How Countries Can Positively Brand Themselves



Some countries actively promote their culture in a bid to attract new tourists, some even resort to advertising gimmicks such as the UK's infamous 'Made in Britain' campaign which was launched by Visit Britain. It actually had the opposite effect and made people not want to visit the country because they thought it would be full of tacky souvenirs. But how can your country's image be positively marketed?


To start off with, you need to know your market: what are they looking for when choosing their holiday destination? For example, if you're trying to attract Spanish nationals then why not make it easier for them by using photos of famous landmarks that will instantly appeal rather than using generic stock images? Other considerations include pricing and security issues - making sure the price of your holiday is in line with what other countries are charging (and isn't so cheap that it seems too good to be true) and making sure you have adequate security measures in place.


Another very important factor is destination knowledge - if you don't know anything about a country then how can you market it? For example, if you were trying to attract French people there's no point offering them 'French' themed holidays as they'd probably prefer going to France itself!


Estonia is a great brand example as it's marketed itself in a very different way to many other countries. Estonia has teamed up with Brandeis International Partnerships and the University of Tartu to help build its brand image by exploring opportunities abroad, primarily aimed at students. This is because they're aware that influential opinion leaders can project a country's image better than any marketing campaign could achieve.


An example of using student influencers to enhance your country's image is how Scotland has used Destination Management Company (DMC) Haggis Adventures: staff members from this company travel around the world talking about their home country; acting as tourist representatives they offer free trips to prospective clients, taking them on exciting adventures like skydiving over snowy mountains or running with deer across frozen lakes.


Currently, Estonia is at the leading edge of branding its nation as an ideal location for higher education in English, therefore gaining recognition from non-native speakers who make up the majority of educated youth studying abroad. By encouraging such bright minds to study in their country they are creating future ambassadors who will spread awareness about Estonia to their peers and thus highlight its more positive attributes, like heritage sites or beneficial working conditions that appeal to educated professionals looking for work abroad. This strategy has spurred a 30 increase in applications to the country's universities since 2011.

At present, as a destination many countries are adopting a similar marketing strategy to that of Estonia's: emphasizing selling points such as culture and history that appeal to students who are looking for enriching experiences abroad and largely comprise the majority of long-stay tourists visiting Europe. To my knowledge, none have adopted this type of approach before but I'm sure more will follow suit if it is successful!


Japan has branded itself as a hi-tech wonderland by actively participating in the world's largest technology fair: the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It has met many of its objectives, including opportunities for further expansion of their brand image and development of new business partnerships.


The country of Italy does not need any advertising gimmicks as it has a built-in tourist draw: food. The country is renowned for its delicious cuisine and its promotion of this is really working! By having local restaurants in the destination promote their specialities the tourists can eat at their favorite places while they're away.


Apart from food, Iceland is trying to market itself as an up and coming tourist destination by encouraging people to visit before it becomes too overcrowded (as Lonely Planet puts it: "let's beat rush hour!") but this might be difficult for them due to their unpronounceable name - by calling their country 'Iceland' they're more likely to attract tourists than if was called Ísland .

The main point I'm trying to make here is that a strong brand image will benefit both your tourism industry and your citizens. By attracting more people to visit your country it will benefit local industries such as hotels, restaurants and bars. And it's a win-win situation for both the visitors and the host nation.



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