Last week in Bogotá, branding & reputation expert Didier Lagae presented at a lunch reception and discussion at the Grand Hyatt Bogotá his new book “Marca País, un país como marca.” The book presents the main challenges in professional brand management of an entire country and offers numerous case studies and “lessons learned” studies.
The management of the brand of a country, according to the Lagae approach, involves communication professionals working along two main axes: Tourism and Conducting business. According to Lagae, designing and implementing a 360-degree dual axis communication strategy in target countries increases both tourism and business opportunities by attracting talent, investments and promoting the export of products and services.
On the challenges of managing this approach, Lagae commented: “Communication professionals work on perception. Many times, the image that potential tourists, businessmen or investors have in their minds about a country does not coincide with reality. Our job is to find what to say, to whom, how and when to influence the decision to visit or invest in a country.”
Marca País, a Country as a Brand, presents a proven methodology for the construction of a country’s reputation. Its author has implemented 360-degree communication campaigns through its MARCO agency in numerous markets, working on both the tourism and doing business axes. Some success stories include Morocco, Portugal, Mexico, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Madeira, and several regions of Spain. In Morocco, in addition to reaching 75% of decision makers, a 54% increase in direct global investment was achieved. Likewise, the campaign implemented in Mexico for its promotion as a tourist destination, before the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), achieved an increase of 80% in number of visits for the period 2012-2017; At the same time, it evolved from # 15 to # 8 in the ranking of the most visited countries in the world.
The investment required for this type of campaign varies according to the strategy and objectives of each country, says Lagae. “Watering where more fruits will be collected” is a metaphor that the author uses to reflect the importance of optimizing resources in this type of project. In this sense, Lagae says: “It is not about investing more, but about investing better. Many times, we see how bureaucracies have funds to promote investment and tourism, but do not invest them efficiently. You have to avoid the Brownian movement and irrigate specifically where it makes sense, where there will be a greater return on investment. ”
The Invest in Morocco project focused on promoting Morocco’s industrial image, resulting in an increase in direct foreign investment of 50% for more than three consecutive years, with surprising peaks such as Spanish investment, which increased by 76%.
Didier Lagae, born in Belgium but Spanish by adoption, chose Colombia rather than in Europe for his initial book launch, understanding that the Andean country is going through a key moment in its history. In that sense, he emphasized: “Colombia left behind a nefarious period marked by narco-terrorism and radically changed. It is time for this change to be made known to the world. The perception of the country brand continues, unfortunately, to be centered on Colombia’s past and not on its future. The new government has the opportunity to invest in communication, adequately defining its audiences and reflecting the appropriate storytelling for each of them, and thus: increase exports and investments, attract talent and promote tourism. ”
Marca Pais, A Country As A Brand is a reference book on constructing a reputation for an entire country, with the goals of promoting tourism, increasing exports, and multiplying foreign direct investment.