The seventieth anniversary of Israel’s founding last yr stirred mirrored image approximately the united states of America’s vision, values, and role in the global amongst anybody from former diplomats to Hollywood actors. Despite efforts to portray Israel as cutting-edge and secure, the Israeli-Palestinian warfare and the united states’ complicated history still dominate public attention. Memories of failed peace talks generally tend to loom larger than Israel’s photograph as a startup country. Thousands of Instagram posts from Tel Aviv’s gay delight festivities or the excitement from triumphing the latest Eurovision song contest may not be sufficient to conquer many years of TV footage of squaddies and tanks that linger inside the thoughts.

To Harvard Business School marketing professor Elie Ofek, it’s more proof that influencing long-held perceptions approximately an area requires greater strategic thinking. After all, it took greater than billboards and press junkets to turn Santa Clara County into Silicon Valley. “Countries are starting to recognize—Israel being one in all them—that they need to have interaction in public diplomacy, not only foreign diplomacy, and in location branding, no longer just political advocacy, ” says Ofek, the T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of Business Administration. “Part of that is affecting what human beings in other nations understand your use of a to be.”


What does it take to create Denmark’s recognition for present-day design or Bali’s Eat Pray Love-fashion photo of tropical centeredness? Ofek tested the underlying factors behind prevailing and dropping vicinity branding efforts in two recent instances, “The Brand Management of Places” and “Israel at 70: Is it possible to (re)Brand a Country?”

Success without a roadmap

Government and enterprise leaders hoping to shift the verbal exchange approximately their regions might look to any other city’s successful marketing campaign for thoughts, but there’s no person-size-suits-all strategy. Capturing a metropolis’s specific spirit and complicated tapestry calls for a custom method. That said, some of the branding policies that follow soda, garments, and vehicles also support locations:

Understand the emblem and live true to it. Twenty years ago, before The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy improved New Zealand as a fable vacation spot, the united states of America turned into struggling to set itself apart from Australia. In-depth interviews, awareness groups, and surveys discovered that New Zealand ought to enchant a specific stripe of unpretentious travelers—a person who values journey, freedom, and nature.

The ensuing “100% Pure New Zealand” marketing campaign—which centered travelers inside the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, and Singapore—helped enhance traveler visits with the aid of 50 percent from 1999 to 2005. New Zealand couldn’t have carried out that fulfillment if it lacked the products to aid the photograph of uncooked serenity it presented to the arena. Still, it took a concerted marketing attempt highlighting those elements in an attractive way to be triumphant.

Prepare to make investments in money and time. Ten years ago, South Korea got down to take away the “Korean Discount” on its exports and lift its standing on the world level. Armed with a $74 million branding fund, the President’s Council on Nation Branding started a multiprong attempt in 2009 to position South Korea as a vital global player, showcase its welcoming way of life, and raise excellent perceptions of its products and entertainment content.

Over five years, South Korea expanded aid and volunteer paintings overseas, hosted the G-20 Summit, promoted Korean language education, or even excellent the photo of its country full game, Taekwondo. While the investment turned significant, South Korea ultimately handed its benchmarks. It sparked new interest in its way of life, placing off a K-Drama (Korean television drama) and K-Pop (Korean pop track) craze, with music exports, for example, expanding ninefold to $277 million in 2013.

Think virally and socially. When New York City sought to convey lower back fleeing agencies for the duration of its Nineteen Seventies economic disaster, financial institution marketers grew to become public servants. Bill Doyle knew he had to carry vacationers back first to dispel the metropolis’s “Taxi Driver” picture of grit and threat. His crew created the iconic “I (coronary heart) NY” slogan and recommended agencies to print it on the whole lot from T-shirts to flags, making it immediately ubiquitous.

The warm heart and ambitious typeface stoked positivity, and together with a chain of occasions and smart ad campaigns tied to this topic, helped lift tourism spending lengthy after its preliminary launch. And using emphasizing how the town had embraced a seasoned commercial enterprise attitude, New York City changed into all over again a magnet for corporations.

With its focus on abilities, preferably a low cost, and a big reach, social media has emerged as an essential advertising channel, mainly for reaching young purchasers. The Israeli nonprofit Vibe Israel, as an instance, has been investing Instagram influencers to go to the state and proportion their studies with their followers, pushing positive messages to key patron groups, such as prosperous mothers and fathers.

Establishing street CRED

Switzerland, Germany, and Japan dominate emblem scores. Intentionally or no longer, every you. S. A. Has cultivated an image that’s genuine to its countrywide character. Their branding messages have “CRED,” as Ofek calls it. In different phrases, they are:


The characteristics a rustic promotes should reflect the truth. Spain’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005 bolstered the user’s shift to a liberal photograph, which displays three decades of secularization after the demise of dictator Francisco Franco.


Governments can’t sway the opinion of a disinterested audience. The imagery and institutions of the place need to be counted to the central target audience. A branding campaign that highlights France’s beautiful countryside and rich cheeses gained’t resonate with tech marketers.


Building a brand around renewable strength won’t stick if oil fees fall for a sustained duration or a seasoned coal chief takes energy. However, the precise essence of a city in no way fades and ought to shape the spine of the branding effort.


The brand needs to stake out a position that permits it to stand out relative to different regions. A Caribbean nation may want to highlight its luxury amenities or get entry to water sports activities to stand out amongst its island friends.

Marketing isn’t magic—or is it?

The brand method by myself can’t generally triumph over arguable guidelines or unpopular leaders or make an oppressive regime seem tolerant. There’s also a quality line among important outreach and propaganda that leaves audiences feeling manipulated, Ofek says.

However, the right branding can appreciably improve a rustic’s fortunes and diplomacy using useful dimensions to its photo, triggering ripples that flow down to leading industries, corporations, and citizens. And tapping into consumers’ innermost aspirations can pay off for decades to come back—take into account Apple. “If I’m the use of Apple, I’m thinking, ‘I’m different. I’m cooler, more hip,’” Ofek says. “Those sentiments are an awful lot more difficult to instill for countries, but it’s feasible, and advertising can help.”