Many conferences, including the Festival of Media, deliberate on brands from the FMCG or automobile or consumer durables sectors and their brand stories. In this session, the focus was on nation brand building. MPG’s Global CEO, Maria Luisa Francoli, was the opening speaker, who cited some top-line findings of Nation Branding Index. Francoli was speaking on how countries communicated, differentiated and symbolised the nation’s identity, and how a nation’s identity played a vital role in areas such as tourism, exports, governance, investment and immigration to the country and culture and heritage. These, she said, were both the goals and the key drivers of nation brand building.
She explained to the audience how despite its power in the globe, the US was not among the top 10 in 2005, according to the Nation Branding Index Quarter 2, 2005. From there, the US saw a jump up and was on the No. 1 spot in 2009. She noted that one of the reasons that could explain this was the unpopularity of George W Bush and then the election of Barack Obama and how many associated that with changes in the US to be a friendlier nation.
Francoli had set the stage for the next speaker – Turespana’s Enrique Ruiz de Lera. Enrique spoke of Spain’s initiatives to become a leader in nation branding. He took the audience through the efforts of the country in this direction, where back in 1984, Spain was the first country to get a logo called Miro Sun, which today had 73 per cent recognition in Europe. The effort now was to make that a worldwide brand. Amongst the various offices that Instituto de Turismo de España (Turespaña) opened in 2009, Mumbai was one, making the company available in 33 countries.
Enrique’s target included being a leader, being global, being not different but unique, being aspirational, emotional and premium. He stated that more than conventional media was required to achieve these targets and the unique proposition that Spain wanted to associate with was ‘lifestyle’. He said, “Perhaps two of the biggest contributions from Spain to the world has been Fiesta and Siesta, and we undertook a brand campaign – ‘I need Spain’ – that focussed on all such aspect that made being in Spain, unique.”
The next speaker, Juan Valdez Cafe’s Luis Fernando Samper, spoke on Columbian coffee and showed more on the various marketing initiatives that the company had taken to state that coffee from Columbia was superior to Brazil and others, where the company’s marketing shared with the audience the making of the coffee to its marketing.