Principles of branding apply in equal measure to countries as they do to corporations. But methods are different. Countries will compete daily with neighbors or block regions for tourism, inward investment and export sales. Thereâ€™s only so much business that can go around. Those countries that start with an unknown or poor reputation will be limited or marginalized. They cannot easily boost their commercial success. Consequently, they will often languish at the bottom |of the ladder of influence. No voice or even worse, they are the butt of jokers at every regional summit.
With toursim as the world’s second largest industry, and countries spending more to promote themselves, their product and their assets, FutureBrand feels it is time to look at countries in a whole new way – as brands. Since I presented here the 2005 Country Brand Index, is time now the 2006 Top 10 (number in brackets are representing last year standings):
- Australia (2)
- USA (3)
- Italy (1)
- France (4)
- Greece (6)
- UK (-)
- Spain (-)
- New Zealand (-)
- Maldives (5)
- India (-)
Here are some excerpts from the FutureBrand report:
While the concept of countries as brand is becoming more accepted, the category continues to be dominated by generic marketing; true adoption of brand as a critical country assett ontinues to be underdeveloped. This study focuses on the tourism component of country brands, since it is currently the most visible and marketed manifestation of a country.
However, the Index also acknowledges other significant areas of country brand opportunities (for instance, investments and exports), and strongly encourages countries to view their brand holistically, rather than in discrete government silos.
While Tourism is often the most consciously marketed aspect of a country, it is only one of many country offerings. It is clear that the image, reputation and brand value of a country impacts the perception of its products, population, investment opportunities and even foreign aid or funding. A country brand at the highest level is much more than a logo or slogan, it is a unifying and identifiable platform that is manifested in the country experience, communicated by officials and citizens and delivered through different government and private agencies. The idea of a country brand is not merely a marketing wrapper, but a value proposition that changes perception and preference, drives usage and increases the economic interests of the country.
You can read the full report here.
Related or not with dropping from the 1st to the 3rd place, Italy now has a new logo and slogan to promote the country as a brand in areas like tourism.
The logo and slogan were presented Wednesday to the press by Premier Romano Prodi and Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli, who oversaw the tender for the initiative The presentation preceded by a day the one for a new Italia.it portal, which will be illustrated at the BIT international tourism trade fair in Milan.