How Israel used micro-marketing as an attempt to (re)position the country and improve its image abroad is the topic of a recent case study published in the academic journal ‘Place Branding and Public Diplomacy.’ Amir Grinstein, Associate Professor of Marketing at Northeastern University (USA) and VU Amsterdam (the Netherlands), is one of the authors of the case study. Here he tells us what led to this research and the main insights and lessons in connection with country branding and Israel.
- What led to this study on country branding in connection with Israel;
- Key insights and lessons learned;
- Country branding challenges and pitfalls to be aware of;
- How the research has impacted the author’s view on country branding and Israel;
- Other cases of country branding used to overcome negative image.
Amir, what motivated you to investigate country branding in connection with Israel?
I believe the Israeli case is a valuable example for place branding experts because Israel is a relatively young and very small country, which faces extreme geo-political challenges, and has been the subject of prolonged negative international media coverage. Further, it is a country of paradoxes: on the one hand, Israel is associated with a long-lasting regional conflict but on the other hand, it is the only democracy in the Middle East, known as the “start-up nation,” and is a leading country in humanitarian aid. A fascinating case for re-branding!
You just had your case study on Israel published in the journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. Can you share with us your key findings?
The article introduces a country (re)branding program that was based on a strategic, systematic, and decade-long “micro-marketing” campaign. The strategic process began in 2004. The article documents the program, including evidence on the creative and diverse market research that the re-branding team conducted over time, the re-branding strategy that was employed, and its implementation across six key domains (e.g., the environment, people, technology and science, lifestyle, culture and the arts, and international aid programs).
The article concludes with reporting positive changes in Israel’s brand performance and perception over time (2007–2015), as well as other country and industry-level indicators that demonstrate the effectiveness of the micro-marketing re-branding approach.