Let’s get something straight. A catchy tagline, symbolic logo, pretty colours that symbolize the ‘personality’ of the brand and a custom designed font are not Nation Branding.
Glossy advertisements that push the creative envelope and consist of content that is impossible for stakeholders to buy into or live up to, is not Nation Branding.
Expensive brochures and other marketing collateral that use light gray colours on white backgrounds and font sizes impossible to read is not Nation Branding.
Hugely expensive billboards that create awareness but do little else and are soon lost in the fog of the tens of thousands of messages consumers are exposed to every day is not Nation Branding.
It might have been possible to use such creative-driven branding to build a Nation Brand in the 1960s – 1990s, when countries and their advertising agencies focused more on getting attention than getting results.
But this is a different era. There are now so many channels to consumers, so many competitors all with a similar offering and so many distractions that it is no longer possible to build a Nation Brand in this way.
Furthermore, too many taglines have made promises the Nation couldn’t possibly keep or their marketing or PR collateral has left potential customers underwhelmed. This may not have been the fault of the Nation or it may be the result of poor internal implementation but it has resulted in a delivery failure that has negatively impacted all efforts till then. A case in point is the Incredible India campaign and the multiple attacks on women over the last year.
Moreover, engaging (not reaching) target markets through traditional channels with traditional tools is virtually impossible today. Especially in the digital age when consumers are more knowledgeable, have more choice and are more demanding.
So how do we make the Malaysia Nation Brand successful?
So how do we make it successful?