Branding a Country

Tourism is only one of several areas that every nation needs to develop and only one of the sectors that can benefit from country branding. After all, a country with fine beaches might also be an easy or safe place to invest in if relevant legislation is in place and the rule of law firmly established.

How a country is perceived, both domestically and from abroad, from the quality of its goods and services, to the attractiveness of its culture and its tourism and investment opportunities, to its politics, economic policies and foreign policy, can be shaped under a brand. The branding process strengthens democracy and helps both internal development and successful integration into the world community, on all levels.

To do their jobs well in the future, politicians will have to train themselves in brand management. Their tasks will include finding a brand niche for their state, engaging in competitive marketing, assuring customer satisfaction, and most of all, creating brand loyalty. “Brand states will compete not only among themselves but also with superbrands such as the EU, CNN, Microsoft, and the Roman Catholic Church (boasting the oldest and most recognised logo in the world, the crucifix),” Peter van Ham, a senior research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael in The Hague, says.

A successful branding effort delivers benefits that exceed any government or administration. In the same way that Coca Cola is sold through a successful global branding and marketing campaign, year after year, irrespective of who owns or runs the company in Atlanta, so too a good branding and marketing campaign for a country can reap benefits for it, irrespective of who is at the top of its government.


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