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International firms branding the world

Several countries are working hard to revitalise their image and are building identities around their positive attributes

Gulf News

Many people miss the ‘Dislike', but — if Canadians have their way — you could rely on a new social network button ‘Love'.

Last week, a group of activists gathered outside the headquarters of Facebook in Canada to express support for the creation of a ‘Love' button . A campaign is on at Virgin Mobile, which has created a website to collect signatures in favour of the idea.

Brand management of nations is nothing new. Canada, Australia and most recently Poland have designed brands for themselves.

Countries that are associated with negative issues such as poverty, drugs and violence are working hard to revitalise their brand images and are building identities around more positive images such as tourism, their strategic location or biodiversity.

International brand consultancies lead the way to help rebuild these brands. There is a special rank for brands that heighten awareness, familiarity, preference, and a decision to visit a location. But the most important aspect of branding, according to Futurebrand, is the ability to establish the things people think of when they hear the name of a place.

India is also working on the country's brand through a public-private partnership with diverse groups such as the Indian Institute of Management, the Industrial Design Centre and Financial Times among others to create awareness among audiences worldwide about India as a destination.

The aim is to foster a better understanding of the modern Indian landscape and emphasise changes.

In the "Incredible India" slogan for tourism created in 2002 India focused on its vibrant heritage and culture for a positive country image. According to the Nation Brands Index 2010, India was positioned in the top 25 rankings in the 23rd position.

South Africa, New Zealand and Australia are nations with good branding, according to Herman Behrens, CEO of The Brand Union ME.

"I think the strong nation brands are South Africa — alive with possibilities, the rainbow nation — Australia with Gold Coast and New Zealand with their 100 per cent New Zealand brand," said Behrens. "Within the region Bahrain was doing a good job with business friendly Bahrain."

He explains that country brands have a very well-defined image and reputation. It's easy for brands to make great promises, but it is much more complex for nations to consistently meet their promises. The brands have many touch points, many different audiences and political agendas to deal with, said Behrens.

Before any country begins the branding campaign it is important to fix the basics problems in the country, otherwise it could seem like false advertising.

The government would be spending money in vain and it would be a frustrating experience for the tourists who would feel cheated and never return.

Source: Adrants

Graphics for Magazine and Newspapers seminar by Juan Velasco, National Geographic art director, was a complete success with the AUD auditorium packed with professional designers and students. The seminar is a part of Society for News Design ME conferences with professionals from the publishing industry. The next workshop will be with a Sports Illustrated magazine photographer from USA. For more information, email to: snd20@snd20.org

Source: Social Times

dokasaki@gulfnews.com

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