31 March 2010
30 March 2010
Nation branding, therefore, has become big business, with the cost of promoting countries, regions and cities topping around $1tn a year – most of it taxpayers’ money. Tourism and investment boards are increasingly turning to the consultants and ad agencies that have helped make the names of the world’s biggest soap powders and electronics brands in a bid to market their benefits to a worldwide audience.
Rina Plapler, New York-based senior executive director of Futurebrand, a consultancy whose clients include Brand Australia, but also British Airways, Cadbury, UPS and Nespresso, says: “Like any strong brand, with country brands there’s a correlation between the strength of the brand and their ability to withstand difficult times and attract loyal customers. And, as with many product and service categories, the more you invest in building a strong brand, the better, especially over the long term.”
Simon Anholt is an advisor, and researcher on nation brands, and is behind the GfK Roper Nation Brands Index. “If a country has a good and positive image, everything it wants to do or make or sell is so much easier,” he says. “If a country has a weak or negative brand, with the possible exception of North Korea, everything is much more difficult.” They need to do that much more to attract tourists, investors and talent.
The companies from those countries also have to work harder to earn credibility. If a new German carmaker launched, it would be with an expectation among consumers of quality and reliability. The same goes for electronics manufacturers in Japan, to the point where British electronics retailers Dixons and Currys’ own brand of appliances goes by the Japanese-sounding name Matsui. In Hong Kong, a casual-clothing chain was named Giordano to make it sound Italian and so give it some credibility in the fashion stakes. A carmaker or fashion brand launching in a developing country, meanwhile, has to work hard to overcome preconceptions about what ‘Made in X’ implies to potential buyers around the world.
Just as companies are branded by the country they’re from, so too are people. Anholt’s worldwide survey of people’s attitudes to other countries’ nationals found that, on average, if presented with two candidates for a job that were equal apart from one being Turkish and the other Swedish, 80% of people would hire the Swede. Staggeringly, more than 70% of Turkish respondents also said they’d hire the Swede.
It’s understandable, then, that countries are putting significant resources into branding. The trouble is that, like campaigns to promote one brand of burger or mobile phone ahead of another, much of this effort either fails to have much effect, or backfires. US retailer John Wanamaker famously said that he knew half of his advertising was wasted; he just didn’t know which half.
Simon Anholt says that when it comes to country branding, the figure is more like 95%. Spending millions on a campaign to promote the country’s attractions to holidaymakers does work, and has worked very effectively for countries such as India, New Zealand and Malaysia. But general image-boosting campaigns come with no proof of effectiveness, and, more worrying, Anholt says, is that so many countries make no attempt to come up with any proof; the kind of transparency and accountability usually associated with government spending seems to vanish when it comes to nation branding.
“So, you get countries like Uganda that clearly can’t afford it, running expensive TV campaigns blabbing on about ‘Uganda, Gifted by Nature’ or Nigeria, ‘Good people, Great Nation’, and lord knows how much they’re spending on it and you ask them ‘how are you measuring it?’ and they say ‘what do you mean, measuring it?’.”
Dr Gerlinde Manz-Christ, head of communications for the principality of Liechtenstein and president of the Association for Place Branding & Public Diplomacy, says country branding done properly is measurable, but only if done with a clear goal and for the long term. “The problem often is that people enthusiastically go for an often-costly country branding project, losing interest when quick wins don’t come fast and easy. Another challenge is expectations; people often expect that with doing some country branding, not only will they boost their economy and tax income, but also heal all other image problems their country might have. This is not the case. It takes years, a lot of constant effort and hard work to firmly establish and then further develop a country brand.”
The belief by countries that they ought to be doing country branding, especially when they see all their neighbours doing it, has led to much misguided investment that does little to change anyone’s mind about where they’ll travel to, invest in or who they’ll hire. “Views about other countries are deeply ingrained cultural prejudices which they hold from a very, very early age,” Anholt says. “I think what I think about Uganda because I’ve thought it all my life and the idea that a series of advertisements is going to change my mind about that is absolutely ludicrous.”
So is there no hope for countries with ailing images or no brand image at all? Plaper says there is. Opinions can change fairly quickly with the right marketing message – not one that simply tells you what you should think about the place. She points to the United Arab Emirates as a recent branding success story, current economic problems notwithstanding: “The UAE has take over from Egypt as the number-one holiday destination in the Middle East, which is almost unfathomable considering the assets and equity of Egypt, but that’s an example of a country that no one knew much about maybe five or 10 years ago but has really promoted itself and put itself on the world stage to great benefit. It doesn’t have the Eiffel Tower, it doesn’t have the pyramids, it’s very hot, it doesn’t have the world’s most beautiful beaches, but there’s something about it that intrigues people and, arguably, a lot of that is that they started promoting themselves.”
Kosovo, which is hoping to convince the world that it should be recognised as a country at all, has brought in advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi, which has worked on country brands before but is best known for clients such as Guinness, Sony and Toyota. The budget is €5.7m for the first year, handled by Saatchi’s Israel office, which has so far produced a TV ad, an online campaign and coverage in international newspapers.
“The objective is mainly to enhance their image,” says the agency’s co-CEO, Yossi Lubaton. “Most people still think it’s a war zone, and that hasn’t been the case for 10 years. They want to tell people that Kosovo is a young country that can be a legitimate country.” Kosovo’s campaign, called The Young Europeans, showcases Europe’s newest state while highlighting the vitality and youth of its population.
Countries are also pushing their message in unconventional ways. The Best Job in the World campaign run by Tourism Queensland attracted 34,000 video applications for their island caretaker job. Bahama Fridays, promoted online through viral video, have seen office workers across the US donning loud shirts and bikinis for work. Denmark’s viral effort was more controversial, using an actress claiming to be a mother looking for the father of her baby son after a one-night stand with a foreign holidaymaker. The heavily viewed but criticised campaign has since been removed.
“They’re getting smarter in terms of non-traditional ways to promote themselves,” says Plapler. “It isn’t just a tourism office and a brochure. Sporting events have become a strong way for countries to promote themselves, and through social media, with online competitions … but there are still a lot of stodgy efforts that are still honeymooners’ brochures.” Many countries are simply ‘doing a bit of online’; it’s hard to find a country that doesn’t have a Facebook page, some with thousands of fans, but the real value of this kind of work is yet to be proved.
Saatchi & Saatchi is using public opinion research to track changes in awareness and views about Kosovo, but Lubaton says it’s a long-term game. “It takes time,” he says. “A year is a very short time to change perceptions of a country.”
However, some brands have made significant changes to their brands in little time. Australia moved away from its Crocodile Dundee image, to a more hip, cosmopolitan image that offers the outback, food, and a lot more besides. Japan is another to have had its image transformed. Post-1945, no one in the West wanted to know about Japanese goods; by 1955, they were known as cheap but flimsy; and for the past 20 years, Japanese-made has commanded a premium.
What’s made the difference is not just a great marketing plan; it’s a plan that matches what the places actually have to offer. There’s no point promoting a Porsche as fuel-efficient, a ‘land of smiles’ campaign won’t work in Paris, and a ‘we’ve got time to chat’ campaign for New York will fall flat; the brand story has to be true to the country, just as the reliable car or super-soft toilet tissue have to really be reliable and super-soft.
Country brands can’t artificially be manipulated if the sell doesn’t match the product; just look at the US – the world’s richest and most ad-savvy country, which under George W. Bush had a poor international image. “If you want to get a good image, you have to have a good country,” says Anholt.
The end of apartheid in South Africa is perhaps the most striking example of policy change transforming the way a country is viewed from outside. Anholt says the recent legalisation of gay marriages in Mexico was probably done largely as a branding exercise. “I bet at least half the reason they’re doing that is because they want to distinguish themselves from the rest of Latin America. They want to show that they’re a North American country with modern, liberal, tolerant values, not a banana republic, otherwise they wouldn’t bother, because the political cost is going to be gigantic in a Catholic country.” One policy decision alone won’t change the world’s opinion about a country, any more than one sexy car from Volvo makes it a sexy car brand. But if there’s a steady stream of such announcements, they start to paint a picture, and people start to change their minds.
29 March 2010
In a recent article ResearchLive [http://www.research-live.com/news/government/obamas-healthcare-law-brings-good-news-for-survey-researchers/4002351.article] the view was put forward that it was good news that the a change to the US Sunshine legislation was a good thing. The original version made it likely that doctors would have to declare any income received for taking part in surveys. This, it was feared, would result in fewer doctors being willing to take part in research. The general background for the legislation was concern over whetehr the payments doctors received changes their attitude or behaviour towards specific prodcuts and servcies.
Here is the comment I posted:
"My starting point with legislation is the assumption that if it is good for society then it is good for research (even if the immediate impact on research is not helpful).
In his Wealth of Nations Adam Smith pointed out that healthcare cannot operate as a free market because of the imbalance of power and knowledge between the buyer and the seller.
I think that in that context, requiring doctors to file a return declaring all payments has to be a good thing. Buyers of doctor's services would be better served if they knew of all other payments.
If such declarations became the norm, I would expect the long term effect on co-operation to be minimal (but it might drive incentives even higher). But, in my opinion we ought NOT to put our short-term interests before those of society in general and buyers of doctors' services in particular.
Indeed, I think we are moving towards a society were openness and transparency will be the norm in most sectors."
22 March 2010
This post was written by Lina Kliucininkaite @ http://www.brainforum.org
Who can answer what our Earth is worth in money? What is the value of the air we breathe? It’s the same as to ask how much your life is worth. Seems like a very extreme comparison, but nowadays, when the modern world faces the financial crisis, it is becoming a more and more essential question.
Why? This question refers to sustainability or new fresh trends of economic development. Somebody can say that we already priced water. Yes, we did, but is the price right? Is it fair in every region? Won’t global warming correct these prices?
In my opinion, this crisis was like a pointer which shows that talking about sustainable growth is not enough anymore. If real measures won’t be applied, consequences are going to be severe. The consequences I talk about can already be seen. Global warming, degradation of rain forests, first climatic refugees, high rate of water contamination are just a small part of the consequences we face today and which affect human being and thus economy. So can we have sustainable growth without misbalancing our environment?
As we already can see, the core poles of sustainability are environment, economy and society. Disharmonize one of them, and the other two will be disharmonized as well. Interactions are so close and tight. So naturally, the following question evolves: Can the roots of the crisis be found within overconsumption and overgrowth of both social and economical sectors? Or maybe a question mark should be posed after the term “environment”, as it might be one of the main crisis catalysts today.
We all heard about real estate bubbles, warnings about their explosion, overheated economies. We all know about goods and services we use for making our lives better, about flows of labor, flows of money etc. But has anybody of us really been thinking about ecosystem services? It is a pretty new approach and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) team has done a great job supplementing and developing it. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is a research program which focuses on ecosystem services and its changes. It is supported by United Nations and was launched in 2001. Since then the MA had released synthesis reports about the current state of ecosystem services. The ecosystems services approach is a contribution for sustainable development by initiating awareness of the ecosystems’ importance for human well-being. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment points that attention to ecosystem services is needed in order to achieve global development goals.
Ecosystem services are very fundamental and play an essential role to life especially for the creation of human well-being. These kinds of services are so large in scale that it is hard to imagine that human activities could destroy them. But reality is different. Ecosystem services derived from nature are severely threatened through increasing growth in population, consumption, urban sprawls, demands of energy, productions of goods, as well as a mismatch between short-term needs and long-term societal welfare. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment revealed that approximately 60 percent of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably. Moreover, scientists warn that the harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years.
So if we again look at the sustainability core poles, I come up with a pressing question: Will degradation in ecosystem services lead us to a new crisis?
Note: This post was written by Lina Kliucininkaite, one of the participants of 13th World Business Dialogue. She has a degree in Energy Structural Engineering from the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and now is a Master student in international Environmental Management program at the Ecology centre in Kiel.
21 March 2010
13 March 2010
Holy Kaw! All the topics that interest us
How to reach women with social media
Posted Mar 12th, 2010 at 10:39 PM and seen 2589 times
Over on his blog Next Gen Market Research, Tom H. C. Anderson offers 10 fascinating tips on women and social media. Here are just a few:
* Invite in: Women are 3X less likely to care about the size of their network than men. Size may not matter but being shown personal attention does.
* Understand who you’re talking to: 74% post pictures [of women] of family/friends and 71% talk about what they’re doing now as opposed to 60% and 58% for men.
* Talk rather than target: When women are online, 50% are connecting with family and friends, reading someone else’s blog or posting a comment. They’re socializing so shouldn’t you?
Read the full story at tomhcanderson.com.
10 March 2010
http://www.brainforum.org/, March 2010
The current literature, like Avraham & Ketter (2008) and White (2006), offers an extensive discourse in the field of crisis in general and the role of the media during crisis in particular. This contribution, to the “crisis demands” discussion, explores the various dimensions of a place image crisis, such as countries, regions and cities and different strategies to overcome it, from the place marketing perspective. Following the discussion of place marketing, place image and consumer behaviour, different aspects of crises and ways of handling will be considered.
The growing competition between countries and cities over attracting investment, tourists, capital and national and international status means that, today, a negative image is more harmful than ever. Countries, regions and cities intensified the competition for attention, influence, markets, investments, businesses, high-class residents, tourists, conventions, sporting events and entrepreneurs. But, this global competition is no longer limited to the leading countries, or big cities. With technological advances and market deregulations, even small places can compete in the world wide arena. The competitors are now global. For example, today, we assist the rising of the Asiatic Continent, especially East Asia, as the most dynamic geographic area of the planet. As we have seen as some players fall, other economic and social actors’ emerge. The economic and financial crisis had a drastic impact on the reduction of trade flows. However, it is also expected to have a medium-term impact in the flows of people. Such aspect is a challenge to countries, regions and cities. They compete globally all the time to attract investment, new economies, companies and human capital. We observe a new balance of powers in the world economy, and this will affect migration patterns, the world tourism and the place image. Consequently, place competition asks for long-term strategies in organizations’, decision making, marketing and media strategies.
In the United States (US) the place marketing model was developed during the 70s crisis. In that period, places, such as the major cities, like New York, experienced the migration of industries to cheaper markets. The same problem occurs today in many countries, such as Portugal. In that context, the first measure of places was to launch tax incentives to attract investments. Today, the places use a variety of other strategies. This is similar to the development in the US and Europe.
The media information indicates that many destructive events occur every day; homicide, robbery, natural disasters, corruption and other afflictions. These kinds of «possible crisis in places», as the economic and financial situation, have a very high space in the broadcasting, newspapers, Internet websites and the social network, and an impact on the places image.
According to Glaesser (2006: 12) a crisis is “a critical change in an important variable that endangers or destroys either parts of or the entire system”. In the line of the Avraham & Ketter (2008: 79) theory, “the systemic approaches offer a general definition, emphasizing the occurrence of a change in institutions, companies, groups or places that threatens to break the current equilibrium or routine”. Mansfeld & Pizam (2006) suggests a list of five possible crises in the places:
i) “Crime-related events;
ii) Terror-related events;
iii) Political unrest events;
iv) Natural disaster events;
v) Epidemic-related events.”
Local decision makers should be prepared for all these descriptions and should accumulate knowledge for managing them, with a necessary perception of the Coombs (1999) dichotomies – “whether the crisis is internal or external and whether the crisis is intentional or unintentional”. If one or more events occurs, and if the consist in a crisis, many spokespeople try to decide how their place or organization should react. Decision makers, place marketers, political, citizens send their suggestions to change a place image after the crisis. But, the choice of the most suitable communication response strategy depends on the type of crisis, the place’s characteristics, the target audience and other circumstances.
Glaesser (2006: 14) suggests a comprehensive definition for crisis:
“A crisis is an undesired, extraordinary, often unexpected and timely limited process with ambivalent development possibilities. It demands immediate decisions and countermeasures in order to influence the further development again positively for the organization/destination and to limit the negative consequences as much as possible. A crisis situation is determined by evaluating the seriousness of the occurring negative events, which threaten, weaken or destroy competitive advantages or important goals of the organization/ destination.”
Glaesser combines different variables relevant to crises in a country, city or tourist destination: i) unexpectedness; ii) time limits; iii) unpredictable future, and the iv) risk of losing the place’s competitive position and cause a negative impact in place image.
What are the contemporary examples of a crisis in the places? To take some recent examples, Hong Kong suffered a crisis caused by epidemics; New York suffered a crisis as a result of terrorism; Croatia due to war; Nepal because of political unrest and New Orleans through natural disaster. Recently, the earthquake in Haiti, is another good example.
The main problem is the continual broadcast of the catastrophes, and the possible impact in the place image. With this, what is the core-question to place marketers? What do they need to do in order to manage the crisis and how can they prevent potential damage?
Marketing is a universal process that can be applied to developing and promoting many entities, including products, services, experiences, places, persons, properties, ideas, causes, and information.
Since the early 90’s there has been increasing interest in place marketing, place image and place branding. The number of countries taking part in the global economy and global tourism is increasing, accompanied by a parallel process whereby worldwide transportation and communication have grown. They are speedier, easier and the barriers between East and West are fading and getting cheaper (low cost carriers e.g.). However, if some place grows, another decreases in the attraction cycle. For example, today Paris does not compete just with other cities in Europe, but with other global cities, trying to win international tourism and important conferences. Global competition for tourism and investment has always existed, but today visiting foreign parts or investing abroad is much simpler, cheaper and safer, thanks to the communication progress. Avraham & Ketter (2008) and White (2006), indicate the best strategies, in particular communication and promotion strategies, to improve the place´s image in the crisis´ context. To help the place’s image and the place’s attraction in the decrease of the attention context, the decision makers have to choose a suitable “package” for marketing the place competitively.
Avraham & Ketter (2008: 4), according to Felsenstein (1994) identifies four economic strategies that can be used by governments to improve their image:
i) “Developing local economy by attracting large-scale industries;
ii) Attracting small-scale businesses in the fields of private or public services;
iii) Political participation in the line for national budgets, and
iv) Encouraging local businesses to expand their activities, essentially try increase your external products flows.”
The literature extensively refers to crises in general and, in particular, the role of the media in such context. White (2006) states that the, “media effect on crisis situations is so marked that it has been claimed that the crisis was actually created by the media”, the media amplifies the perception of the crisis emerge. In related literature (Avraham & Ketter, 2008) we will find two concepts:
i) “Crisis management;
ii) Crisis communication.”
The contribution of Avraham & Ketter (2008), help us to gain a better understanding of what is the best media strategies for territories, such as, countries, regions, cities and other destinations in a crisis context to prepare in advance for a crisis situation.
Coombs (1999: 92) identifies seven communication strategies for the place in crisis:
i) “Attacking the accuser;
vi) Corrective action;
vii) Full apology.”
Coombs (1999: 92) suggests that effective use of crisis communication should include two key elements: i) information and ii) compassion.
According to Glaesser (2006), crisis management is the constant practice of avoiding and containing crisis. In terms of consumer behaviour and perceptions – crisis management – is a means to control, run and operate a sudden extraordinary event.
The challenge to the place marketer, place marketing researchers, decision makers and other important stakeholders, are pro-active management approaches, in an ethically and environmentally sustainable perspective with creative media strategies. All place stakeholders need to find the best strategies to minimize the consequence caused by an unstable financial system, the economic instability and the natural events in the place´s image and in the decrease in the flow of people and capital.
In the end, I want to share my inspiration for this post and other interesting reads on the place marketing and place branding topic with all readers:
- Avraham, Eli & Ketter, Eran (2008), Media Strategies for Marketing Places in Crisis. Improving the Image of Cities, Countries and Tourist Destinations. Great Britain, Elsevier Inc.
- Coombs, W. T. (1999), Ongoing crisis communication: planning, managing and responding. California, Sage.
- Moilanen, Teemu & Rainisto, Seppo (2009), How to Brand Nations, Cities and Destinations. Great Britain, Palgrave Macmillan.
van Gelder, Sicco & Allan, Malcolm (2006), City Branding – How cities compete in the 21st century. URL: http://www.placebrands.net/reading/citybranding.html
- White, C. M. (2006), “When the media are used to create a crisis: lessons in what not to do”. Paper presented in ICA, Dresden, Germany.
Note: This post was written by Eduardo Oliveira, one of the participants of the 13th World Business Dialogue. He has a degree in Geography, a post-graduation in Tourism from the Portuguese Catholic University and is a Marketing Master Student at the University of Minho, Portugal. He has been working as a research assistant in the School of Economics and Management of University of Minho. He develops a blog about marketing research and networks which you can find under New World Research.
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