Branding a country

Branding has been around us for a long time: Branding the companies,branding the products ,personal branding (living brands like Richard Branson,Amitabh Bachachan ),and now Country Branding. In the wake of globalization, the world has become a supermarket and countries are neatly arranged in a shelf for the passerby global passengers. They are using different strategies to promote Travel, to bring in Investments and to improve Exports.
Creating a branding program for a country requires lot more things. Government policies, media backup and more importantly people support. If a country has positive reputation and clean image, then it’s all the more easy to do. The country Germany makes you think about technology, Italy for fashion, Japan for consumer electronics, China for cheap goods and India for spirituality and snake charmers(well now it is known for its IT industry).
Many countries want to build their brand equity through world famous events. China changed her negative( just a perception in some places) image by conducting spectacular Olympics. South Africa tried to promote the tourism through FIFA world cup. Many  the Bull Fighting .Kazakhstan was known to the world because of one man, “Borat”.
Films and TV also play an important role in promoting a country.Peter Jackson’s LOTR was shot in Picturesque New Zeland, James Bond’s Casino Royale in Venice and recent Airtel ad in Prague, Czech Republic (Bollywood also spends huge amount of money on foreign locations!!!). It promotes Tourism as well as foreign film investments.
Here are some of the countries with their successful branding 
The country brand is defined by its people, culture, behaviour,education and is an amalgamation of sub brands. Tata’s corporate image, Jaipur palace and Indian free economic policy, all serves to enhance India’s brand equity.With the Incredible India campaign, India  showed its rich heritage, famous land marks and culture which is well diversified. As one of the oldest civilizations, it also gave the world varied things like Yoga, Ayurveda,Indian curry, palaces of Maharajas and now Bollywood.Apart from tourism, India is famous for its IT industry. Bangalore has become the silicon valley of India and recent comments of US President Barack Obama on Outsourcing has given more importance to the industry. The economic reforms and new trade policies have also brought in more FDI in to the country.
South Africa hosted 2010 FIFA world cup. They used social media help to promote the country. They conducted a contest in and according to the brief,community created the ad for the promotion.The country not only tried to promote tourism, but also their stable economic condition, well regulated capital markets, infrastructure and communication.
Australia has one of the best tourism and brand images in the world. Picturesque beaches and landscapes, beautiful coral reefs are the mark of the country. In January 2009 Tourism Queensland embarked on a global search to find an Island Caretaker to explore the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland Australia and report back to the world about their experiences and they called it the “Best job in the world”
Australia is also a preferred destination for students from developing countries who want to do their higher education. Australia is origin to many famous companies like RioTinto ,BHP Bilton and ANZ bank.
It is one of the best ever tourism promotional activity in the world.The “truly Asia” tag line works great: it just says that visiting Malaysia is equal to visiting whole Asia. The campaign got many international awards as well as brought huge tourism traffic.
Future Brand worked on Peru’s new positioning statement looking for making visible the country’s multifaceted richness, its specialized patrimony and the captivating halo that results of the combination of people, grounds, climates, goods & opportunities. Visually, the spiral form that the “P” has evoked one of the graphic motives present in all the cultures born in Peru’s land that represents evolution, change and transformation. I
Well the list may go on as each country trying to brand themselves in a positive way…
So, the image we have about a country impacts a lot on how we view it as a tourist destination,an investment place or a place from where we can buy goods. I feel branding is another way that can enhance or narrow the gap between developing and developed nations. 

[The article has been contributed by Sandeep Kumar Reddy. He is presently pursuing his PGPM from United World School of Business, Ahmedabad. He is interested in Brands and Advertising and his hobbies include watching movies, travelling and portrait drawing. ]

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