave in accordance with what they believe, not necessarily with the truth. I have been working in this area for the past decade and seen that governments are beginning to recognize that this is not only part of their job, but extremely important. National identity is one of a country’s most valuable assets, and it belongs to the people, not the government. The fact that you can write ‘Made in Sweden’ on your resume makes you very desirable. A government inherits a national image, and it is its responsibility to hand it down to its successors in the same or better condition that when it received it.

What role do the Scandinavian countries’ relatively egalitarian structure, environmental politics, and high level of foreign aid play? Have these helped them the way charitable activities have helped American companies with their images?
“Yes, absolutely. The moral and ethical climate in which we are now living means that countries must do CSR for their images. It used to be a rather unusual and distinctive quality, but today it is increasingly looking like the cost of entry for international respectability in the market place. You have to prove your social and environmental respectability, and obviously Sweden and the Nordics have a bit of a head start on that. People still think they are wonderful, because they still reap the benefits of being early movers, but again, that is a reputation that you need to continue to deserve. It’s part of their initial fit, and something people expect of them, but it’s also a disadvantage, because they have to work twice as hard to gain anybody’s attention. Few would notice if a Swedish company wins another green award, but they would notice if they didn’t.

What about the Vikings? Maybe they didn’t do such a good job, seen from the perspective of national brand management.
“The Vikings probably laid the foundation for today’s strong brand. They laid the ground for your habit of foreign travel and trade. In terms of image, there is probably a grain of admiration there, because one of the qualities of the Scandinavian brand is strength. People think of Scandinavia as big and strong, and that comes from the Viking heritage.”

Oh, my first thought was that people feared that the Vikings would rape and pillage…
“Well, we know by now that that doesn’t happen anymore.”

Thailand Building on Social Media
Aug 27 2008
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched two digital activities as part of the Amazing Thailand campaign to encourage more visitors.

By uploading video clips of their favourite experiences, tourists will be entered into a cash prize draw. Clips submitted to the Amazing Experience Video Contest will also be uploaded to social networking sites such as YouTube.com.

The Thailand Portfolio Project features uploaded photographs and stories from journalists which are then ranked by website visitors.

Suraphon Svetasreni, Tourism Authority of Thailand, said: 'It is now very popular for tourists to share their holiday experiences by uploading their travel videos on the internet. TAT has realised the massive potential that this channel provides for e-marketing.'

Branding Brunei
Aug 15 2008 (July 1 2008)
An article has appeared in Asia Times about Brunei’s national brand, by Paul Temporal:

You can brand anything; that’s a fact. But why have many countries, including Brunei, recently turned to using branding techniques that are normally confined to the private sector, pop stars and politicians?

Branding has always been seen as the key to sustainable profitability and increased asset value for companies, but countries have now realised the importance of having a strong brand image across the world. Like their private sector counterparts, countries compete for foreign direct investment, tourism, talent and trade.

Although Brunei already has substantial global brand awareness, it has a somewhat neutral image and lacks a well-defined identity and articulated values that it needs to be a strong international player in its chosen sectors such as halal (activities permissible under Islam) products and services, tourism and SME-driven exports.

Like many other countries which have survived on natural wealth such as oil, Brunei needs to diversify into different markets. One successful example of diversification is the United Arab Emirates which has managed to establish a world-class airline. For this to happen in Brunei, it needs to make fundamental policy changes and develop a brand strategy. There are not many products labelled “Made in Brunei” as yet and this is a policy as well as a branding issue.

Like any brand, even more so, nations have individual DNA or “fingerprints” that are unique unto themselves — no two nations are alike. From language and skin colour, to music and art style, to customs and religion, no two nations on Earth are exactly the same. Unlike company brands where imitation is too often a norm, nation brands are often free from this because of their diversity of thought and opinion, geographic separation and language, unique histories and experiences, and genetics. Because of the desire of societies to be special and original, nations like to be strongly differentiated brands and this desire has great effect on country brand identity.

Branding is becoming increasingly relevant as the world enters a new era of unprecedented change, upheaval and uncertainty. This change is strategic, unlike the incremental change of more predictable times, and therefore requires a strategic response. Brand building is exactly such a response. The deregulation of markets and the emergence of more developing countries means that competition is accelerating, and in crowded markets, image power counts.

Some countries already have certain positive image attributes. Say the word “Italian” in conjunction with clothes, sports cars and art and suddenly the items gets a much desired position, being seen as premium and stylish. Japan is known for its high-quality consumer electronics and cars while Switzerland has an image of affluence, precision with a touch of secrecy. Such countries have an image derived from their heritage and culture and their “core values”.

Countries that do not have a strong and positive image have to develop a strategy based on their culture, values and strengths and build a brand around them. Does size count? Are small countries like Brunei at a disadvantage in building brands? The answer is that small can be beautiful as smaller countries can be faster, more nimble and flexible than large ones. They can change faster, adopt niche positions and innovate more quickly, all essential attributes in today’s competitive markets.

Speed and agility have been demonstrated by countries such as New Zealand, Monaco, Iceland, Dubai, Hong Kong and many others, all of which are highly conscious of how they want to be seen (brand identity) and how they are actually seen (brand image), and have used branding techniques to make sure there are no gaps between the two.

Branding done well accomplishes much for countries that undertake it. These benefits include:

Currency stability;
Attraction of global capital;
Greater access to global markets;
Increase in international political influence;
Growth in export of branded products and services;
Increases in inbound tourism and foreign direct investment;
Development of stronger international partnerships;
Enhancement of nation-building (confidence, pride, harmony, national resolve);
Attraction and retention of talent (the human resource and global knowledge);
Improvement in the ability to beat competitors and defend local markets;
Restoration of global credibility and investor confidence;
Reversal of international ratings downgrades
Power brands in the private sector are always top-down driven, but use internal branding activities to engage employees and change policies so that the promise of the brand is delivered. This is the greatest challenge for country branding.

Country brands must be led from the top, which can be Royalty, Rulers, Presidents or Prime Ministers, but there has to be buy-in and commitment across all sectors and the public at large. Compromises must be made and consensus reached, and a roadmap for change that does not erode the nation’s core values has to be drawn up and implemented steadfastly.

It is no good taking the easy way out. For example, it is important not to fall into the trap of believing that advertising will change a nation’s brand image. It will not; but creating favourable policies and skillful public diplomacy will. Advertising may build awareness but, as is the case with the private sector, it is the customer experience that counts and tough policy decisions often have to be made to enable this.

This need for inclusiveness and agreement on an agenda for change, together with public and private sector alignment is what makes branding at country level a difficult process. A structured approach is necessary or the country brand will develop in an ad hoc and perhaps inappropriate way. Many of the smaller countries of Asia may find it less difficult to secure inclusiveness than larger ones. This is certainly the case with Brunei, where consensus and harmony are key strengths.

Another challenge in country branding is intra-brand competition. Mixed messages are often communicated from different areas of government, whether ministries or departments. They arise because government bodies compete with each other for talent and investment, but the result may be confused messages and mixed images about what the country stands for. They have to learn how to build their own images behind that of the master brand — the country.

Only one thing is certain in today’s global markets. If a country does not stand out, and is not positioned as being different and better than its competitors, then its chances of doing well in the future will be less. Branding is all about differentiation.

The process and results of branding at country level are proven, and concern the future prosperity of a nation and its people. In this context, the decision not to build a strong country brand and the consequences of such a decision are unthinkable, and so it should be given the highest priority. A strong brand is essential for survival in the 21st century, and Brunei needs to start developing its brand now.

See Asia Times

Dr Paul Temporal has advised leading companies and governments around the world on branding, and is the author of several books on public and private sector branding, He lives in Asia, is an Associate Fellow at Oxford University.

Singapore Tourism Board
Aug 15 2008 (Mar 2008)
A global brand media campaign has been developed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The campaign deviates from previous campaign styles involving celebrities and personalities and, instead, showcases the visitor as the celebrity, encouraging visitors to share their interpretation of what makes Singapore unique with prospective visitors from their own country.

Winnie Pua, Director, Brand Management, STB said, 'By learning from visitors their interpretation of the brand, we can ensure the Uniquely Singapore brand remains fresh, relevant and meaningful for each visitor, encouraging top-of-mind destination recall as well as to invite potential visitors to make a visit to discover their own unique personal experiences here.'

Austria Launches new tourism marketing campaign
Aug 15 2008 (Mar 2008)
The Austrian National Tourism Board (ANTB) last month launched a new marketing campaign incorporating a new brand image - It's got to be Austria. CEO, Petra Stolba, commented, 'With this new campaign we highlight Austria's distinctive characteristics together with unexpected perspectives. The imagery of the new campaign generates attention and interest, exudes continuity but also provides new impetus.

'We aim to produce so called 'decision triggers', which tip the balance in Austria's favour and provide potential visitors with reasons to travel and opportunities to experience. Overall the campaign is designed to inspire and convey Austria as an enriching holiday destination.'

Berlin's campaign begins from residents
Aug 15 2008 (Mar 2008)
Germany's capital, Berlin, has launched a new advertising campaign based around the slogan Be Berlin. The campaign, which will be managed by public relations group Berlin Partner, will focus initially on the city's residents, then be extended to include global advertising.

Australia ranked world's top country brand by CBI
Aug 15 2008 (Jan 2008)
Australia has once again earned the coveted prize of world's top country brand, according to the 2007 Country Brand Index (CBI), with the USA and UK in second and third places. Other countries making the top 10 included Japan, Canada, France and Greece.

The CBI also identified Croatia, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the top three rising stars those likely to become a major tourist destination in the next five years. Also making the list this year are Cuba, Iceland, and the Russian Federation.

CBI, now in its third year, is a study of more than 2,600 international travellers conducted by FutureBrand.

See ratings at http://www.countrybrandindex.com/country-brand-rankings/




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