Nation Branding And Place Marketing I The Marketing Plan



Nation Branding And Place Marketing I The Marketing Plan

Nation Branding and Place Marketing - I .​
The Marketing Plan
In the​ decades since World War II,​ economics prowess replaced military power as​ the​ crucial geopolitical determinant .​
The resilience of​ a​ country is​ measured by its inflows of​ foreign investment and by the​ balance of​ its current account - not by the​ number of​ its tanks and brigades .​
Inevitably,​ polities the​ world over - regions,​ states,​ countries,​ and multinational clubs - behave as​ only commercial businesses once did .​
They actively market themselves,​ their relative advantages,​ their history and culture,​ their endowments and assets,​ their mentality and affiliations .​
In short,​ they aggressively promote their brand names (brands throughout this article).
To cast countries in​ the​ role of​ brands implies that they act as​ producers to​ some consumers out there .​
But what do countries - as​ distinct from firms - produce? And who are the​ consumers enticed by said statal brand placement and regional location marketing? And how does the​ process of​ exchange take place - who gives what to​ whom and where?
Few governments know the​ answers to​ these economically crucial questions .​
Ministers of​ finance and industry the​ world over religiously repeat the​ mantras of​ attracting foreign direct investment and encouraging entrepreneurship .​
They recite the​ list of​ advantages proffered by their country to​ the​ lucky investor,​ manager,​ scientist,​ expatriate,​ or​ businessman .​
But they lack a​ deep understanding of​ the​ process and meaning of​ nation branding.
Few countries - Britain being the​ notable exception in​ the​ past decade - conduct serious market research and bang heads together in​ think tanks or​ inter-ministerial committees to​ redesign the​ national brand .​
Even fewer maintain long-term,​ sustained branding campaigns supported by proper advertising .​
Only recently did a​ few pioneering polities hire the​ services of​ nation branding experts .​
None has in​ place the​ equivalent of​ a​ corporate brand manager.
One of​ the​ critical mistakes of​ countries the​ world over is​ the​ self-centered lack of​ emphasis on​ customer satisfaction .​
Meeting and exceeding the​ client's expectations is​ merely an​ afterthought - rather than the​ axis around which the​ planning,​ evaluation,​ control,​ and revision of​ the​ marketing mix revolve .​
At best,​ countries concentrate on​ concluding specific transactions instead of​ on​ the​ development and cultivation of​ long-term relationships with their clients.
It is​ as​ though countries arrogantly refuse to​ acknowledge their dependence on​ the​ goodwill of​ individuals and firms the​ world over .​
The traditional and impregnable supremacy of​ the​ sovereign nation-state has gone the​ way of​ the​ dodo - but decision-makers still have to​ be appraised of​ this startling development .​
Most countries - and nowadays there is​ a​ surfeit of​ sovereigns - are nothing more than bit players in​ the​ global marketplace .​
It takes getting used to​ .​
Many politicians mentally equate self-marketing with humiliating mendicancy.
Instead,​ decision makers should hire marketing (and,​ more specifically,​ brand name) experts to​ prepare a​ thorough and comprehensive place marketing and nation branding plan for them:
Strategic Marketing Analysis
I .​
Identify what needs and whose needs can the​ country meet and satisfy .​
What preference groups (of investors,​ for instance) or​ even market niches (e.g.,​ stem cell scientists) should be targeted to​ optimize economic outcomes?
II .​
Compile databases of​ past clients of​ the​ state,​ its resources,​ offerings,​ laws,​ regulations,​ international treaties,​ and economic opportunities (e.g.,​ state companies to​ be privatized) .​
These allow for micro-branding (or segment branding as​ opposed to​ mass branding): tweaking the​ national brand to​ suit the​ preferences,​ likes,​ dislikes,​ and wishes of​ specific target groups,​ down to​ single,​ important,​ individuals.
III .​
Position the​ country in​ relation to​ its competitors,​ emphasizing its natural and human endowments and its relative advantages .​
The process of​ positioning aims to​ identify the​ nation with an​ image,​ perception,​ concept,​ or​ trait which capture its essence and further its appeal to​ the​ clients it​ had identified in​ stage I​ above (investors,​ other countries,​ diplomats,​ scientists,​ and so on) .​
Great care should be taken to​ align the​ positioning messages with realities on​ the​ ground .​
Anything perceived by the​ preference groups as​ being a​ lie or​ an​ exaggeration will backfire.
IV .​
Marketing is​ about optimal allocation of​ resources in​ view of​ objectives and opportunities .​
The classic STP model calls for:
I .​
Segmentation - Identify potential customers - for instance,​ foreign direct investors,​ or​ expatriates and the​ diaspora.
II .​
Targeting - Concentrate on​ those clients you​ can serve most effectively,​ to​ whom you​ are most valuable and thus can charge the​ most for your offerings
III .​
Positioning - Communicate effectively the​ main benefits you​ offer to​ the​ targeted group.
The marketing mix comprises 4 P's which are perfectly applicable to​ nations as​ they are to​ businesses:
Product - Your products as​ a​ country being tax incentives,​ infrastructure,​ natural endowments,​ human resources,​ a​ geographic vantage point,​ helpful laws and regulations (or absence thereof),​ etc.
Price - Demonstrate a​ relative or​ absolute advantage in​ terms of​ return on​ investment
Place - Facilitate the​ unhindered exchange of​ goods,​ services,​ and capital (tax holidays,​ free processing zones,​ no red tape,​ double taxation treaties and free trade agreements with other countries,​ etc.)
Promotion - the​ advertising and dissemination of​ news and information,​ lobbying,​ public relations,​ media campaigns,​ etc.
But what products do countries offer and market and how are they tailored to​ the​ needs of​ specific market segments?

Nation Branding And Place Marketing I The Marketing Plan





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