Branding locations: Creating consistent and easy to remember messages

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Branding locations: Creating consistent and easy to remember messages

Argentinian cattle meat, Kobe beef, or New York striploin have been well acclaimed location-connected brands by non-veg culinarians from all around the world, at best complemented with Idaho potato wedges on side and watered down with a decent upmarket French wine. Certain locations have simply been connected with tradition for certain products and have been widely recognized for their well-defined category excellence. Country-of-Origin effect belongs to the most popular marketing research domains since three decades. Worldwide-operating companies have long been aware that country of origin benefits can be transferred through their brands. Foreign direct investment theories outline location-specific factors as crucial elements for opening-up a new business territory. It has been demonstrated a number of times that brand associations with a country (or destination) have been relatively long-lasting and change only at a very slow pace.
In sharp contrast, it seems, here and there have been national campaigns of several countries trying to disseminate sometimes contradictory brand images. The Expo 2015 in Milano offers a good example. Whereas the overall theme for the exhibition is energy and food-production sustainability, only a few exhibiting countries linked their pavilions to their long-supported country brands. For instance, Hungary went to the Expo with “From the Purest Sources” exhibition, whereas its tourism country brand is being “Think Hungary – More than Expected”. (This is not to mention the odds of such a country claim in light of the recent European migration crisis.) Slovakia, on the other hand, with the motto “World into the Pocket” fits the image of the successful “Little Big Country” brand, which created positive reverberation internationally.
Another challenge for destination brands is building country messages around strong themes which resonate in all spheres of life and might stimulate long lasting repercussions. Most countries push separate brands through their tourism promotion agencies, largely disconnected from brands communicated through investment or export promotion institutions. One example for all might be Canada. It has been well kept secret that several Canadian companies hide their origin from international customers. Its tourism brand has been for decades associated with greenery and nature, most recently communicated through the claim “Keep Exploring”. The green hiking image might be undesirable for export businesses or for the Canadian investment commission, which attempts to picture Canada as a landing spot for innovative industries. Monte Negro has recently shown another challenging branding exercise: tourism brand stands at “Breathtaking Beauty”, while Expo exhibit claims “Healthy with Every Bite!”, yet the key problem might be reaching the recognition of the Monte Negro itself.
Linking tourism and industry country images takes ingenuity. Italy focuses long on high fashion and quality food, yet its Expo display is labelled “Nursery of Italy”, its tourism brand trumpets simple “Italia”, and the investment brand does not go further than saying “Invitalia”. The country or the location itself serves as a major brand vehicle. Understandably, not all countries have been just as distinctly recognized as Italy. However, all countries have first to achieve their country name awareness before they can link any specific associations to their brands.

Résumé

Značky pro lokality: Jak vytvářet konzistentní a snadno zapamatovatelné claimy Brand management je významným tématem nejen pro podniky, ale i pro veřejné instituce, a v neposlední řadě je i podstatným faktorem pro vytváření záměrných asociací o zemích a destinacích v mezinárodním měřítku. Hlavním smyslem tvorby značek má být snaha o odlišnost (či rozlišitelnost) a také vytvoření v čase relativně stabilního myšlenkového či emocionálního obrazu na straně konzumentů značek.
Na úrovni zemí lze spatřovat tři hlavní výzvy pro budování značek. Jednak je to konzistence sdělení, např. provokování ustálených asociací prostřednictvím komunikace značky země v oblasti turistické, investiční, i např. při hledání vhodného motta pro výstavní pavilón na letošním Expu v Miláně. Druhou výzvou je pak dosažení známosti značky jako takové, neboť některé země při vytváření asociací mohou opomíjet, že asociace samotné může být oddělena od značky pod dojmem emoce (zapamatování brand claimu bez značky samotné je zcela zbytné). Třetí výzvou může být vytvoření příliš silného claimu, který neumožňuje zahrnutí jiných oblastí zájmu do vnímání značky destinace, to se projevuje např. silnou turistickou image, která může být negativně vnímána ze strany potenciálních zahraničních investorů nebo domácích proexportně orientovaných firem.

Kontakt na autorov/Addresses

doc. Ing. Pavel Štrach, Ph.D., Ph.D., Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, School of Management, Study Programme Global Sales and Marketing, Wehrgrabengasse 1-3, 4400 Steyr, Austria, e-mail: [email protected]