This idea is contributed by Rizwana Tasneem
Suppose you want to buy a car and you were given two options:- one made in Germany & the other made in Turkey. Which one would you choose? Like most people, you’d choose the one made in Germany because it has established a reputation for products that are of high quality, of good design and secure.
A country brand is everything! It not only ensures healthy earnings from tourism but also creates consumer perceptions that earns respect for your country.
Depending on the image the country wishes to establish, the branding strategy will differ. The branding strategy for a country that wishes to promote tourism will be different than the one that wishes to foster international relationships.
In less that two years’ time, New Zealand had increased its tourist traffic by 56% thanks to a movie. Or three. ‘Lord of the Rings’ did it for the country. Is this just a coincidence? Not really. Since the 1990s, countries like New Zealns & Autralia have allowed movie-makers to use the country’s pristine & breath-taking landscapes in big-budget movies. Mission Impossible II and Finding Nemo were set against the backdrop of Australia.
The NZ government offered the production team of Lord of the rings special governemnt taxe incentives and grants.
Movies are just one of the many tools that can be used to brand a country. International tournaments and global sporting events are instrumental in building a country’s image. During the Sydney Olympics 2000, snapshots of Sydney were shown during every televised event. This was part of a very well-rounded branding strategy. Even during cricket matches, you’ll see clippings of the local attractions, beautiful places, commentators indulging in local actions- all part of a calculated strategy to promote the country or the place hosting the event.
It is possible to build a strong country brand and it most definitely can be done. It took Nokia 5 years to turn Finland into the master of wireless technology, India to turn into a progressive and efficient place where their goods and services can be relied upon.
So, what can Bangladesh learn from all this? We have been endowed with so many natural attractions. We have the longest beach at Cox’s bazar, the largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans, the Bandarban Hill Tracts, tea gardens at Sylhet, just to name a few. It’s true that maybe the time hasn’t come for us to go into country branding yet. But it soon will and we need to work on it from now.