10 things nation branding ain’t

Nation branding is many things and could be defined in many different ways, but nation branding certainly ain’t the following:

  1. It ain’t just about tourism. Nation branding is about developing an identity encompassing tourism but also FDI, public diplomacy, exports, culture, sports, migrants, international relations…
  2. It ain’t just a logo. One colorful and sexy logo with no strategy behind is nonsense.
  3. It ain’t one TV spot on the CNN. One 60-seconds TV ad with wonderful scenery is a waste of the taxpayers’ money
  4. It ain’t just for foreigners. The biggest stakeholders in a nation branding project are natives; without their understanding, support and embodiment of the brand identity all nation branding efforts are damned.
  5. It ain’t a short-term project. It needs effort, time, consistency and persistance. In most cases it takes years to see results.
  6. It ain’t cosmetics. One of the basic pillars of nation branding is truth, honesty and a foothold on the real world. You can’t change a grim reality with slogans and logos.
  7. It ain’t like corporate branding. Any country is far more complex and complicated than any company – most of the the recipes that work for commercial brands won’t work for nation brands.
  8. It ain’t easy. Many factors concur on how a nation is perceived; grasping the intrinsics of a nation brand requires expertise, time and depth of thought.
  9. It ain’t new. Nation branding is as old as the concept of nation, it’s just that it has evolved much quicker in recent years.
  10. It ain’t vaporware. If implemented rightly, nation branding can deliver real and tangible results.