Euronews TV channel had an interesting debate last week, on nation branding and the importance to get it right, especially as countries try to emerge with an intact reputation from the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to rebuild their economies. Just like our panel of experts predicted, competition will be fierce among locations this year to convince investors, talent and visitors to trust their public health management and consider them worthy of their money and time.
Taking part in the Euronews debate:
Daniel Valverde Bagnarello of Essential Costa Rica. Daniel has become a sort of practitioner spokesperson for country branding professionals, appearing on many shows and portals. And Costa Rica’s award-winning country branding work really is a good one to study and follow. More about him and their work in our interview with Daniel.
Jon Tipple of FutureBrand (whose story and approach to country branding we’ll be sharing soon).
The world is indeed changing, as the title of the debate suggests, and it’s good to detect a strong focus now on the real essence of country- or nation branding: strengthening community identity and “good country” performance in the eyes of the rest of the world.
While there will likely be a surge in ads and campaigns aimed at short-term economic recovery, the realization is there that these are hardly fruitful unless they come with a strong foundation of good place management and innovative location development. In the world of investment and talent attraction, there are no shortcuts and locations which want to succeed need to tread the path of resilience and sustainability.
Euronews summary of the debate:
It is a colossal task: how can countries attract back their biggest sources of income, especially tourism and foreign direct investment, after a year with the pandemic?
Governments around the world face the daunting task of rebuilding their economies in 2021 and beyond.
But for those that relied heavily on tourism and foreign direct investment for their income before the outbreak of COVID-19, the task will be considerably harder.
Some say that the countries that rebound most successfully will be those that get their “nation branding” right.
Build a positive image of yourself in the international community, the argument goes, and the revenue opportunities will follow.
But that does not mean a glitzy publicity campaign is all you need to attract a steady stream of holidaymakers and wealthy business people to your country.
I am curious – what did you take away from the debate? What are your observations? Comments welcome.
Further reading: our panel on the key trends and priorities for place branders this year. You can also listen to my summary in the latest episode of the Place Brand Leaders podcast.