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.
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.