Nation branding is a practice that has become more and more important as the branding of destinations has been shown to create real value for events, for towns and cities, and for nations. Over the past twenty years, I have been involved in several high profile nation branding projects including the rebranding of Singapore as a tourist destination, the branding of the FIFA World Cup for Japan and Korea to highlight the complementary but distinct offerings of the two nations, Croatian government on nation brand building and companies in the Micronesian islands on sustainable tourism development.
Singapore is highly successful at attracting multiple types of consumers and customers to its shores. For many years, it was seen as a stopover destination for those en route to the Far East. The Government was determined to change this and increase not only the portfolio of offered for MICE and tourists but to appeal to the multicultural residents to make them proud of the diversity Singapore has to offer.
Working with FutureBrand and the Government and trade and tourism boards, the team crafted a strategy to both visualise and verbalise the brand across multiple touch points for multiple audiences under the tagline “Uniquely Singapore”, the execution was a wonderful mix of all the variety and vibrant color and experiences Singapore can offer to visitors on short and long stays. The campaign and launch was a resounding success.
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FIFA World Cup 2002 – South Korea | Japan
When the unusual decision was made to appoint two nations to host the FIFA World Cup in Asia, Japan and South Korea officials pondered how to achieve the objectives of appealing to spectators to visit the country within the context of a competitive and cultural rivalry. Working with both nations, we crafted a brand platform for each nation to pull out the different elements of the national culture and history while creating an overarching brand promise related to the experience of being at a world cup. This required a lot of coordination and communication to try to ensure that neither nation stole a march on the other in terms of the visual and emotional appeal in the execution of the experience. For instance, the mascots developed had to be carefully designed to reflect FIFA values but be acceptable to both Japan and South Korea. In the end, the designers came up with an extraterrestrial space mascot solution to avoid over-grounding cultural references favoring one nation over the other.