Myriam Gómez in this interview discusses Chile's approach to country branding, how the branding of countries differs from that of destinations and how Marca Chile collaborates with the country's economic development agency and diplomatic missions. She also looks at the growing importance of a country's digital presence.
Myriam, do you remember the first time you thought about Chile as “brand”? What triggered your interest in the topic of country image?
My first contact with the topic of country branding and the international image of Chile was in the 90s, when Chile defined and presented its strategy of internationalization and economic integration to the world, as a mechanism of development and growth for our country.
What prompted my interest in this topic was my work in the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the bureau of ProChile, the export promotion agency. Here we realized that the spontaneous associations international audiences had in connection with Chile were very vague and often far from our reality. The country was commonly associated with characteristics of other Latin American markets, such as carnival, large coffee producers, political issues and insecurity.
For the last four years you served as Executive Director of Marca Chile. How has the country’s approach to place branding changed during this time?
There has been much more awareness and understanding of the importance and relevance of the value of the country's brand by a significant number of stakeholders – both public and private. This includes a great variety of sectors, such as tourism, exports, investments, culture, sports and international relations, with whom we worked to achieve a common message, alignment of contents and a common graphic expression.
Additionally, a strong incorporation of the Chile brand has been generated at the level of different companies highlighting the country-of-origin. Most of the public agencies have become part of this strategy in terms of content and messages.
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