communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.

1/18/2008

Country branding :-(

I usually try to connect everything I write here with communications and marketing because I want this to be a professional blog rather than a personal one. But sometimes things strike me, and they pretty much have nothing to do with marketing per se.
So forgive me if this is a bit stretched: I have just seen a video shot by a Hungarian TV crew somewhere in Romania. It features the reporter being mugged, shamelessly and wildly, by a family of gypsies. The images are like nothing I have seen before: this man is effectively being ripped apart by those people. They come back with the money asking him to be rewarded for bringing it back just as someone rips the mp3 player or phone from round his neck. I think you can see the full video here under Video News (Jurnalisti unguri jefuiti la o filmare in Harghita)

When something like this happens, any efforts the marketing community may have made to pull this country out of the brand-gutter it's in turn pointless. There is nothing more pressingly contrary to our desire to be seen as an up-and-coming new nation, with a lot of potential, than the images in this video. And this will doubtlessly be circulating online from now on.

country branding needs, like any other form of branding, to start with the product.

5 comments:

Phil Darby said...

Prior to my first vist to Romania a couple of years ago, I received nothing, but damming reports of the place and its people from others of all nationalities, especially the Czechs (I was based in Prague at the time).

I have to say that I enjoyed working there and came away at the end of a short contract, feeling that Romania was a country the enthusiasm and ethic of who's people would enable it to prosper quickly as new EU members.

I much prefered working with Romanians than I had done Czechs for instance, who by contrast I feel are negative, unjustifiably arogant and lazy.

I liked the people I was working with at one of Romania's biggest organisations, but I realise that they were perhaps untypical. This report really just underlines this and supports the views that were expressed to me before my visit.

I am fascinated by national branding and have touched on the subject in a short post on my blog. Romania is a challenge for sure, but I still beleive it has bags of scope, so I will still be looking for new opportunities to contribute to the development there.

Ramona said...

I'm not a big fan of Romanian realities either. However, when it comes to branding and the product, I think that Romania stands at a bit more unpleasant end.

With enough money you can make any product justify a premium brand. All the money in the world can't make a state flawless, or anything near that.

Romania has it's issues, sure. So does any other country. In order to change the perception on Romania, we have to find the strongpoint that is capable of overshadowing all the negatve ones. Emphasise on the good side and prove that the bad side is an exception from the rule.

The US isn't seen as the Bronx, although the Bronx is famous enough, right? :)

Bogdana said...

Phil, we appreciate your kind commentaries of course and you may be right and me just a bit pessimistic.
Ramona, I agree with you on the outlining the good stuff but as I was saying in a previous post, sometimes there is no good stuff and until now no one has been able to definitely say what is so great about Romania :-)

Ramona said...

Every since I left the comment I've been trying to find something good that's strong enough on it's own... and I couldn't. Found some small stuff, no big differentiator though. I like to think that it's out there and that I just can't see it yet. Hope's the last to go:)

Bogdana said...

Ramona, I wish you luck with that. Somehow with the latest things happening i find it harder and harder myself. I met a Danish friend a couple of days ago and he said he liked the people in Romania and nothing else :-)...and you know how we treat foreigners so i guess that just isn't going to work either